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Last Updated: Wednesday, 31 March, 2004, 16:24 GMT 17:24 UK
The Bear's lair - Jack Nicklaus

Who is the true master of Augusta?

MASTERS' MASTER CONTENDERS

Jack Nicklaus beat off the claims of four other great Masters champions to be crowned your king of Augusta.

To celebrate Arnold Palmer's 50th straight appearance at the Masters, an event he won four times in seven years between 1958-1964, we asked you to pick your all-time Master.

And we can reveal that Nicklaus' six Green Jackets edged him narrowly ahead of Palmer and Gary Player to make him the BBC Sport website users' greatest Master of them all.


Jack Nicklaus
By Alistair Watkins

Jack Nicklaus has won more Green Jackets than any other player and has set countless records during his 43 appearances at the Augusta National.

He landed his first Masters in 1963 and went on to claim the title a further five times to become the only player to have won over three decades.

The Golden Bear's last triumph in 1986 saw him become the oldest player to win the tournament at the age of 46, surely making him the greatest player to have graced the tournament.

NICKLAUS NOTES
Born: 21/1/1940, Ohio
Turned pro: 1962
Career wins: 113
Major titles: 18
Masters wins: 6 (1963, 1965, 1966, 1972, 1975, 1986)
Other Masters facts: Finished in top 10 a record 22 times

Nicklaus' six titles (1963, 1965, 1966, 1972, 1975 and 1986) put him head and shoulders above all other players - nobody else, not even the great Arnold Palmer, has managed to win more than four times.

And only Nicklaus, Nick Faldo and Tiger Woods have won back-to-back titles, with Nicklaus' successful defence in 1966 coming after he held his nerve in a three-way play-off.

Woods, who currently has three wins, could go on to emulate Nicklaus' haul, but it would need a superhuman effort as standards continue to rise and the game gets increasingly more competitive.

Nicklaus' winning 271 score in 1965 was the lowest in the tournament's history until Woods broke it in 1997.

A magnificent record and the supreme example of grace under pressure
Robin Brown, UK

The Augusta veteran has also finished runner-up four times and has 15 top-five placings - which puts him six clear of fellow legends Ben Hogan, Sam Snead, Palmer, Tom Watson and Tom Kite.

And Nicklaus has had 22 top-10 finishes - an outstanding record which exemplifies his amazing consistency.

The American also has an impressive record as an amateur, having finished 13th and seventh in two of his three appearances before turning professional.

Nicklaus' first win in 1963 swept in a new era in golf as he challenged Palmer as the game's greatest player.

Jack Nicklaus
Six-times winner Jack Nicklaus is set for his 44th Masters appearance

A 66 in the second round propelled him up the leaderboard and steady scores of 74 and 72 were enough to see him hold off Tony Lema by one shot to become the youngest winner of the Masters at that time.

In 1965, Nicklaus held the lead or a share of the lead for three rounds before clinching a nine-stroke victory over Palmer and Gary Player for a then tournament record of 17-under-par 271.

The following year Nicklaus retained the title after defeating Tommy Jacobs and Gay Brewer to become the first back-to-back Masters champion.

His fourth triumph in 1972 stood out because, at two-under, he was the only player to finish the tournament under-par.

In 1975, Nicklaus added a fifth title after holding off challenges from Tom Weiskopf and Johnny Miller for a one-shot victory.

Nicklaus' final success in 1986 was one of the most memorable in the history of any major, not just the Masters.

Jack Nicklaus is unsurpassed as a competitor and a gent
Richard Christieson

The then five-times champion began the final day four strokes adrift of leader Greg Norman.

But after falling further behind after the first seven holes, he turned the tournament on its head with a rousing back nine of 30.

Annoyed with himself after dropping a shot at the short 12th, Nicklaus charged to a record sixth title by finishing birdie-par-eagle-birdie-birdie-par.

He sealed am immensely popular win with his birdie putt at the par-four 17th and a closing 65 left him at nine-under-par 279, one clear of Norman and Tom Kite who took a share of second place.

Two years later, the members paid the Golden Bear a fitting tribute by dedicating a plaque at Augusta National in his honour.





Links to more Masters 2004 stories


 

SEE ALSO
Wonder years - Arnold Palmer
31 Mar 04  |  Masters 2004
Fighting fit - Gary Player
31 Mar 04  |  Masters 2004
A stiff upper lip - Nick Faldo
31 Mar 04  |  Masters 2004
Young pretender - Tiger Woods
31 Mar 04  |  Masters 2004


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