Great Bets

Helping You Find Your Next Bet

How Many Europeans Have Won the US Masters?

The US Masters is the first major of the calendar year and is unique among the big four in that it is played at the same course every season. The lush green fairways and pristine bunkers of the iconic Augusta National, as well as the preternaturally blue water hazards, are just part of what makes the Georgia venue iconic and unforgettable. Scheduled for April, the Masters is when the golf year really starts for many fans and it is a tournament that has been relatively kind to European golfers over the years.

Three of the majors are played in America, the Open Championship being the exception and overall players from this side of the Atlantic have done better at Augusta than they have at any of the many venues used for either the US Open or the USPGA Championship. But which Europeans have earned the right to wear the famous Green Jacket? And have any won the Masters more than once?

Nick Faldo is the European With the Most Masters Titles

Nick Faldo
Nick Faldo (Credit: via bigstock)

Only one golfer from Europe has ever won this famous prize, which was first contested back in 1934, on three occasions. That man can make a decent claim to be the continent’s finest-ever player and is certainly the best English player of modern times. It is, most golf fans will have deduced, Sir Nick Faldo.

For a period in the late 1980s and early 1990s, the powerfully built golfer from Welwyn Garden City was the dominant force in the sport. Faldo was not the most popular player but he was undoubtedly, for several years, the best. In all he won six major titles, which puts him 12th on the all-time list, with Harry Vardon the only European to have bettered that haul (Vardon won seven between 1896 and 1914, with six of those coming at the Open).

However, his three wins at Augusta put him in front on his own in terms of Masters wins. And here’s how he did it…

1989 – First Masters Success

Faldo had won the 1987 Open Championship and had top-five finishes at the US Open, Open and USPGA in 1988 but until 1989 his best Masters performance was tied 15th back in 1984. He seemed almost out of contention heading into Sunday, rounds of 68, 73 and then a disastrous (or so it seemed) 77, leaving him five shots back. However, the Englishman produced a stunning 65 on the final day to force his way into a play-off against American Scott Hoch. Hoch missed a two-footer at the first extra hole for the championship and then Faldo punished him by making birdie at the next to claim the Green Jacket.

1990 – Faldo Defends Title in Another Play-off

Few players have defended the Masters title but Faldo did just that at a time when he was probably the most feared golfer around. His mental fortitude and laser focus made him unpopular with some but it made him a formidable opponent and once again he did it the hard way. Rounds of 66 and 69 at the weekend saw him come from behind to force a play-off with Raymond Floyd and again he won with a birdie on the second extra hole.

1996 – Hat-trick of Masters Comebacks

A 73 on the Saturday seemed to rule Faldo out of contention, four years after his last major success at the 1992 Open. However, Sir Nick had not read the “Greg Norman romps to Masters success at last” script. The two great rivals, utterly different men, were paired together on Sunday, despite the six-shot gap between them. Faldo was imperious, slowly turning the screw as Normal crumbled in a way which was painful to watch, even for Faldo’s fans. The Australian shot 78 to finish second, Faldo’s 67 giving him a five-stroke margin!

First European Winner of the Masters

Between 1934 and 1961, when South African Gary Player took the Green Jacket, only American players had won the Masters. Player won twice more in the 1970s but it was not until 1980 that another golfer from outside the US tasted glory at Augusta.

However, in 1980, one of the game’s true greats took Augusta apart, shooting 13-under to win by four strokes. That man was Seve Ballesteros, claiming the second of his five majors after landing the 1979 Open Championship. Rounds of 66-69-68 gave him a huge lead of seven shots after 53 holes and his closing 72 was more than enough to seal the deal.

European Golfers with Multiple Wins

Masters Green JacketsAside from Faldo, three European golfers have won the Masters more than once, the trio all boasting a brace of Green Jackets. All three are European Ryder Cup legends and stars of the 1980s and 1990s, a time when Europe almost came to dominate this tournament.

The first European to claim a second Masters win was Seve. He missed the cut in defence of his crown but was tied third in 1982 before winning again in 1983. That year a closing 69 saw him win by four shots, despite trailing by one heading into the final round.

Two years after Seve’s second win, German Bernhard Langer triumphed at the 1985 Masters; Seve was one of three players two shots back in second place. Langer’s second success came in 1993, four under-par rounds proving enough for a four-stroke win. Between Langer’s two triumphs, there would be four more wins for Europeans, versus three for the US.

The European supremacy continued in 1994 as Seve’s brilliant Ryder Cup partner Jose Maria Olazabal won his first Green Jacket. The Spaniard was two good, becoming the sixth European champion in seven Masters! Olly added Masters number two, and the only other major he won, in 1999.

Full List of European Winners

In all, nine European golfers have won the US Masters, with four of those coming from Spain. Including multiple wins, Europeans have won a total of 14 Green Jackets.

  • Jon Rahm – 2023
  • Sergio Garcia – 2017
  • Danny Willett – 2016
  • Jose Maria Olazabal – 1999
  • Nick Faldo – 1996
  • Jose Maria Olazabal – 1994
  • Bernhard Langer – 1993
  • Ian Woosnam – 1991
  • Nick Faldo – 1990
  • Nick Faldo – 1989
  • Sandy Lyle – 1988
  • Bernard Langer – 1985
  • Seve Ballesteros – 1983
  • Seve Ballesteros – 1980