1997 Masters: Tiger Woods Wins His First Major

Tiger Woods tees off during the final round of the 1997 Masters.
Tiger Woods tees off during the final round of the 1997 Masters. Steve Munday/Getty Images

It was already clear by the time of the 1997 Masters that Tiger Woods would be a special player in the golf world, but the dominance Woods displayed in winning his first major truly showed the dawn of the Tiger Era in golf.

Quick Bits

  • Winner: Tiger Woods, 270
  • Dates: April 10-13, 1997
  • Location: Augusta National Golf Club in Augusta, Ga.
  • Tournament number: This was the 61st time the Masters was played.

Woods Scorches Augusta, Field at 1997 Masters

The 1997 Masters was the place where the legend of Tiger Woods truly blossomed.

Woods had enjoyed one of the best amateur careers ever; he turned pro late in the 1996 PGA Tour season and quickly won. At the 1997 Masters, Woods blitzed Augusta National and destroyed the field, winning his first major championship, and signalling that everyone better believe the hype.

Woods set multiple Masters records this week, including:

  • Youngest-ever Masters champion (age 21)
  • Lowest 72-hole score at The Masters (270)
  • Largest margin of victory at The Masters (12 strokes)

It didn't start out that way for Woods, however. Playing his first Masters as a professional (and third overall), Woods carded a 40 on the front nine of his first round. But he followed that with a 30 on the back nine for a first-round 70. It was his highest score of the week. And that 70 still left him in fourth place, three behind the early leader.

A second-round 66 put Woods in front by three strokes over Colin Montgomerie.

Playing with Woods in the third round, Monty shot 74 to Woods' 65. Woods held a 9-stroke lead over second place. "Can he be caught in the final round?" Monty was asked in the press conference. No chance, Monty replied.

And Montgomerie was correct. Woods closed with a 69 to finish at 18-under. The second-place finisher, Tom Kite, was all the way back at 6-under.

The 18-under score in relation to par tied the record for all men's majors at that time, a record Woods later bettered at the 2000 British Open.

It set a new record in The Masters. Woods' 270 total lowered by one the previous 72-hole tournament record that had been shared by Jack Nicklaus (1965) and Raymond Floyd (1976). The mark was matched by Jordan Spieth in 2015.

1997 Masters Scores

Results from the 1997 Masters golf tournament played at the par-72 Augusta National Golf Club in Augusta, Ga. (a-amateur):

Tiger Woods, $486,00070-66-65-69--270
Tom Kite, $291,60077-69-66-70--282
Tommy Tolles, $183,60072-72-72-67--283
Tom Watson, $129,60075-68-69-72--284
Paul Stankowski, $102,60068-74-69-74--285
Costantino Rocca, $102,60071-69-70-75--285
Bernhard Langer, $78,57072-72-74-68--286
Justin Leonard, $78,57076-69-71-70--286
Fred Couples, $78,57072-69-73-72--286
Davis Love III, $78,57072-71-72-71--286
Jeff Sluman, $78,57074-67-72-73--286
Steve Elkington, $52,92076-72-72-67--287
Willie Wood, $52,92072-76-71-68--287
Per-Ulrik Johansson, $52,92072-73-73-69--287
Tom Lehman, $52,92073-76-69-69--287
Jose Maria Olazabal, $52,92071-70-74-72--287
Mark Calcavecchia, $39,15074-73-72-69--288
Vijay Singh, $39,15075-74-69-70--288
Fred Funk, $39,15073-74-69-72--288
Ernie Els, $39,15073-70-71-74--288
John Huston, $30,24067-77-75-70--289
Stuart Appleby, $30,24072-76-70-71--289
Jesper Parnevik, $30,24073-72-71-73--289
Lee Westwood, $24,82077-71-73-70--291
Nick Price, $24,82071-71-75-74--291
Craig Stadler, $21,19577-72-71-72--292
Lee Janzen, $21,19572-73-74-73--292
Jim Furyk, $19,57574-75-72-72--293
Paul Azinger, $19,57569-73-77-74--293
Larry Mize, $17,14579-69-74-72--294
Scott McCarron, $17,14577-71-72-74--294
Mark O'Meara, $17,14575-74-70-75--294
Colin Montgomerie, $17,14572-67-74-81--294
Sandy Lyle, $14,91873-73-74-75--295
Fuzzy Zoeller, $14,91875-73-69-78--295
Duffy Waldorf, $13,90574-75-72-75--296
David Frost, $13,23074-71-73-79--297
Scott Hoch, $12,69079-68-73-78--298
Jack Nicklaus, $11,61077-70-74-78--299
Sam Torrance, $11,61075-73-73-78--299
Ian Woosnam, $11,61077-68-75-79--299
Jumbo Ozaki, $10,53074-74-74-78--300
Corey Pavin, $9,72075-74-78-74--301
Clarence Rose, $9,72073-75-79-74--301
Ben Crenshaw, $8,91075-73-74-80--302
Frank Nobilo, $8,37076-72-74-81--303