|Dates||April 6–10, 1961|
|Course(s)||Augusta National Golf Club|
|Organized by||Augusta National Golf Club|
|Length||6,980 yards (6,383 m)|
|Field||88 players, 41 after cut|
Due to heavy rains and flooding of several greens, Sunday's final round was halted before 4 p.m. and the scores were erased, even though ten players had completed their rounds. Third round leader Gary Player was even par through eleven holes, and defending champion Arnold Palmer was two-under through nine. The entire round was replayed the next day.
In the final round on Monday, Player defeated Palmer and amateur Charles Coe by one stroke to become the first international champion at the Masters. Player made an up and down from the bunker on the final hole but thought he had lost the tournament, after carding a disappointing 40 (+4) on the back nine. In the final pairing with a one-shot lead, Palmer needed a par on the final hole for the win. From the fairway, his approach shot also landed in the bunker right of the green. With a poor lie, Palmer's bunker shot went past the hole and off the green and down a hillock. Using his putter from off the green, he failed to get the fourth shot close, then missed the 15-foot (4.5 m) bogey putt which would have forced a playoff.
It was the first of three green jackets for Player, age 25, and the second of his nine major titles. His other wins at Augusta came over a decade later in 1974 and 1978. Jack Nicklaus, 21, recorded the first of his 22 top-10 finishes at the Masters, his last as an amateur. He tied for seventh, but the low amateur honors went to Coe. Nicklaus regained the U.S. Amateur title in September at Pebble Beach and turned professional in November.
A field of 88 players entered the tournament and 41 of them made the cut at five-over-par (149).
Past champions in the field
Made the cut
|Player||Country||Year(s) won||R1||R2||R3||R4||Total||To par||Finish|
|Arnold Palmer||United States||1958, 1960||68||69||73||71||281||−7||T2|
|Jack Burke, Jr.||United States||1956||76||70||68||73||287||−1||T7|
|Sam Snead||United States||1949, 1952, 1954||74||73||69||73||289||+1||T15|
|Doug Ford||United States||1957||71||76||78||73||298||+10||T32|
|Ben Hogan||United States||1951, 1953||74||73||72||79||298||+10||T32|
|Byron Nelson||United States||1937, 1942||71||72||78||77||298||+10||T32|
Missed the cut
|Player||Country||Year(s) won||R1||R2||Total||To par|
|Cary Middlecoff||United States||1955||75||75||150||+6|
|Jimmy Demaret||United States||1940, 1947, 1950||75||78||153||+9|
|Gene Sarazen||United States||1935||79||77||156||+12|
|Claude Harmon||United States||1948||76||81||157||+13|
|Craig Wood||United States||1941||80||80||160||+16|
|Herman Keiser||United States||1946||81||81||162||+18|
|Horton Smith||United States||1934, 1936||86||83||169||+25|
Thursday, April 6, 1961
|T1||Arnold Palmer||United States||68||−4|
|Bob Rosburg||United States|
|3||Gary Player||South Africa||69||−3|
|4||Jack Nicklaus (a)||United States||70||−2|
|T5||Doug Ford||United States||71||−1|
|Paul Harney||United States|
|Byron Nelson||United States|
|Johnny Pott||United States|
|T9||Tommy Bolt||United States||72||E|
|Billy Casper||United States|
|Charles Coe (a)||United States|
|Jay Hebert||United States|
|Gene Littler||United States|
|Ken Venturi||United States|
Friday, April 7, 1961
|T1||Arnold Palmer||United States||68-69=137||−7|
|Gary Player||South Africa||69-68=137|
|3||Bob Rosburg||United States||68-73=141||−3|
|4||Don January||United States||74-68=142||−2|
|T5||Tommy Bolt||United States||72-71=143||−1|
|Walter Burkemo||United States||74-69=143|
|Charles Coe (a)||United States||72-71=143|
|Lionel Hebert||United States||74-69=143|
|Ted Kroll||United States||73-70=143|
|Byron Nelson||United States||71-72=143|
|Ken Venturi||United States||72-71=143|
Saturday, April 8, 1961
|1||Gary Player||South Africa||69-68-69=206||−10|
|2||Arnold Palmer||United States||68-69-73=210||−6|
|T3||Charles Coe (a)||United States||72-71-69=212||−4|
|Paul Harney||United States||71-73-68=212|
|5||Bill Collins||United States||74-72-67=213||−3|
|T6||Jack Burke Jr.||United States||76-70-68=214||−2|
|Don January||United States||74-68-72=214|
|Bob Rosburg||United States||68-73-73=214|
|T9||Ted Kroll||United States||73-70-72=215||−1|
|Jack Nicklaus (a)||United States||70-75-70=215|
|Doug Sanders||United States||76-71-68=215|
|Ken Venturi||United States||72-71-72=215|
Sunday, April 9, 1961
Monday, April 10, 1961
Play on Sunday was washed out due to heavy rain and wind shortly after 4 pm and all scores were erased; the final round was replayed on Monday. Although Player was the leader after 54 holes, he finished his round nearly an hour ahead of Palmer's double-bogey at the final hole.
|Place||Player||Country||Score||To par||Money ($)|
|1||Gary Player||South Africa||69-68-69-74=280||−8||20,000|
|T2||Charles Coe (a)||United States||72-71-69-69=281||−7||0|
|Arnold Palmer||United States||68-69-73-71=281||12,000|
|T4||Tommy Bolt||United States||72-71-74-68=285||−3||7,000|
|Don January||United States||74-68-72-71=285|
|6||Paul Harney||United States||71-73-68-74=286||−2||4,800|
|T7||Jack Burke, Jr.||United States||76-70-68-73=287||−1||3,200|
|Billy Casper||United States||72-77-69-69=287|
|Bill Collins||United States||74-72-67-74=287|
|Jack Nicklaus (a)||United States||70-75-70-72=287||0|
- (a) denotes amateur
Cumulative tournament scores, relative to par
Birdie Bogey Double bogey
- "Player, Palmer tie for Masters lead". Milwaukee Sentinel. Associated Press. April 8, 1961. p. 1-part 2.
- "Rain washes out Masters; finish today". Milwaukee Sentinel. Associated Press. April 10, 1961. p. 2-part 2.
- Bartlett, Charles (April 10, 1961). "Masters washed out by rain". Chicago Daily Tribune. p. 1, part 4.
- Bartlett, Charles (April 11, 1961). "Palmer flops on 18th, Player takes Masters". Chicago Daily Tribune. p. 1, part 3.
- "Player wins Masters (280)". Milwaukee Sentinel. Associated Press. April 11, 1961. p. 3-part 2.
- Bisher, Furman (April 11, 1961). "Palmer played it like a duffer". Miami News. p. 1C.
- Wright, Alfred (April 17, 1961). "A duel golfers will never forget". Sports Illustrated. p. 18.
- Gundelfinger, Phil (April 11, 1961). "Player wins as Palmer blows lead". Pittsburgh Post-Gazette. p. 1.
- "Second-round Masters golf scores". Pittsburgh Post-Gazette. April 8, 1961. p. 14.
- "Masters golf tourney scores". Youngstown Vindicator. (Ohio). Associated Press. April 8, 1961. p. 8.
- Bartlett, Charles (April 8, 1961). "Gary Player catches Palmer at 137". Chicago Daily Tribune. p. 1, part 5.
- Gundelfinger, Phil (April 7, 1961). "Palmer, Rosburg fire 68s, lead Masters". Pittsburgh Post-Gazette. p. 20.
- Bartlett, Charles (April 9, 1961). "Player pulls ahead of Palmer in Masters golf". Chicago Sunday Tribune. p. 1, part 2.
- Masters.com – Past winners and results
- About.com – 1961 Masters
- Augusta.com – 1961 Masters leaderboard and scorecards