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1980 Seve Ballesteros Wins The Masters


Watch the final round broadcast of the 1980 Masters.

23-year-old Seve Ballesteros leads wire-to-wire to win his first Masters by four strokes over Gibby Gilbert and Jack Newton

Seve Ballesteros Makes History at the 1980 Masters Tournament

The 1980 Masters Tournament, the 44th edition of this prestigious golfing event, took place from April 10 to 13 at the illustrious Augusta National Golf Club in Augusta, Georgia.

This tournament would go down in history as a significant turning point, as a young Spanish prodigy named Seve Ballesteros etched his name in the annals of golfing greatness.

Seve Ballesteros’ Remarkable Victory

At just 23 years of age, Seve Ballesteros stunned the golfing world by clinching his first Masters title and second major championship win.

He finished four strokes ahead of his nearest competitors, Jack Newton and Gibby Gilbert.

Ballesteros’ dominance throughout the tournament was undeniable.

After 54 holes, he held a commanding seven-stroke lead over the rest of the field. As the final round progressed, he extended his lead to an impressive ten strokes after the front nine, reaching an astonishing 16-under-par.

He had his sights set on the Masters record of 271, set by the legendary Jack Nicklaus in 1965 and equalled by Raymond Floyd in 1976.

Golf magazine even tantalisingly offered a $50,000 bonus for anyone who could break this record with a score of 270 or lower.

However, golf can be an unpredictable game, and Ballesteros experienced some tense moments.

An hour later, after finding the water at the treacherous 12th and 13th holes, known as Amen Corner, his lead had shrunk to just three strokes.

But Seve wasn’t about to let his dream slip away.

He regrouped with a crucial birdie on the 15th hole and maintained his composure, parrying the rest of the holes to secure an even-par 72 for the final round. This stellar performance allowed him to hold on to his lead and claim victory in a tournament that had witnessed both triumph and turbulence.

Nicklaus and Palmer’s Memorable Pairing

While Ballesteros took center stage, the final round also witnessed a captivating pairing between two golfing legends, Jack Nicklaus and Arnold Palmer.

Nicklaus, at 40 years old, and Palmer, at 50, drew large galleries as they navigated the Augusta course.

Arnold Palmer managed to shoot a commendable 69, finishing the tournament at an even-par and tying for 24th place.

This marked the first time in years that Palmer had outperformed Nicklaus at Augusta, with the latter carding a 73 to finish at 291, three over par, and tied for 33rd place.

However, Nicklaus bounced back and went on to win two major championships in 1980—the U.S. Open and the PGA Championship—and was the runner-up in the following April’s Masters Tournament.

A Historic Triumph for Europe

Seve Ballesteros’ victory in the 1980 Masters Tournament was groundbreaking in more ways than one.

Not only did he become the first European golfer to win the Masters, but he also secured his second green jacket in 1983, solidifying his status as one of the sport’s all-time greats.

A Turning Point for Augusta National

In addition to the historic triumphs on the course, the 1980 Masters marked a turning point in the tournament’s history.

This edition featured the final appearance of Bermuda and ryegrass greens, which had been a staple of Augusta National.

These greens were subsequently replaced with bentgrass, ushering in a new era for the iconic golf course.

The 1980 Masters Tournament will forever be remembered as the moment when Seve Ballesteros announced his arrival on the global golfing stage.

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