In 2016, the Masters will take place on Monday, April 4. The week will begin with practice and the tournament will begin on Thursday, April 7.With the Masters coming up shortly, we thought about the the victors from the golden state of California.
After researching, California has produced five Masters winners. Do you know who they are? Here is the list and interesting information on four gentlemen that have made it to the winner’s circle.
1) George Archer
The first native winner is George Archer. Archer was born in San Francisco and was raised just south in San Mateo. At a little over 6’ 5” he is the tallest player to ever win a major. He originally dreamt of a basketball career, but took up golf at San Mateo High School after having worked as a caddy at The Peninsula Golf and Country Club. Golf got the best of him and he was eventually kicked off his high school basketball team for missing too many practices because he was playing golf.
He turned professional in 1964 and went on to win 13 times on the PGA Tour. His first win came at the Lucky International Open the next year. The highlight of his career was winning the 1969 Masters by one stroke over Casper, Tom Weiskopf and George Knudson.
He had three more top-10 finishes in the U.S. Open and the PGA Championship primarily because he was considered one of the all-time great putters. At one time, he held the tour record for fewest putts for seventy-two holes at 95. That’s an average of 1.32 putts per hole. I don’t care how many greens he hit – that is impressive.
Archer had the tour nickname of the “Golfing Cowboy,” due to a summer job he had in his youth at his friend and sponsor, Eugene Selvage’s “Lucky Hereford Ranch” in Gilroy.
He went on to win 19 more times on the PGA Senior Tour (now PGA Tour Champions) and became the only player ever to win at least one event in the first three decades of its existence.
Archer made Masters history in 1983 when they first allowed outside caddies. He employed its first female by employing his 19-year-old daughter Elizabeth.
2) William Earl (Billy) Casper Jr.
Next up, William Casper Jr. Billy was born in the junior golf hotbed of San Diego where he learned golf like so many others, by caddying. He became one of the most prolific winners ever and accumulated 51 wins in a 20 year span between 1956 and 1975. This was enough to place him at 7th all-time and was surpassed by only Snead, Woods, Nicklaus, Hogan, Palmer, and Nelson.
He was close to fellow San Diegan great, Gene Littler who was a friend and rival from teenager to senior. He didn’t do too bad, he managed 29 wins of his own. Along with his Masters win, he managed two more major championships and played on eight Ryder Cup teams. He still holds the U.S. record for career Ryder Cup points won at 23.5. He was also inducted into the World Golf Hall of Fame in 1978 and in 2000; he was ranked as the 15th greatest golfer of all time by Golf Digest magazine.
He won the Vardon Trophy (lowest scoring average) five times, a record matched only by Lee Trevino. He was the PGA TOUR Player of the Year in 1966 and 1970.
Casper won at least one PGA Tour event for 16 straight seasons, from 1956 to 1971 inclusive, and this is the third-longest streak, trailing only Arnold Palmer and Jack Nicklaus, who each won on Tour in 17 straight years. After reaching age 50, Casper regularly played the Senior PGA Tour and was a winner there until 1989. In his later years, Casper successfully developed businesses in golf course design and management of golf facilities.
He was noted for being a great putter and had one of the best short games ever. This, along with being a superior strategist, allowed him to make up for his distance disadvantages against longer-hitting competitors such as Arnold Palmer and Jack Nicklaus.
He went on to accumulate nine Senior PGA Tour wins from 1982 to 1989, including two senior majors but Casper has never really gotten the attention and praise he deserves, primarily because he was going up against the “Big Three” of Palmer, Nicklaus, and Player at or near their peak.
3) Craig Robert (the Walrus) Stadler.
He was born in San Diego in 1953 and his father started him in golf at age four. Stadler attended La Jolla High School and he won the 1973 U.S. Amateur, while attending the University of Southern California. He was an All-American all four years – first-team his sophomore and junior years; second-team his freshman and senior years. He graduated in 1975 and turned professional in 1976.
He managed to capture his first tour win in 1980 and actually won twice that year. From there he went on to win a total of 13 times and finish second 19 more. He managed 9 more wins on the Champions Tour. He played on two Ryder Cup Teams with the last being in 1985.
The best year of his career was 1982 when he won 4 times including the Masters (he won in a play-off against Dan Pohl).
He became very popular with galleries which affectionately nicknamed “The Walrus” because of his portly build and ample mustache. He played in his final Masters in 2014 where he got to play with his son Kevin who is also a PGA Tour player.
4) Philip Alfred Mickelson.
I’m sure everyone got this one right. He won in 2004, 2006, and 2010. He also has a PGA Championship and an Open Championship to go with them, plus an additional 42 PGA Tour wins. This all makes him one of only 16 golfers in history to win three of the four majors. Despite finishing as the runner-up a record six times, the U.S. Open has eluded him.
The fact that over his career he has spent over 700 weeks in the top-10 World Golf Rankings and been as high as 2nd several times has been more than enough to get him into the World Golf Hall of fame. The only reason he didn’t attain No.1 is the unfortunate fact that he was up against Tiger Woods in his prime.
Mickelson was born in San Diego and learned to play golf by watching his father. Interestingly he mirrored his father and learned to play left handed which is the only thing he does left handed.
In 1992 he met Jim “Bones” Mackay on the driving range at ASU when Mackay asked if it was okay for him to watch Phil hit balls. After that meeting Mickelson hired Mackey to be his caddie and they are still together today. It is estimated that they have walked over 25,000 miles together.
In 2000 his Buick Invitational win ended Tiger Woods’ streak of six consecutive tournament victories. After the win, Mickelson said, “I didn’t want to be the bad guy. I wasn’t trying to end the streak per se. I was just trying to win the golf tournament.”
He is one of a group of three left handers that have won the Masters, Mike Weir who won in 2003 and Bubba Watson who won 2012 and again in 2014. An interesting point is that Bubba is the only natural left hander of the three. Weir is like Mickelson and only plays golf left handed.
For Phil Mickelson the competitive juices are still flowing and he would love another Masters or one last shot at the U.S Open, but with an estimated net worth of around $180 million It is safe to say he can retire when he is ready.
5) Eldrick Tont “Tiger” Woods
Tiger was born in Cypress, California and played golf his whole life. He was remarkable in his prime. Like Phil Mickelson, he won the Masters multiple times. The most for any Californian to be exact (4). Woods would walk away with the Green Jacket in 1997, 2001, 2002, and 2005.
Joining Jack Nicklaus and Arnold Palmer, Woods joins an exclusive club of golfers who have won at least four Green Jackets. In 2005, Woods had a record-tying seven-hole birdie streak to jump into first. Tiger’s performance in 2002 created another record. His four day total of 12-under Par 276 was the lowest 72-hole score by a defending champion.
His 2001 score was even better with 16-under Par 272. In 1997, Woods won his first Masters and was the youngest champion. He finished with 18-under-par 270 and won convincingly with a 12 stroke difference.
I hope you found some interesting facts to use in conversations that will be plentiful during Masters Week.