1984 Masters Tournament: A Victory Inspired By a 'Ghost'

1984 Masters winner Ben Crenshaw hitting a drive
Ben Crenshaw hits a drive during the 1984 Masters Tournament. David Cannon/Getty Images

Ben Crenshaw and Tom Kite were linked together throughout their careers. They grew up in Austin, Texas, and were pupils of famed golf instructor Harvey Penick; they were teammates at the University of Texas and both continued to live in Austin as their professional careers took off.

In the final round of the 1984 Masters, however, Crenshaw and Kite went in opposite directions. Kite was the third-round leader, Crenshaw two strokes behind.

But Kite went out on Sunday and shot a shaky 75, falling back into a tie for sixth place.

Crenshaw went out on Sunday and posted a 68, surging into the victory - the first of his two majors (both Masters wins).

Crenshaw, who many believed was long overdue for a major, finally got one with the help of his famously accurate putter. Crenshaw rolled in what he later called "a preposterous putt," a winding 60-footer on the 10th hole, that was his third straight birdie in the final round.

Crenshaw is a noted student of golf history, and there is a famous story about the 1984 Masters that demonstrates that knowledge. Crenshaw hit a perfect drive on the par-5 No. 13, and he was debating, with a three-stroke lead, whether to go for the green in two - hitting over water - or play it safe and lay up.

As he stood over the ball, Crenshaw looked into the gallery and saw Billy Joe Patton. Patton was a great amateur golfer who led the 1954 Masters on the back nine of the final round.

Patton was trying to become the first amateur to win The Masters, but on the par-5 holes of Augusta's back nine - the 13th and 15th - Patton went for the green in two and on both holes found water instead. He wound up in third place.

Crenshaw, after seeing Patton in the gallery that day in 1984, decided to play it safe.

He laid up, made par, and went on to a two-stroke victory.

The kicker to the story? Billy Joe Patton did not attend the 1984 Masters. Whoever Crenshaw saw - or thought he saw, or imagined - in the gallery wasn't Patton; but Crenshaw thought it was, it reminded him of Patton's fate in 1954, and led him to play cautiously with the lead.

Two-time Masters champ Tom Watson was runner-up. This was one of three times Watson finished second in a Masters.

Mark Lye was the 36-hole leader and one shot behind leader Kite after three rounds, but shot 74 in the final round and finished five behind Crenshaw. Crenshaw also won the 1995 Masters.

1984 Masters Scores

Results from the 1984 Masters golf tournament played at the par-72 Augusta National Golf Club in Augusta, Ga. (a-amateur):

Ben Crenshaw67-72-70-68--277$108,000
Tom Watson74-67-69-69--279$64,800
David Edwards71-70-72-67--280$34,800
Gil Morgan73-71-69-67--280$34,800
Larry Nelson76-69-66-70--281$24,000
Ronnie Black71-74-69-68--282$19,425
David Graham69-70-70-73--282$19,425
Tom Kite70-68-69-75--282$19,425
Mark Lye69-66-73-74--282$19,425
Fred Couples71-73-67-72--283$16,200
Rex Caldwell71-71-69-73--284$13,200
Wayne Levi71-72-69-72--284$13,200
Larry Mize71-70-71-72--284$13,200
Jack Renner71-73-71-69--284$13,200
Nick Faldo70-69-70-76--285$10,200
Raymond Floyd70-73-70-72--285$10,200
Calvin Peete79-66-70-70--285$10,200
Andy Bean71-70-72-73--286$8,400
Danny Edwards72-71-70-73--286$8,400
Jack Nicklaus73-73-70-70--286$8,400
Jay Haas74-71-70-72--287$6,475
Hale Irwin70-71-74-72--287$6,475
Gary Player71-72-73-71--287$6,475
Payne Stewart76-69-68-74--287$6,475
Isao Aoki69-72-73-74--288$4,680
George Archer70-74-71-73--288$4,680
a-Rick Fehr72-71-70-75--288 
Peter Jacobsen72-70-75-71--288$4,680
Greg Norman75-71-73-69--288$4,680
Tom Purtzer69-74-76-69--288$4,680
Bernhard Langer73-70-74-72--289$4,000
Fuzzy Zoeller72-73-70-74--289$4,000
Bruce Lietzke75-70-75-70--290$3,600
Tommy Nakajima75-70-70-75--290$3,600
Gary Koch70-75-70-76--291$3,100
Mark McCumber73-71-74-73--291$3,100
Dan Pohl74-71-72-74--291$3,100
Craig Stadler74-70-74-73--291$3,100
Tom Weiskopf74-71-74-72--291$3,100
Scott Simpson72-70-76-74--292$2,800
a-Robert Lewis Jr.73-70-75-75--293 
Andy North76-68-80-69--293$2,600
Lee Trevino68-73-74-79--294$2,500
Morris Hatalsky73-71-75-76--295$2,300
David Ogrin73-73-76-74--296$2,200
a-Clark Burroughs72-74-75-76--297 
Curtis Strange71-74-75-77--297$2,100

1983 Masters | 1985 Masters

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