Tiger Woods set or tied 27 Masters records in 1997. Here they are and how they’ve held up
When Tiger Woods won the 1997 Masters, he not only broke barriers in terms of being the first person of color to win a major championship. He also set 20 Masters records and tied seven others. Now some of his accomplishments might seem less than monumental (best performance by a champion on Hole No. 11 anyone?), but many are incredibly impressive, including the all-time scoring mark he set.
Equally remarkable, perhaps, is how many have held up over time. Here is a look at those Masters records Woods set and tied, and how many remain after 23 years. Hint: They’ve held up pretty damn well.
Lowest 72-hole score
Woods shot rounds of 70-66-65-69—270 to best the 271 total Jack Nicklaus (1965) and Ray Floyd (1976) shared previously. Since then, Jordan Spieth has tied Woods’ record, going 64-66-70-70 in 2015.
Most 3s by a champion
Woods put down a 3 on his card 26 times in 1997, a total that included 10 pars, 14 birdies and two eagles. Horton Smith held the previous mark of 22, which he set in 1936, and which Tom Watson matched in 1977. Woods produced another 26 treys during his 2005 championship run, making him the only player to equal that mark to date. Patrick Reed had a solid effort in 2018 with 23, and Tiger had 18 during his win last year.
Barely of legal drinking age at 21 years, 3 months, 14 days, Woods’ mark still stands. He beat out Seve Ballesteros, who was 23 years, 4 days old when he won in 1980. Jordan Spieth has since supplanted Seve as the second-youngest, winning in 2015 at 21 years, 8 months old.
Youngest leader, first 54 holes
As with being the youngest champion, Woods’ 201 total for the first 54 holes at age 21 also bested Ballesteros by nearly two years. This is one of the few records Woods set in 1997 that has fallen. Spieth was 20 years, 8 months and 17 days when he held a share of the 54-hole lead in 2014.
Youngest leader, first 36 holes
OK, it’s like a broken record, but it is a record. Woods again tops Seve for the honor.
Youngest player to shoot 65
At 21 years, three months and 13 days, Woods’ third-round 65 destroyed the previous mark Phil Mickelson set in 1996, when Lefty was well into his 25th year.
Youngest player to shoot 66
Coming a day earlier than his 65, Woods’ round toppled Ballesteros, who was 23 years, 1 day when he carded an opening-round 66 in 1980. We’re still waiting for someone younger to do better.
Youngest player to shoot 30 on second nine
Woods’ rally to the green jacket in 1997 started with a spectacular 30 on the second nine in the opening round after a 40 on the front side. Woods was 21 years, 3 months and 11 days old when accomplishing this feat. No one younger has done it since. Woods’ age bested that of Maurice Bembridge from 1974 when Bembridge was 29 years, one month and 24 days. Bank on this one remaining intact for a while.
Winner at Masters in first professional major start
Woods is the sole owner of this accomplishment, one that hasn’t been duplicated since.
Widest margin of victory
Woods left Tom Kite in the dust by a dozen blows, breaking the nine-stroke cushion Jack Nicklaus enjoyed in 1965. Not only hasn’t Woods’ mark been matched, it hasn’t even been threatened. Only Spieth in 2015 has won by as much as four strokes.
Largest lead first 54 holes
Raymond Floyd had an eight-shot margin heading into 1976’s final round but Woods did him one better, creating a nine-shot gap after three rounds in 1997.
Low final 54 holes
With a nice round 200 during the final three rounds, Woods bested Johnny Miller’s previous record of 202 set in 1975 by two shots.
Lowest final 63 holes
Yeah, good luck topping this one. Woods went 22 under par after playing his initial nine holes four over. How stunning was this? The previous mark was 13 under par by Jack Nicklaus in 1965 and Johnny Miller a decade later.
Worst first nine holes by a champion
Speaking of that opening-nine 40, it marks the worst start ever by a Masters champion (by two strokes) since Ralph Guldahl, who opened with 38 in 1939.
Lowest score, middle 36 holes
Actually, Woods’ 66-65—131 on Friday and Saturday in 1997 has been tied—by Woods, who produced identical numbers during the middle two rounds in 2005. Prior to 1997 the mark had been held by Nick Price, who shot 12-under-par 132 in 1986, thanks primarily to a third-round 63.
Lowest score, 45-hole span
Woods 19 under par from No. 10 in 1997’s opening round through the end of Round 3 topped Floyd’s 14 under par from 1976, which started on the first hole of the tournament.
Most strokes under par, second nine for tournament It took 35 years but Woods took down Arnold Palmer’s mark of playing the second-nine holes in 12 under par in 1962 by four shots. In 1997 Woods went 30-32-33-33 for an aggregate of 16 under par, a mark that has not been touched since.
Second nine holes played in par or better
Incredibly, no one had ever played the back nine without a bogey during a Masters until Woods in 1997, when he made 22 pars, 12 birdies and a pair of eagles without a blemish. Before that, Ben Hogan in 1951 and Ben Crenshaw in 1995 each played those 36 holes with one bogey.
Better ball, second-nine holes
Woods gets a golf clap for producing a “ringer” score of 10-under-par 26 for the second nine in 1997. That beats Gary Player’s 27 in 1974 by a single shot.
Under par at Amen Corner, all four rounds Woods traversed the treacherous trio of hole in seven under par in 1997, going two under on No. 11, one under on No. 12 and four under on No. 13. The best anyone could do before that was Bernhard Langer at five under in 1985.
Most subpar rounds, one tournament In the history of the Masters, 42 players have shot under par for all four rounds a total of 67 times. Woods joined that club in 1997 and has since turned the trick on four additional occasions, in 2001, 2002, 2010 and 2019, making him the only player to do it five times. Raymond Floyd, Gary Player, Tom Watson, Angel Cabrera and Phil Mickelson are next with three times each.
Low score, first 54 holes
Tied Floyd’s 201 total for the first three rounds from 1976. Spieth went one better with a 200 through 54 holes in 2015.
Three rounds in the 60s
When Woods played his final three rounds in the 60s in 1997 it marked the 18th time a player had three rounds in the 60s. Since then it has happened another 25 times (the latest being by Patric Reed, Jon Rahm and Bubba Watson in 2018), for a total of 43 times by 35 different players. No player has ever shot four rounds in the 60s in one Masters.
Most 3s by any player
Woods parred 10 par 3s, birdied 14 par 4s and and eagled a pair of par 5s for a total of 26, equaling a mark held by Larry Nelson, who did it in 1984. Woods made another 26 threes during his win in 2005.
Most holes under par, four round totals
Woods was under par for the four rounds in 1997 on 11 holes, matching Couples in 1992, Bernhard Langer in 1993 and Crenshaw in 1995. David Duval matched the 11 figure in 2001 but unfortunately, that was also the year that Woods re-wrote the record by being under par on 12 holes—Nos. 2, 3, 4, 6, 7, 8, 11, 13, 14, 15, 17 and 18. Spieth could have matched the mark in 2015 if not for a final-hole bogey that offset an opening-round birdie, and Woods got to 11 again in 2019.
Most rounds better than the field (no ties)
Woods’ 66-65 were the solo low scores for rounds two and three in 1997. Woods joined Byron Nelson (66 in round one and 70 in round four in 1937) and Jack Nicklaus (64-69 in rounds three and four in 1965) as the only players to ever do this. Jordan Spieth joined this heady company with a 66 in 2018's first round and 64 in the final round.
Best performance by a champion on No. 11
This might seem like a bogus record but when you do something that only one person has done in nearly 50 years, it’s kind of cool. The two under par Woods posted on No. 11 in 1997 matched the efforts of Jimmy Demaret in 1940; Byron Nelson, 1942; Herman Keiser, 1946; Claude Harmon, 1948 and Crenshaw in 1995. Woods tied the mark again in 2001, and Trevor Immelman joined the club in 2008
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