This Day in Sports History: Horton Smith Wins First Masters Tournament

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Decades before Tiger Woods and Phil Mickelson were competing for green jackets, Horton Smith won the first Masters at Augusta National on March 25, 1934.

Smith's victory came without the fanfare and major payday that accompanies the four days in April we know today. He took home $1,500 for winning the tournament, which was originally known as the "Augusta National Invitational." But despite the lack of cameras and reporters on the scene in Augusta, the final holes were full of drama. 

Smith never held more than a one-shot lead at the conclusion of each round despite his wire-to-wire finish. The Springfield, Mo., native led Billy Burke by one stroke with 18 holes remaining, though he approached the 71st hole tied with eventual runner-up Craig Wood. Smith clinched the tournament on the 17th hole, sinking a 20-foot putt to take a one-stroke lead. At a four-under 271 after four rounds, Smith etched his name into Masters history. 

The 1934 Masters wasn't Smith's last major victory. He also won the 1936 Masters, one of his 32 PGA Tour victories. Smith did not win the U.S. Open, Open Championship or PGA Championship in his career. He was elected to the World Golf Hall-of-Fame in 1990. 

Smith is one of 17 players to ever win multiple Masters Tournaments. Jack Nicklaus has the most Masters victories, and eight players have won the tournament three or more times. Tiger Woods is the active leader in Masters wins after earning his fifth victory in 2019

Byron Nelson joined Smith as the second multi-Masters winner in 1942. The tournament trophy remained in American hands until 1961, when South African Gary Player won the first of his three Green Jackets. Players from 14 different countries have won The Masters.