Who exactly does qualify as the most successful ever Masters golfer? Just how does one define the most successful ever Masters golfer?

My latest commission pinged into my inbox. It was to be a piece on who is the most successful ever Masters golfer. This seemed a nice easy one. But then, I thought was it?

Who exactly does qualify as the most successful ever Masters golfer? Just how does one define the most successful ever Masters golfer?

Is it the chap who has played the lowest 72 holes there? In which case the most successful ever Masters golfer is Tiger Woods. In 1997 he went round in 18 under par.

Or as the course has changed over time, is the most successful ever Masters golfer simply the player who beats the field by the most?

In which case the most successful ever Masters golfer is again Tiger Woods; and again it’s 1997. His 12-shot gap between him and runner up Tom Kite is comfortably the largest margin of victory. No-one else has achieved a victory margin in double digits.

Or is the chap who has played the lowest round there? In which case it is Nick Price and Greg Norman who both carded a first round 63, in 1986 and 1996 respectively.

Or is the most successful ever Masters golfer Fuzzy Zoeller who rocked up in 1979 to play in his first Masters. Zoeller was 27 and had only won once on tour. He told his caddy, in those days an Augusta National one, a requirement of the tournament: “You tell me where to hit it and I’ll put ‘em there.”

And that is what happened. He is the only man since the second year of the Masters, in 1935, to win on his first outing in the event. The average previous Masters appearances by a first-time winner is six.

But the most successful ever Masters golfer has to be Jack Nicklaus. He has just achieved so much on those fairways. Six Green Jackets for a start (1963, 1965, 1966, 1972, 1975, 1986). The next most stocked wardrobe is Tiger Woods’ one with four.

Jack Nicklaus’ win in 1986 also makes him the oldest winner, at 46 years and 82 days.

Nicklaus also shares the record for most runners up spots with four ((1964, 1971, 1977, 1981) level with Ben Hogan and Tom Weiskopf.

In fact in the Masters list of most almost-everything Jack seems to be top. Most top 2s (10), top 5s (15), top 10s (22), top 25s (29), cuts made (37), eagles (24) and birdies (506).

Jack Nicklaus has to be considered the most successful ever Masters golfer.