LIST: The six players to win a U.S. Amateur Championship and the Masters Tournament
08 Mar 2024
by Sean Melia of

Tiger Woods won three U.S. Amateur titles
Tiger Woods won three U.S. Amateur titles

Last year, Jon Rahm became the first European in history to win the Masters and the U.S. Open in a career. An astonishing accomplishment given some of the names that have preceded him from the continent.

It got us thinking about other accomplishments that only a few in the golfing world have checked off the list. Only five golfers have ever won the U.S. Amateur and The Masters in their career. 

Phil Mickelson
U.S. Amateur: 1990
Masters: 2004, 2006, and 2010

In 1990, 20-year-old Phil Mickelson faced off in the U.S. Amateur final against his high school teammate Manny Zerman. He beat the South African turned San Diego native

5&4 at Cherry Hills CC in Colorado. 

Two-time U.S. Amateur runner-up Manny Zerman is at peace with the game

Over the course of Mickelson's early professional career, he was considered the best player never to win a major. That all changed in 2004 when Mickelson rolled home a birdie putt on the 72nd hole to beat Ernie Els by one shot.

Jack Nicklaus:
U.S. Amateur: 1959 and 1961
Masters: 1963, 1965, 1966, 1972, 1975, 1986

Nicklaus was a 19-year-old when he won his first U.S. Amateur. He beat Charles Coe, who was the defending champion. After flaming out in the fourth round in 1960 as the favorite, Nicklaus arrived at Pebble Beach in 1961 ready to reclaim the Havemeyer Trophy. He did just that, trouncing Dudley Wysong 8&6 in the final.

Six of Nicklaus’ 18 major championships came at Augusta National. It’s tough to put all of Nicklaus’ credentials into perspective, but has a great set of incredible stats. 

Here is one of them: From 1963 to 1979, Nicklaus played the Masters 17 times. He won five green jackets in that span and finished outside the top-10 just twice. Nicklaus was 87 under par at Augusta National in that span, 69 strokes better than any other player. He gained 206 strokes against the field, 75 more than second-best in that stretch (Gary Player, 131 strokes gained). He shot worse than the field average just seven times in 66 rounds.

Mark O’Meara
U.S. Amateur: 1979
Masters: 1998

If we’re being honest, O’Meara is the biggest surprise on this list. Many attribute his Masters win to his friendship with Tiger Woods. However, O’Meara was a star amateur. In 1979, he stared down John Cook in the final. Cook was the defending champion and was playing in the comforts of his home state at Canterbury in Ohio.

The 1998 victory didn’t seem too likely when O’Meara signed for a 70 on Friday evening to finish the opening 36 holes in even par. However, he shot 68-67 on the weekend in a thrilling tournament. It took a 25-foot putt on the 72nd hole to inch ahead by a shot over Fred Couples and David Duval. 


Craig Stadler

U.S. Amateur: 1973

Masters: 1982

Stadler was a Southern California kid through and through. He grew up in San Diego and attended USC. He won the 1973 at Inverness. 30 years after that win, he returned to Inverness as a 50 year-old for the U.S. Senior Open. He recalled playing terribly the week of his triumph, "I made everything in '73," Stadler said in an ESPN article. "I hit it horrible, but I made everything."

The win at Augusta National nine years later was a war of attrition. Stadler actually shot over-par in the first and last round. He entered Sunday with a three shot lead over Seve Ballesteros and Jerry Pate.Ray Floyd, Tom Weiskopf, Tom Watson, and Jack Nicklaus were also in the mix. However, it was Dan Pohl, who shot a 67 in the final two rounds, who closed the gap and forced a playoff. Stadler won his only major on the first playoff hole, making a par.

Arnold Palmer
U.S. Amateur: 1954
Masters: 1958, 1960, 1962, 1964

Palmer’s 1954 U.S. Amateur at Detroit CC kicked off a decade of winning and the best golf of his life. He won all of his seven professional majors from 1958 to 1964.

The U.S. Amatuer win put Palmer on the map and gave him the confidence to turn pro in November of 1954. "That victory was the turning point in my life," he said. "It gave me confidence I could compete at the highest level of the game. 

Even Gene Littler was paying attention. "That's Arnold Palmer,” he said to the press that week. “He's going to be a great player someday. When he hits the ball, the earth shakes."

The 1964 Masters win was the most dominant of Palmer’s triumphs. He fired rounds of 69-68-69-70 (-12) and won by six shots over Dave Marr and Jack Nicklaus.

Tiger Woods
U.S. Amateur: 1994-1996
Masters: 1997, 2001, 2002, 2005, 2019

Woods is such an all-time great that two of his greatest feats have nothing to do with professional majors. Winning three straight U.S. Junior Amateurs and then three straight U.S. Amateurs is stunning. Add that to making 142 straight professional cuts, and Woods is in a league of his own before even discussing his 14 majors.

The 1995 U.S. Amateur at Newport National is possibly the last of its kind. Woods beat two 43-year-olds. First, he downed Maine golf legend Mark Plummer in the semi-final and then took down Buddy Marruci in the final. 

Revisiting Tiger's six straight USGA Championships

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