Missouri Among States With Most Masters Tournament Wins

Missouri Among States With Most Masters Tournament Wins
Fact Checked by Jim Tomlin

It’s the time of year when the PGA Tour stars gear up for the year’s first major, The Masters. This year’s event at Augusta National is slated for April 11-14, only a few weeks away.

So BetMissouri.com decided to look at which state has produced the most Masters winners. We cover topics of interest to general sports fans as well as those awaiting legal Missouri sportsbooks.

Texas was a runaway winner in producing Masters winners, with nine different golfers winning 14 green jackets. In second place is California with 11, nearly half of which were won by Tiger Woods, and in third place is Ohio, largely due to some guy named Jack (Nicklaus). Arnold Palmer helped put Pennsylvania in fourth place, then Tom Watson and Horton Smith can be thanked for getting Missouri to fifth. The pair won four of Missouri’s five Masters titles.

Most Masters Victories By State

Rank State Total Wins Avg. To Par
1. Texas14-9.3
2. California11-11.2
3. Ohio7-7.2
4. Pennsylvania5-6.8
5. Missouri5-6.6
6. Georgia 3 -5.7
7. Virginia3-2.3
8. North Carolina2-13
9. Florida2-9
10. New York2-7

Missouri Masters Winners

Horton Smith? Born in 1908 in Springfield, and nicknamed the Joplin Ghost, Smith rose to prominence with the PGA Tour, which was founded in 1934. He won the first Masters Tournament that same year and then won it again in 1936, the first Masters to finish on a Monday. Smith also became the first Masters champion to pass away, when he died from Hodgkin’s disease in October 1963. Amazingly, he played in every Masters until then, playing the final years with only one lung, having lost the other to cancer in 1957.

Herman Keiser of Springfield won the 1946 Masters, one of five wins on the PGA Tour and his only major. Born in 1914, like most of the golfers of his era, Keiser served three years in the military during World War II, returning home in 1945. In his Masters win, Keiser led almost the whole way and defeated Ben Hogan by one shot after going to sleep after the third round with a five-shot lead. His first prize check was $2,500.

Smith was mighty good, but the best golfer to come out of Missouri is Tom Watson. Born in Kansas City in 1949, Watson won one U.S. Open, five British Opens, and two Masters, in 1977 and 1981. A dominating golfer with a rhythmic swing, Watson won 39 times on the PGA Tour and 14 more times on the Champions Tour. With all his wins, however, his most famous tournament may be one he didn’t win. 

At the 2009 Open Championship at Turnberry, the 59-year-old Watson became the oldest man to ever lead a round in a major. He was still up one shot when he reached the 72nd hole, but his second shot took a hard bounce on the green and went over. A bogey led to a 4-hole aggregate playoff, which Watson lost to Stewart Cink.

As for Watson’s Masters wins, in 1977, he edged out Jack Nicklaus. In 1981, he beat Nicklaus and Johnny Miller.

One addendum to our chart. The following states have produced one victory each at Augusta National: Connecticut, Illinois, Indiana, Iowa, Massachusetts, New York, New Jersey, Tennessee and Washington.

There are no Missouri sports betting apps that residents can use to wager on this year’s Masters. But next door in Kansas, Scottie Scheffler is the betting favorite with +650 odds, followed by Rory McIlroy and defending champion Jon Rahm at +1000.



Howard Gensler

Howard Gensler is a contributing writer at BetMissouri.com. Howard is a veteran journalist who’s worked at the Philadelphia Daily News, TV Guide and the Philadelphia Inquirer and is a founding editor of bettorsinsider.com.

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