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1979 Fuzzy Zoeller Wins The Masters


Watch the complete final round and playoff broadcast of the 1979 Masters.

The 1979 Masters Tournament was a memorable event in the world of golf, marking the 43rd edition of this prestigious competition.

Held at the iconic Augusta National Golf Club in Augusta, Georgia, from April 12th to 15th, it provided golf fans with thrilling moments and an unexpected outcome.

Fuzzy Zoeller’s Remarkable Victory

Fuzzy Zoeller, a rising star in the golfing world, secured his place in history by winning his first-ever Masters, which also happened to be his first major title.

This dramatic victory unfolded in a playoff scenario that will forever be etched in golfing lore.

The Playoff Showdown

The playoff featured three formidable competitors: Fuzzy Zoeller, Ed Sneed, and Tom Watson.

It all came down to a birdie attempt on the second hole of the playoff, and Zoeller rose to the occasion, sinking a crucial putt to clinch the championship.

Jack Nicklaus, a legend in his own right, made a valiant effort to join the playoff but narrowly missed out due to a late bogey on the 17th hole.

Sneed’s Heartbreaking Collapse

Ed Sneed, who had led the tournament after the second and third rounds, seemed poised to claim victory.

However, a sudden turn of events on the final three holes saw him bogeying all of them, ultimately leading to the playoff that would determine the champion.

This Masters Tournament introduced the sudden-death format, where players competed until a winner emerged, a format adopted by the Masters in 1976.

The Historic Playoff

The sudden-death playoff began on the 10th hole, a challenging downhill par-4.

Despite the pressure, all three contenders missed birdie opportunities and settled for pars.

The action moved to the par-4 11th hole, where Ed Sneed’s bunker shot failed to find the mark, and Tom Watson missed a critical birdie putt.

Then came Fuzzy Zoeller, who calmly sank a six-foot birdie putt, sealing his victory in a thrilling climax.

Zoeller’s Remarkable Feat

At just 27 years of age, Fuzzy Zoeller’s win was significant for several reasons.

He became the first golfer since Gene Sarazen in 1935 to win the Masters in their initial attempt.

Zoeller’s victory also marked his second PGA Tour win, with his first triumph occurring less than three months prior at the Andy Williams-San Diego Open Invitational.

The talented golfer would go on to secure another major title five years later at the 1984 U.S. Open, once again in a playoff.

Weather Challenges

The 1979 Masters Tournament faced its fair share of challenges, with the second round experiencing a suspension due to heavy rain and tornado warnings.

This weather delay disrupted the schedule and meant that not all golfers could complete their second rounds on Friday.

The cut line was not determined until these rounds were finally finished on Saturday morning.

As a result, this Masters, typically scheduled to conclude on the second Sunday of April, was held a week later, mirroring the circumstances of the 1984 edition.

Steve King of Fore King Golf

Steve King

Steve King is a UK based golf blogger, who shares online golf coaching that he created with his good friend Richard Lawless (PGA Professional)

Steve plays most of his golf in his home county of Wiltshire, in the UK. Read more about Steve