The Most Important Round At The Masters

mastersThe Masters is a golf tournament where every round counts. The four rounds of bliss, joy, fear, and agony are in the dreams of every professional and amateur golfer. The Masters is not just any golf tournament, it is “A tradition like no other“! To win at The Masters and to walk away with the green jacket, it will take four rounds of steady and almost flawless!

During all professional events, there is always that one round where the champion dominates and catapults themselves to the top of the leaderboard. Sometimes, it happens during the first round, other times it the last, but make no mistake, there is always that one round that is more important than the rest; or is there? By closely examining the scores of past Masters, is it possible that one round of golf will appear more important than the rest?

Before we look at the facts, I asked this exact question and this is what The Grateful Golfer Community had to say:

Moving day seems the round of choice for about half of the respondents. This choice is the one I would have chosen as well, but the real question is if the facts back up what people think?

Looking back 30 years, I examined the past champion’s scorecards to determine which round they shot the lowest. If there were multiple low rounds in some year, I included them in the list so the total number will be greater than 30. I thought it was important to include the multiple lower scores to make sure all the data was captured. Here is the results:

  • Round 1: 7 or 19%
  • Round 2: 12 or 32%
  • Round 3: 5 or 13%
  • Round 4: 13 or 35%

I also decided to sample the 18 Major wins of Jack Nicklaus. By comparing the two numbers, we can determine if there is a trend. Using the same methodology as above, there is how ‘The Golden Bear’ made out:

  • Round 1: 6 or 28%
  • Round 2: 5 or 24%
  • Round 3: 5 or 24%
  • Round 4: 5 or 24%

I did not see any correlation between the past Master Champions and Jack Nicklaus, but that is really not surprising. The past champions are different players with different playing styles and Jack Nicklaus is, well, the greatest golfer of all-time. So what is the point of my diatribe?

Statistics in golf can say anything. If used in isolation as above, the 2nd and 4th rounds are the most important at the Masters; If I use my poll, ‘moving day’ is most important; If I compare to Jack Nicklaus, no round is no better than the next. There are so many variables to consider other than just score, like weather, competition, equipment, etc, that reducing the most important round at The Masters to a single number is impossible.

After some contemplation, all the rounds are important. One round might place any the ‘would-be-champion’ in the mix of things, but rest assured, one round can definitely take a player out of contention. The Masters is an amazing tournament and I am looking forward to watching all four rounds in their entirety!

How about you?

I am a grateful golfer! See you on the links!


4 thoughts on “The Most Important Round At The Masters

  1. I also chose 3rd round in your poll. The facts are pretty interesting. The more I think about it, I almost want to change my answer to the first round. While you can’t win the tournament on day 1 and you don’t really need to go low, you can certainly lose the tournament on day 1.

    Would be interesting to see the stats for what round past champions shot their worse score. Sometimes not playing poorly and getting some breaks is all it takes to win a major, look at the 2013 US Open as example, Rose wins with a 281 (+1), all Phil had to do on Sunday was not play poorly (which he did).

    Another interesting fact, the Masters has had 5 wire to wire winners, the US Open 8, the PGA Championships 5 (if you count co leaders, 3 if not), and the British Open 7. It doesn’t happen very often, so while you need 4 solid rounds, you don’t necessarily need 4 great rounds.

    Liked by 1 person

    • Brewcee

      You analysis is great! I agree that playing consistent golf is the key to success at any Major. More examination of the past champions is a good idea….when I have more time and not on the golf course, haha. Thanks for adding to the discussion.



  2. Jim, you are spot on about that one bad round and out theory. In the last several decades of Masters tournaments there are far more examples of rounds gone bad, and while it’s unfortunate for the player, it makes for very compelling viewing. Norman’s collapse in 1996 and more recently Rory’s 80 in the last round in 2011 are specific examples that come to mind. One week to go!



    Liked by 1 person

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