Top 5 Most Impressive Tournament Records at The Masters

There are a lot of impressive feats among The Masters tournament records. Hey, all of them are impressive - that's why we make note of records! But which tournament records at The Masters stand out the most? Here are our choices for the Top 5 most impressive Masters records:

01
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Arnold Palmer's 50 Consecutive Years Played

Arnold Palmer waves to the crowd during the second round of the Masters at the Augusta National Golf Club on April 9, 2004
Arnold Palmer said farewell at the 2004 Masters after 50 consecutive appearances. David Cannon/Getty Images
Arnold Palmer played The Masters fifty consecutive years. No injuries, no illnesses interrupted his streak. Of course, he was eligible to play every year by virtue of being a Masters champion (he won four times). But he actually did tee it up every year. Gary Player played in 52 total Masters, but managed "only" 36 in a row; Jack Nicklaus played in 45 total, but "only" 40 in a row.

Doug Ford is runner-up to Palmer in this category, with 46 straight starts.

Palmer first played The Masters in 1955, when he was 25 years old and Dwight Eisenhower was President. He last played The Masters in 2004, when Palmer was 75 years old and George W. Bush was President. John F. Kennedy, Lyndon Johnson, Richard Nixon, Gerald Ford, Jimmy Carter, Ronald Reagan, George H.W. Bush and Bill Clinton also came and went as American presidents; Palmer kept on teeing it up at Augusta National every April, not missing a tournament until he voluntarily stepped aside following the 2004 Masters.

Related: Arnold Palmer's finishes at The Masters
02
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Jack Nicklaus' 12 Top 3 Finishes

Jack Nicklaus raises his putter as a birdie putt drops in the final round at the 1986 Masters
Jack Nicklaus raises his putter as a birdie putt drops on the 17th hole of the final round at the 1986 Masters. David Cannon / Getty Images
Augusta National poobahs don't actually keep record of Top 3 finishes, but we know Nicklaus has the most career Top 3s by simple math: The Masters does keep the record for Top 5 finishes, and Nicklaus holds that record with 15; the runners-up in that category have 10 Top 5 finishes. So Nicklaus finished in the Top 3 more often than anyone else finished in the Top 5:
  • Nicklaus won six times, a record;
  • He finished second four times, a record he shares;
  • And he added a pair of third-place finishes for good measure.
Nicklaus holds the tournament records for most Top 3 finishes, most Top 5 finishes, most Top 10 finishes and most Top 25 finishes.

Yes, Nicklaus loved playing The Masters.

Related: Jack Nicklaus' finishes at The Masters
03
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Tiger Woods' 12-Stroke Winning Margin

Tiger Woods 1997 Masters
Stephen Munday / Getty Images

When Woods set the record mentioned above as youngest champion, he did so with another record-shattering performance: He won by 12 strokes. It was the most dominating performance in tournament history, and it happened at the 1997 Masters.

Woods bettered the previous record (9-stroke win by Nicklaus in 1965) by three shots. He did so with rounds of 70-66-65-69 to shoot 270 (also a tournament record).

What makes Woods' winning margin more remarkable is the fact that he shot 40 over his first nine holes of the tournament. At that point, it seemed more likely Tiger would miss the cut than win the tournament, much less run away with it.

04
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Jack Burke Jr.'s 8-Stroke Comeback Win

Jackie Burke was eight strokes behind third-round leader Ken Venturi as the final round of the 1956 Masters began. Venturi led the field by four strokes - it appeared the amateur was on his way to victory.

Burke fell further behind as he started the fourth round, dropping nine strokes behind Venturi at one point. But what does it take to make a comeback? A great round by you, a terrible round by the leader, or some combination of the two.

Playing in blustery winds that made scoring tough, Venturi faltered to an 80 while Burke shot 71. Burke didn't just take advantage of Venturi's problems, he also took advantage of the fact that none of the golfers in-between him and the lead was able to mount their own charges.

When the day was over, Burke had the victory and the biggest come-from-behind win in Masters history.
05
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(Tie) Jack Nicklaus and Tiger Woods, Oldest and Youngest Champions

Jack Nicklaus became the oldest winner of The Masters when he won the 1986 tournament at age 46 years 2 months 23 days. And in 1997, Tiger Woods became the youngest champion when he won at age 21 years, 3 months 14 days.

Woods was nearly two years younger than the man whose record he broke, Seve Ballesteros (who himself had broken Nicklaus' record). Woods was the only golfer younger than 23 to win The Masters until 21-year-old Jordan Spieth made that list two long in 2015 (Spieth was about six months older than Tiger was in 1997).

Nicklaus was four years older than the man whose record he broke, Gary Player. He hadn't won in two years, it was six years since his last major victory and 11 years since his last Masters win. And it was the sixth Masters championship for Nicklaus.