You may have heard it said The Masters Tournament is a tradition unlike any other – Magnolia Lane, green jackets, Amen Corner, pimento cheese … and longshots? Those who win the coveted green jacket have their name etched in the history of golf. Although longshots don’t often win, some of the most improbable victories have made the most iconic Masters moments. While we remember Tiger Woods and Jack Nicklaus, some victors truly came out of nowhere. Below, we’ll look at the eight golfers with the longest odds to win the Masters since 1986, when odds record keeping began.
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8 Biggest Masters Longshots To Win The Green Jacket
8. Patrick Reed (40-1, 2018)
PGA TOUR’s brief heel put his name on the radar not for alleged skirting around some rules, but with his Masters victory in 2018. Reed closed at 40-1 odds just ahead of Round 1, but quickly vaulted himself into competition. He posted a 69, 66, and 67 in the first three rounds – the only golfer in the field to shoot sub-70 all three rounds. At +120 heading into Sunday, Reed shot a 71 and survived a surging Jordan Speith, who shot 64 on Sunday (second-lowest round ever).
7. Bubba Watson (50-1, 2012)
Watson won his first of two green jackets in 2012 with 50-1 odds prior to Round 1. Drama ran high as he chased down Louis Oosthuizen, shooting one better than him to force a playoff. It took two extra holes to finally notch his victory, but Watson did so, closing at +800 going into Sunday. The 2012 Masters stands as one of the most thrilling rounds in recent memory, due in part to both Watson and Oosthuizen (66-1) being longshots.
6. Danny Willett (50-1, 2016)
Perhaps the most memorable Masters longshot, Willett closed ahead of Round 1 with 50-1 odds. However, what puts him above Watson, is that he opened at 150-1 back in November 2015. In 2016, Augusta National ate its participants for lunch, with Willett needing to shoot just five-under for the tournament to win. This year also featured the infamous collapse of Speith, who had a five-shot lead heading into Sunday’s back nine. Willett endured, winning the tournament by three strokes.
5. Hideki Matsuyama (60-1, 2021)
Nerves nearly got the best of Matsuyama on Sunday, who shot one-over in the final round. Behind him were Will Zalatoris and Speith, who each posted two-under for the round. But he finished with a one-stroke lead after closing at 60-1 odds ahead of Round 1. Storms plagued most of the field Saturday, even stopping play for awhile, but Matsuyama posted his best score (65) that day.
4. Charl Schwartzel (100-1, 2011)
Four Masters winners really embody the “longshot” category, with Schwartzel’s 2011 win being the last time someone with 100-1 odds or longer won the green jacket. He beat out Jason Day and Adam Scott thanks to a 66 on Sunday and a 14-under finish. Ahead of that final round, Rory McIlroy led the field by four strokes and Schwartzel was 14-1 to come back and win, improbable in itself. Rory melted down the finish, shooting an 80 on the final day and finishing T15. Schwartzel took advantage and became the penultimate winner in a six-year stretch of longshot dominance.
3. Angel Cabrera (125-1, 2009)
As if Watson’s 2012 victory in a playoff wasn’t drama enough, Cabrera ended Sunday in a three-way playoff with Chad Campbell and Kenny Perry at 12-under. Perry fumbled the final two holes, shooting two bogeys, and fell into the playoff. Cabrera outlasted the other two in two extra holes, staving off Perry. He became the first (and still the only) Masters winner from Argentina and South America. Perry closed ahead of Round 1 with astounding 125-1 odds to win the tournament.
2. Zach Johnson (125-1, 2007)
Johnson also closed at 125-1 ahead of the 2007 Masters Tournament. What made his win slightly more fantastic is that he remains the only winner to never finish inside the top 30 before this tournament. Johnson battled some of the worst playing conditions in recent Masters history, with Saturday featuring cold temperatures and winds in excess of 33 mph. The cut was at a grotesque +8 and Johnson finished with a two-stroke lead at +1. Nobody shot better than 70 in Round 3 and Johnson himself shot a 76 – six strokes worse than second-place Retief Goosen.
1. Trevor Immelman (150-1, 2008)
Sandwiched between two of the least probable Masters victories of all time sits Trevor Immelman, the least probable Masters victor of all time. He closed ahead of Round 1 with 150-1 odds but led the tournament wire-to-wire. Immelman posted a 75 on Sunday with Tiger Woods in his rearview mirror (who shot a 72). Heavy rain Saturday stopped play and bogged the course down Sunday, with just two golfers in the field posting better than a 70 final round. But Immelman headlines the biggest Masters longshots since 1986.
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Historic odds data courtesy of Sports Odds History and date back to 1986