The Masters: Back-to-back winners at Augusta


Following his record-breaking triumph at Augusta last year, Jordan Spieth is seeking to become only the fourth man to win back-to-back green jackets at the Masters.

We take a look at the three previous successful title defences - achieved by Jack Nicklaus, Nick Faldo and Tiger Woods - before assessing the challenge awaiting Spieth this week.


JACK NICKLAUS - champion in 1965 and 1966 (also 1963, 1972, 1975 and 1986)

The second of the Golden Bear's six Masters triumphs in 1965 saw him set records for the biggest winning margin and lowest 72-hole total, while equalling the course record of 64, prompting tournament co-founder Bobby Jones to remark: "He plays a game with which I am not familiar."

Twelve months later, Nicklaus triumphed again at Augusta - but the manner of his victory could hardly have been more different.

In a Masters first, an 18-hole play-off was required to decide the champion after Nicklaus, who shot 76 in round two, Tommy Jacobs and Gay Brewer finished with level-par totals of 288.

The defending champion shot 70 on Monday to make history by retaining the green jacket, with Jacobs two back and Brewer carding a disappointing 78. However, Brewer went on to exorcise any demons by triumphing in the 1967 Masters.


NICK FALDO - champion in 1989 and 1990 (also 1996)

Six-time major champion Faldo will always be remembered for his sensational victory at Augusta in 1996, when he overturned a six-shot deficit in the final round to prevail by five strokes at the expense of a faltering Greg Norman.

Prior to that success, the most successful golfer England has produced claimed back-to-back Masters wins in 1989 and 1990 - prevailing in a play-off on each occasion.

After benefiting from Scott Hoch's infamous missed putt from two feet to claim his first green jacket, Faldo saw off veteran Raymond Floyd at the second extra hole the following year.

Faldo and Floyd had finished five shots clear of the field in 1990 at 10 under - and two subsequent pars proved enough for the former as his rival found water en route to a bogey at the 11th.


TIGER WOODS - champion in 2001 and 2002 (also 1997 and 2005)

Five years on from emerging as a global superstar with an astonishing 12-shot victory in the 1997 Masters, Woods joined the elite club of golfers to win successive editions of the tournament.

His victory in 2001 saw him complete an unprecedented 'Tiger Slam' and hold all four majors at once. In 2002, Woods began the final round level with Retief Goosen at 11 under, only for the South African to swiftly fall away with three bogeys over the front nine.

Woods' position at the top of the leaderboard was barely threatened thereafter as he completed a 71 to prevail by three strokes and earn his seventh major title at the age of 26. He would go on to win the Masters again in 2005.



Spieth boasts an exceptional record at Augusta, having finished second and first in his two previous appearances, and saved much of his best golf for the majors in 2015 - following up his Masters success with victory at the U.S. Open and strong challenges for The Open and US PGA Championship.

However, the 22-year-old has not found top form in the lead-up to this year's tournament and returns to Georgia having lost his number-one ranking to the irrepressible Jason Day, a winner in six of his last 13 starts, including the last two.

Day, the US PGA champion and twice a top-three finisher at Augusta, certainly shapes as the biggest threat to Spieth's hopes of defending his title, but a strong case can be made for several players when it comes to assessing who will prevail this week.

Bubba Watson, Adam Scott and Charl Schwartzel have all claimed green jackets in the recent past and tasted PGA Tour success in 2016, while a change in putting technique has boosted the confidence of Rory McIlroy, who is seeking to complete a career Grand Slam and erase memories of his final-round collapse five years ago.