The Masters: How Many World No. 1 Players Have Won at Augusta National?

Being the top-ranked golfer in the world obviously comes with some pressure. No matter what tournament you enter, you’re seen as one of the favorites. And that includes The Masters.

But far more often than not, the No. 1 player in the world doesn’t slip on the green jacket on Sunday evening at Augusta National Golf Club. In fact, since the Official World Golf Ranking began in 1986, the year Jack Nicklaus won The Masters for the sixth and final time, there have only been six instances in which the top-ranked player going into Augusta National came out on top.

For those wondering — no, Jack was not one of them as the then-46-year-old was the 33rd-ranked player when he won his 18th and final major championship.

As for those five instances, they came from four players as five-time champ Tiger Woods accomplished the feat twice.

The top-ranked player in the world has won The Masters six times

The first time a top-ranked player won The Masters was in 1991, when Ian Woosnam earned a one-stroke victory over future two-time champ Jose Maria Olazabal. Woosnam took over the No. 1 spot from Nick Faldo only four days before the tournament began.

One year later, Fred Couples became the second No. 1 player to win at Augusta National with a two-shot victory over Raymond Floyd. Like Woosnam, Couples took the No. 1 spot from Faldo just four days before the first round.

Tiger Woods played The Masters a dozen times as the top-ranked player in the world. He was actually No. 1 ahead of 13 editions but didn’t play in 2014 due to injury. Woods won for the first time at No. 1 when he completed the famed “Tiger Slam” in 2001 and did it again in 2002.

Dustin Johnson won The Masters as world No. 1 in 2020, which was played in November due to COVID-19. DJ set the 72-hole scoring record at Augusta National that week.

And the latest to do it, of course, is Scottie Scheffler, who won the 2022 edition by three strokes to claim his first major championship.

How every world No. 1 has performed at The Masters

The Masters flag
The Masters flag | David Cannon/Getty Images

Here’s a quick look at how every world No. 1 has performed at The Masters.

  • 1986: Bernhard Langer — T16
  • 1987: Greg Norman — T2 (lost in a three-man playoff)
  • 1988: Greg Norman — T5
  • 1989: Seve Ballesteros — 5
  • 1990: Greg Norman — Missed cut
  • 1991: Ian Woosnam — Won
  • 1992: Fred Couples — Won
  • 1993: Nick Faldo — T39
  • 1994: Greg Norman — T18
  • 1995: Nick Price — Missed cut
  • 1996: Greg Norman — 2
  • 1997: Greg Norman — Missed cut
  • 1998: Tiger Woods — T8
  • 1999: David Duval — T6
  • 2000: Tiger Woods — 5
  • 2001: Tiger Woods — Won
  • 2002: Tiger Woods — Won
  • 2003: Tiger Woods – T15
  • 2004: Tiger Woods — T22
  • 2005: Vijay Singh — T5
  • 2006: Tiger Woods — T3
  • 2007: Tiger Woods — T2
  • 2008: Tiger Woods — 2
  • 2009: Tiger Woods — T6
  • 2010: Tiger Woods — T4
  • 2011: Martin Kaymer — Missed cut
  • 2012: Luke Donald — T32
  • 2013: Tiger Woods — T4
  • 2014: Tiger Woods — DNP
  • 2015: Rory McIlroy — 4
  • 2016: Jason Day — T10
  • 2017: Dustin Johnson — DNP
  • 2018: Dustin Johnson — T10
  • 2019: Justin Rose — Missed cut
  • 2020: Dustin Johnson — Won
  • 2021: Dustin Johnson — Missed cut
  • 2022: Scottie Scheffler — Won

Stats courtesy of Official World Golf Ranking

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