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The Greatest Upsets in Augusta Masters History

Unforeseen Triumphs and Remarkable Moments in The Masters Tournaments


As we head into the fall, golf’s major season is well and truly a distant memory. With the most recent major coming back in July and the next one not coming until next April, Golf fans have a lot of time on their hands to improve their own game rather than twiddling their thumbs. But if there is one thing, we can all agree on, 2023 may very well go down as the year of the upset.

The major season didn’t get off to a shocking start right away though. At the Masters back in April, Spaniard Jon Rahm claimed his second major as he romped to glory over the luscious greens of Augusta. The 28-year-old has consistently been a threat on the PGA Tour ever since his maiden success at the 2021 US Open, and he added the Green Jacket to his already impressive collection with a four-stroke victory over Brooks Koepka.

What was surprising however was the return of that man, Koepka. Between 2017 and 2019, the American looked poise to become the sport’s next superstar, however, a number of injuries curtailed his form. Add to that a controversial switch to LIV and many thought his career at the top level was over. If you were one of them, you drastically miscalculated.

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The 33-year-old put the disappointment of blowing a two-shot final-day lead the previous month behind him as he claimed the PGA Championship for the third time in his career back in May. He managed to fend off young Norwegian star Viktor Hovland and compatriot Scottie Scheffler en route to victory. And such has been Koepka’s incredible return to form the latest golf odds currently have him earmarked as +1000 third favorite for the upcoming LIV Chicago event.

While Koepka’s return to the fore was surprising, it wasn’t truly staggering. That’s where Wyndham Clark comes in. The American had never finished in the top 75 in a major championship and had missed the cut in the previous two US Opens. That all came to an end this year however as he shot a final-round 70 to finish at 10-under-par and secure his maiden major.

In August at the Open Championship, countryman Brian Harman would follow him. He raced into a huge early lead at Hoylake, a lead that proved to be unassailable. He would eventually finish a whopping six shots clear of the opposition to also claim his first-ever major.

So, with plenty of upsets taking place over the last calendar year, we decided to take a look at the greatest upset victories of all time. And with the Masters the next major tournament on the horizon, which better place to start than there?

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Danny Willett, 2016

In 2016, Danny Willett was barely on the radar as a contender for the Augusta Masters. However, he put together a series of excellent performances to win the tournament. Most notably, Jordan Spieth threw away a commanding lead with a disastrous meltdown in the final round, allowing Willett to claim his first and only major victory by three strokes. Willett became the first Englishman to win the Masters since 1996 and one of the greatest underdogs ever to claim the prestigious Green Jacket.

Trevor Immelman, 2008

Trevor Immelman went into the 2008 Augusta Masters as a 75-1 outsider, having only won one PGA Tour event up to that point in his career. However, Immelman played incredible golf and held off challenges from Tiger Woods and Phil Mickelson to claim a three-shot victory. Immelman’s success was especially notable because he had battled through a wrist injury that had threatened to end his career.



Charl Schwartzel, 2011

Charl Schwartzel’s victory in 2011 is considered by many as one of the most thrilling Masters of all time. Schwartzel came from behind to overtake the likes of Rory McIlroy and Adam Scott, with four birdies in the last four holes. Schwartzel’s final round score of 66 is one of the lowest-ever winning scores at Augusta, and his victory is a testament to his fortitude and mental toughness.

Zach Johnson, 2007

In 2007, Zach Johnson shocked the golf world by winning the Augusta Masters by two strokes, despite being one of the shortest hitters in the field. Johnson’s victory was notable because he employed a conservative strategy, avoiding the big risks that many of his competitors took. Johnson’s determination and ironclad focus allowed him to claim his first major championship, and his feat remains an inspiration for aspiring golfers today.

Larry Mize, 1987

Larry Mize’s victory in the 1987 Augusta Masters goes down in history as one of the greatest upsets ever in sports. Mize, who qualified for the tournament as a local player, faced off against Greg Norman in a sudden-death playoff. However, with his back against the wall, Mize delivered one of the most unlikely shots in Augusta’s history, chipping in from 140 feet away to win the tournament. Mize’s victory remains a symbol of hope for all athletes who might think they are underdogs.

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