Some sort of record is destined to fall at this year’s Masters—it happens every year. In 2014 it was 20-year-old Jordan Spieth becoming the youngest player to finish in the top 10. That was a tough one to break, as it had been held since 1961 by Jack Nicklaus (21 years, two months, and 20 days). Spieth was also, naturally, the youngest runner-up, an easier mark to beat as it had been set only three years earlier by 23-year-old Jason Day.
The records for lowest scores for 18, 36, 54, and 72 holes will be tough to top after changes that have toughened the course, but not impossible even today, and who knows what scoring will be like a hundred years from now (when we’d like to think the Masters will still be going strong). But a thorough search of the Masters record book uncovers some marks that should last forever. We’ll see a round of 62 at Augusta before any of these will fall.
Tiger Woods, 1997
Of the more prominent records, this is the most likely to stand the test of time. True, Woods has also won a U.S. Open by 15, but that kind of lightning strikes only once. The next-best Masters margin is nine.
LARGEST 54-HOLE LEAD LOST
Greg Norman, 1996
It’s very rare to even have a 54-hole lead of seven strokes or more (it has happened only three times in the Masters), and hard to lose it when you do. It has never happened on the PGA Tour.
BIRDIES IN ONE ROUND
Anthony Kim, 2009
If someone shoots a 62, they would more likely do it without a bogey or throw in an eagle or two. Maybe 11 could be equaled, but can you imagine making birdies on two-thirds of the holes at Augusta National? (Kim, incidentally, managed only a 65.)
FINAL NINE HOLES BY A CHAMPION
Gary Player, 1961 and Craig Stadler, 1982
The fact that it’s been done twice makes it theoretically breakable and definitely subject to being tied, but a closing 41 by a winner is almost unthinkable.
LOW 36 HOLES BY AN AMATEUR
Ken Venturi, 1956
With players turning pro earlier and earlier, this kind of scoring by an amateur (Venturi opened 66–69) is a thing of the past.
CAREER TOP-10 FINISHES
Take your pick of Nicklaus’s records that show longevity combined with greatness—also including 15 top-fives, 29 top-25s, 37 completed Masters, and, yes, six victories. It’s conceivable, though not likely, a superstar with a game grooved to Augusta National could claim seven green jackets (Nicklaus once said Woods would win 10). But to be consistently excellent long enough to claim 22 top-10s is a feat for the ages.
LARGEST 18-HOLE LEAD
Craig Wood, 1941
When Norman opened with a 63 in 1996, he led by only two.
14 years, 5 months, and 20 days
Tianlang Guan, 2013
It’s possible that no one younger will ever play, but making the cut raises the bar even higher.
OLDEST HONORARY STARTER
Gene Sarazen, 1999
Seems unbreakable, though Palmer (now 85) might consider this a challenge.
LOW NINE BY A PLAYER 50 OR OLDER
Ben Hogan, 1967
There have been only two nines of 29 ever at the Masters. There may be others in the future, but not by a senior.
CONSECUTIVE MASTERS ENTERED
This is a tougher target than Gary Player’s total of 52. Woods could still pass Player, but Palmer’s consecutive mark went out the window when Tiger didn’t play in 2014.