Horton Smith Wins the First-Ever Masters March 25, 1934

Horton Smith
Missouri Sports Hall of Fame

Missouri native Horton Smith claimed victory on this date at the inaugural Augusta National Invitational, which later became known as The Masters. 

The 25-year-old from Springfield was one of the favorites in the field to win the four-day tournament at the Augusta National Golf Club. And win he did, by a slim one-stroke margin. Smith won the event again two years later – also making him the first two-time winner of the Masters Tournament.

There have been eight two-time winners since: Byron Nelson (1937, 1942), Ben Hogan (1951, 1953), Tom Watson (1977, 1981), Ben Crenshaw (1984, 1995), Seve Ballesteros (1980, 1983), Bernhard Langer — 1985, 1993), Jose Maria Olazabal (1994, 1999), and Bubba Watson (2012, 2014).

The record-holder for most wins in The Masters is, of course, Jack Nicklaus, aka the “Golden Bear.” His first Masters’ win occurred during his second year as a pro golfer, in 1963. He got it started at the 1963 Masters. It was his second major championship win, coming in his second year as a pro golfer.

At the 1986 Masters, at the age of 46, Nicklaus donned the Green Jacket for his sixth and final time. 

Based upon content from the book Missouri 365: This Day in Missouri History by John W. Brown, broadcaster and Missouri historian. Get your copy at Reedy Press.