The Youngest and Oldest Winners of The Masters Tournament

Tiger Woods, age 21, became the youngest winner of The Masters in 1997
The 21-year-old Tiger Woods swinging during the 1997 Masters, which he won to become the youngest Masters champion. Steve Munday/Getty Images

Who are the youngest golfers who've won The Masters? On this page we'll tell you who the record-holder is, run down the list of the 10 youngest Masters winners, plus show you the progression of record-holders over time.

The Youngest Masters Champion Is ...

Tiger Woods. Woods won the 1997 Masters at the age of 21 years, 3 months and 14 days old. Jordan Spieth later came within five months of bettering Woods' record, and Woods and Spieth are the only golfers younger than 22 who've won this major.

Woods' 1997 victory was a smashing one, literally, as he broke or tied all kinds of tournament records. He became the youngest winner, obviously, lowering the record previously held by Seve Ballesteros. He also tied or broke multiple scoring records, including setting a new margin-of-victory record when he won by 12 strokes.

It was Woods' first win in a major championship and his fourth overall PGA Tour victory. He had turned pro less than one year earlier.

The List of Youngest Masters Winners

Listed in order, these are the 10 youngest golfers who've won The Masters:

  • Tiger Woods: Woods was 21 years, 3 months and 14 days old when he won the 1997 Masters.
  • Jordan Spieth: Spieth was 21 years, 8 months old when he won the 2015 Masters. He led wire-to-wire and tied Woods' 72-hole scoring record at 18-under 270.
  • Seve Ballesteros: Ballesteros was 23 years and 4 days old when he won the 1980 Masters. It was Seve's second major and his 11th European Tour victory.
  • Jack Nicklaus: Nicklaus was 23 years, 2 months and 17 days old when he won the 1963 Masters. It was Nicklaus' second win in a major and his fifth PGA Tour victory.

The four golfers above are the only ones to date to win The Masters before turning 25. The following golfers round out the Top 10 youngest Masters champions:

  • Byron Nelson: 25 years, 2 months, 0 days old when he won the 1937 Masters.
  • Jack Nicklaus: 25 years, 2 months, 21 days old when he won the 1965 Masters.
  • Tiger Woods: 25 years, 3 months, 9 days old when he won the 2001 Masters.
  • Gary Player: 25 years, 5 months, 9 days old when he won the 1961 Masters.
  • Horton Smith: 25 years, 10 months, 3 days old when he won the 1934 Masters. (The tournament's very first winner still makes this list!)
  • Seve Ballesteros: 26 years, 2 days old when he won the 1983 Masters.

Note that Woods, Ballesteros and Nicklaus all make the Top 10 twice.

Progression of the Record for Youngest Masters Winner

The first Masters champ was, obviously, also the youngest Masters champ at that point. So let's see how this record has progressed through the years, listing each golfer who's held this record until reaching the current record-holder, Woods:

  1. Horton Smith, winner of the 1934 Masters, was 25 years, 10 months and 3 days old.
  2. Byron Nelson lowered the record at the 1937 Masters, winning at age 25 years and 2 months.
  3. Nobody beat Nelson's mark until Nicklaus at the 1963 Masters, at age 23.
  4. Ballesteros lowered the record to 23 years and 4 days in 1980.
  5. And Woods broke that record in 1997.

The Oldest Masters Champion Is ...

Jack Nicklaus. Nicklaus set the record at age 46 when he won the 1986 Masters. So Nicklaus first held the record for many years as youngest Masters winner, then set the record for oldest champ in 1986. And it's a record he still holds.

At the time of his victory in the 1986 Masters, Nicklaus hadn't won a PGA Tour event in two years and hadn't won a major championship since 1980. He was considered, by many, washed up. In fact, that's what a newspaper columnist wrote just before the tournament started at Augusta National, and seeing that column helped fire up Nicklaus. He made a famous back-nine charge to win the trophy in what turned out to be his final victory.

The List of Oldest Masters Winners

These are the only golfers in Masters history to win the tournament at age 40 or older:

  • Jack Nicklaus, 1986 (46 years, 2 months, 23 days)
  • Tiger Woods, 2019 (43 years, 3 months, 15 days)
  • Ben Crenshaw, 1995 (43 years, 2 months, 29 days)
  • Gary Player, 1978 (42 years, 5 months, 8 days)
  • Sam Snead, 1954 (41 years, 10 months, 16 days)
  • Mark O'Meara, 1998 (41 years, 2 months, 3 days)
  • Ben Hogan, 1953 (40 years, 7 months, 30 days)

Nicklaus, Woods and Player show up on both lists — youngest and oldest Masters winners.