Watch the complete final round of the 1981 Masters. Tom Watson wins his second Green Jacket, with Johnny Miller and Jack Nicklaus both finishing two strokes behind him.
The 1981 Masters Tournament, the 45th edition of this prestigious golfing event, left an indelible mark on the history of Augusta National Golf Club.
From Tom Watson’s remarkable victory to Jack Nicklaus’s valiant effort, this tournament had it all.
Let’s revisit the highlights of the 1981 Masters, where the world witnessed golfing legends clash on the newly introduced bentgrass greens.
Tom Watson’s Triumph
Tom Watson, a seasoned golfer with four major titles to his name, seized the moment at Augusta in 1981.
Held from April 9th to 12th, the Masters Tournament showcased Watson’s brilliance as he claimed his second green jacket and fifth major title.
Watson’s win was achieved with a two-stroke lead over two other giants of the game, Jack Nicklaus and Johnny Miller.
Nicklaus’s Stellar Performance
Jack Nicklaus, a five-time Masters champion and a golfing icon, made headlines during the 1981 Masters with his exceptional performance.
Nicklaus played a bogey-free round of 65 on Friday, taking a commanding lead of four strokes after 36 holes.
However, a challenging Saturday round marred by a 75 pushed him back, putting him just a stroke behind Watson as they entered the final round.
Nicklaus’s runner-up finish marked his fourth time in that position at the Masters, but he would later return triumphantly in 1986 to claim his sixth green jacket at the age of 46.
Other Notable Performances
Defending champion Seve Ballesteros had a challenging outing in 1981, shooting 154 (+10) and missing the cut by six strokes.
This marked the second time he missed the cut as a defending champion, having faced a similar fate in 1984.
Lee Trevino, another golfing legend, also found himself with a score of 154 due to an ailing back.
Despite his best efforts, Trevino never managed to win the coveted green jacket, with his highest finishes at Augusta being tenth-place ties in 1975 and 1985.
A young Greg Norman, at the age of 26, made his Masters debut in 1981 and made quite an impression, finishing fourth.
This was the first of his eight top-five finishes at Augusta, a testament to his remarkable career.
Norman would go on to become a runner-up three times at the Masters, in 1986, 1987, and 1996, solidifying his place as a formidable force in the world of golf.
A Change in Greens
The 1981 Masters Tournament was notable for more than just the thrilling competition.
It marked the introduction of bentgrass greens, a significant change from the formerly used Bermuda and ryegrass.
This switch would impact the way players approached their putts and added an extra layer of challenge to the Augusta National Golf Club course.