Gary Player became the first foreigner to win, but this Masters will always be remembered for the shot Arnold Palmer would just as soon forget.
Player came in with no shortage of confidence. Only 25, he was already making his fifth trip to Augusta. "The Lord wants me to win," he told a friend early in the week. After three rounds he was looking good with a four-stroke lead, but on Sunday he shot 40 on the back nine. That opened the door for Palmer, who was seeking a second straight green jacket. He needed a par to win, but his approach to 18 found a bunker. Then it happened: Arnie skulled his sand shot over the green and into the gallery. Three shots later Palmer had a double bogey. "I thought 6s were for other people," he said later.
Who's in First?
It was the most topsy-turvy Masters ever: 17 players—a record—held or shared the lead, and it was not decided until Monday, when a 26-year-old Jack Nicklaus won an 18-hole playoff with Tommy Jacobs and Gay Brewer, becoming the first person to win back-to-back titles at Augusta.
Arnold Palmer called it the most unusual Masters he had ever seen. Some of the oddities: At the par-3 12th, Gary Player, with his ball so buried in mud he could not see it, skulled a wedge that hit the flagstick and dropped in for a birdie. Palmer was bunkered behind the 13th green, his ball near a rock. Scared, he swung so gently, he nearly whiffed. On Sunday, Nicklaus did the unthinkable: He missed a three-footer for birdie at 17 that would have locked up the tournament in regulation.
Charles Coody beat Jack Nicklaus and Johnny Miller by two strokes, but bigger news was made by Clifford Roberts, who for the first time responded to questions about the lack of any black players. Rose Elder then wrote the tournament's chairman: "You stated, 'blacks often furnish the greatest of athletes in football, baseball, basketball.... Think how much it would help our TV rating if we had a Willie Mays in the Masters.' Mr. Roberts...there are potential Willie Mays golfers available.... Masters prize money should not be official if there are restrictions."
Two months later the Masters decided to invite all winners of Tour events, and in 1975 Rose's husband, Lee, became the first African-American to play in the Masters, based on his win in the '74 Monsanto Open.