The past three Masters champions have won with an average score of 275 (-13). Thus, it is easy to forget there have been many years where the rough, greens and creeks of Augusta National were not as kind to the field. Here are the only four men who have earned green jackets without a final score in red numbers:
1954, (289/+1): Snead once said, "The three things I fear most in golf are lightning, Ben Hogan and a downhill putt." In 1954, Snead overcame the second fear to capture a seventh and final major. One year after Hogan posted a 14-under 275, Snead and Hogan grinded out four days of +1 golf. In the 18-hole playoff that ensued, Snead broke a tie on the 13th hole, downing a birdie putt, and he never looked back. His two-under 70 edged Hogan by one stroke. Snead took home the $5,000 grand prize and joined Jimmy Demaret as the only players to win three Masters. Amateur Billy Joe Patton gave both Snead and Hogan a run for their money (although Patton did not make a dime as an amateur), taking a lead into the par-5 13th hole on Sunday.
Jack Burke Jr.
1956, (289/+1): Two years later, another amateur proved he could hang with the big boys. Amateur Ken Venturi woke up Sunday with a four-stroke lead at -6. He also woke up to a rainy day with winds reaching as high as 50 mph. Venturi hit 15 greens in the final round, but three-putted six times en route to an eight-over 80. That allowed Burke, one of only two players to shoot one-under-par on Sunday (Snead was the other) to climb from +2 to +1 and take home the green jacket. The entire country was able to watch the tail end of Burke's eight-shot comeback as holes 15-18 were televised for the first time. "I thought Venturi was going to win," Burke told Sports Illustrated in 2009. "But with that wind, you could play your best and hope you didn't shoot a hundred." Burke's green jacket is one of five in his Augusta locker. The other four belong to his locker mate, Tiger Woods.
1966, (288/E): Gay Brewer stepped onto the 72nd tee box with a one-shot lead ahead of Jack Nicklaus and Tommy Jones. He hit the green on his second shot, but three-putted to drop out of red numbers. The following day, Nicklaus posted a 70 to edge a 72 from Jacobs. The Golden Bear became the first player to ever win two consecutive green jackets (it was his third championship overall). Brewer's blues continued Monday with a 78, dropping him to third place. Augusta was kinder to Brewer the following year. He won the 1967 Masters with an eight-under 280.
2007, (289/+1) It had been 31 years since a champion lacked red numbers, but Saturday temperatures in the mid-40s and winds reaching 33 mph pushed even the best players over par. Stuart Appleby led after 54 holes at +2, with Tiger Woods and Justin Rose trailing by just one shot. Sunday was stolen by Johnson, who started the day at +4 before birdieing three of the first six holes. He remained steady at three-under, finishing at +1 for the tournament. Woods, Retief Goosen and Rory Sabbatini put pressure on Johnson, but the trio finished tied for second at +3. Appleby mustered up a 75 to finish at +5. This Masters was the first major Woods failed to win after leading at some point in the final round.
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