1984 Masters Tournament: A Victory Inspired By a 'Ghost'

1984 Masters winner Ben Crenshaw hitting a drive
Ben Crenshaw hits a drive during the 1984 Masters Tournament. David Cannon/Getty Images

Ben Crenshaw and Tom Kite were linked together throughout their careers. They grew up in Austin, Texas, and were pupils of famed golf instructor Harvey Penick; they were teammates at the University of Texas and both continued to live in Austin as their professional careers took off.

In the final round of the 1984 Masters, however, Crenshaw and Kite went in opposite directions. Kite was the third-round leader, Crenshaw two strokes behind. But Kite went out on Sunday and shot a shaky 75, falling back into a tie for sixth place.

Crenshaw went out on Sunday and posted a 68, surging into the victory - the first of his two majors (both Masters wins).

Crenshaw, who many believed was long overdue for a major, finally got one with the help of his famously accurate putter. Crenshaw rolled in what he later called "a preposterous putt," a winding 60-footer on the 10th hole, that was his third straight birdie in the final round.

Crenshaw is a noted student of golf history, and there is a famous story about the 1984 Masters that demonstrates that knowledge. Crenshaw hit a perfect drive on the par-5 No. 13, and he was debating, with a three-stroke lead, whether to go for the green in two - hitting over water - or play it safe and lay up.

As he stood over the ball, Crenshaw looked into the gallery and saw Billy Joe Patton. Patton was a great amateur golfer who led the 1954 Masters on the back nine of the final round. Patton was trying to become the first amateur to win The Masters, but on the par-5 holes of Augusta's back nine - the 13th and 15th - Patton went for the green in two and on both holes found water instead. He wound up in third place.

Crenshaw, after seeing Patton in the gallery that day in 1984, decided to play it safe. He laid up, made par, and went on to a two-stroke victory.

The kicker to the story? Billy Joe Patton did not attend the 1984 Masters. Whoever Crenshaw saw - or thought he saw, or imagined - in the gallery wasn't Patton; but Crenshaw thought it was, it reminded him of Patton's fate in 1954, and led him to play cautiously with the lead.

Two-time Masters champ Tom Watson was runner-up. This was one of three times Watson finished second in a Masters.

Mark Lye was the 36-hole leader and one shot behind leader Kite after three rounds, but shot 74 in the final round and finished five behind Crenshaw. Crenshaw also won the 1995 Masters.

1984 Masters Scores

Results from the 1984 Masters golf tournament played at the par-72 Augusta National Golf Club in Augusta, Ga. (a-amateur):

Ben Crenshaw 67-72-70-68--277 $108,000
Tom Watson 74-67-69-69--279 $64,800
David Edwards 71-70-72-67--280 $34,800
Gil Morgan 73-71-69-67--280 $34,800
Larry Nelson 76-69-66-70--281 $24,000
Ronnie Black 71-74-69-68--282 $19,425
David Graham 69-70-70-73--282 $19,425
Tom Kite 70-68-69-75--282 $19,425
Mark Lye 69-66-73-74--282 $19,425
Fred Couples 71-73-67-72--283 $16,200
Rex Caldwell 71-71-69-73--284 $13,200
Wayne Levi 71-72-69-72--284 $13,200
Larry Mize 71-70-71-72--284 $13,200
Jack Renner 71-73-71-69--284 $13,200
Nick Faldo 70-69-70-76--285 $10,200
Raymond Floyd 70-73-70-72--285 $10,200
Calvin Peete 79-66-70-70--285 $10,200
Andy Bean 71-70-72-73--286 $8,400
Danny Edwards 72-71-70-73--286 $8,400
Jack Nicklaus 73-73-70-70--286 $8,400
Jay Haas 74-71-70-72--287 $6,475
Hale Irwin 70-71-74-72--287 $6,475
Gary Player 71-72-73-71--287 $6,475
Payne Stewart 76-69-68-74--287 $6,475
Isao Aoki 69-72-73-74--288 $4,680
George Archer 70-74-71-73--288 $4,680
a-Rick Fehr 72-71-70-75--288
Peter Jacobsen 72-70-75-71--288 $4,680
Greg Norman 75-71-73-69--288 $4,680
Tom Purtzer 69-74-76-69--288 $4,680
Bernhard Langer 73-70-74-72--289 $4,000
Fuzzy Zoeller 72-73-70-74--289 $4,000
Bruce Lietzke 75-70-75-70--290 $3,600
Tommy Nakajima 75-70-70-75--290 $3,600
Gary Koch 70-75-70-76--291 $3,100
Mark McCumber 73-71-74-73--291 $3,100
Dan Pohl 74-71-72-74--291 $3,100
Craig Stadler 74-70-74-73--291 $3,100
Tom Weiskopf 74-71-74-72--291 $3,100
Scott Simpson 72-70-76-74--292 $2,800
a-Robert Lewis Jr. 73-70-75-75--293
Andy North 76-68-80-69--293 $2,600
Lee Trevino 68-73-74-79--294 $2,500
Morris Hatalsky 73-71-75-76--295 $2,300
David Ogrin 73-73-76-74--296 $2,200
a-Clark Burroughs 72-74-75-76--297
Curtis Strange 71-74-75-77--297 $2,100

1983 Masters | 1985 Masters

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