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It’s not uncommon for many professional golfers to skip events the week before a major. For others, it’s never an issue teeing it up with a major championship approaching.
But how often do players follow a win with another, on an even bigger stage?
Jordan Spieth attempts to join that small fraternity at this week’s Masters and become just the fifth golfer to win at Augusta National Golf Club in Georgia after winning the PGA Tour event that preceded the major championship.
Only two golfers have done it since 1960, and it’s been 15 years since anyone pulled it off. Special thanks to stats guru @JustinRayGolf for the info.
The Augusta Chronicle contributed this article.
Ralph Guldahl in 1939
Ralph Guldahl won the 1937 and 1938 U.S. Opens as well as the 1939 Masters. (Photo: Associated Press)
In 1939, Ralph Guldahl won in Greensboro before heading to Augusta to claim the green jacket. Guldahl finished second each of the two years prior, finishing behind Byron Nelson and then Henry Picard. In 1939, Guldahl shot 3-under 33 on the final nine holes to win by a stroke. His total of 279 would not be eclipsed until 1953.
Art Wall Jr. in 1959
Art Wall Jr. (right), serving as the defending champion, presents Arnold Palmer the winner's plaque at the award ceremony after the 1960 Masters at Augusta National Golf Club (Augusta National/Getty Images)
Art Wall Jr. went into the Masters fresh off a victory in the 1959 Azalea Open. He then went on to win at Augusta. Wall started the final round six shots back but birdied five of the last six holes to claim the green jacket. It was the only victory during the years of 1958 to 1966 not by one of the members of the Big Three: Jack Nicklaus, Arnold Palmer and Gary Player.
Sandy Lyle in 1988
Sandy Lyle puts on his green jacket at Augusta National Golf Club after winning the 1988 Masters. (Phil Sandlin/Associated Press)
It took someone 20 years to repeat Ralph Guldahl's feat. It was then 29 years after that for a third golfer to turn the trick. In 1988, after a double bogey on the famed 12th hole, things weren't looking good for Sandy Lyle to join the group. He also failed to birdie either of the back-nine par 5s that day. But on 18, Lyle, who won at Greensboro the week before, flushed a 7-iron out of the deep fairway bunker to set up a birdie that made him the first Masters champ from the U.K.
Phil Mickelson in 2006
Phil Mickelson with his wife, Amy, son Evan, left, and daughter Sophia after winning the BellSouth Classic golf tournament Sunday, April 2, 2006 in Duluth, Georgia. (John Bazemore/Associated Press)
Phil Mickelson won the 2006 BellSouth Classic, in which he finished with a 28-under 260 to set a tournament record and personal best. It was also one stroke shy of the best 72-hole total for a par-72 course in PGA Tour history. Mickelson then drove two hours east to Augusta, where he earned his second Masters victory, his third major title in his previous nine opportunities. It was also his second major in a row after winning the PGA Championship eight months prior. Before winning the 2004 Masters, Mickelson had been winless in 46 majors. "Three of nine; that sounds better, doesn't it?" he said.