|Dates||April 12–15, 1979|
|Course(s)||Augusta National Golf Club|
|Organized by||Augusta National Golf Club|
|Length||7,040 yards (6,437 m)|
|Field||72 players, 45 after cut|
|280 (−8), playoff|
Fuzzy Zoeller won his only Masters, the first of his two major titles, with a birdie on the second hole of a playoff with Ed Sneed and Tom Watson. Jack Nicklaus climbed up the leaderboard on Sunday with a 69 (−3), but bogeyed 17 to finish a stroke out of the playoff; Tom Kite had a double bogey at 16 for an even par 72 in the final round to finish fifth, three strokes back.
Second and third round leader Sneed seemed to have a commanding three-shot lead with only three holes to go, but bogeyed the final three holes to card a final round 76 (+4) and fell into the playoff. It was the debut of the sudden-death format at Augusta, adopted by the Masters in 1976. Its last playoff was nine years earlier in 1970, then a full 18-hole round on Monday.
The sudden-death playoff began on the tenth hole, a downhill par-4, where all three players missed birdie putts and parred. On the second hole, the par-4 11th, Sneed failed to hole a bunker shot and Watson a birdie putt, and then Zoeller made his from 6 feet (2 m) to win.
Zoeller, age 27, was the first to win the Masters in his initial attempt since Gene Sarazen in 1935, the second edition of the tournament. In his fifth season on tour, it was Zoeller's second win, the first came less than three months earlier at the Andy Williams-San Diego Open Invitational. He won his other major five years later at the 1984 U.S. Open, also in a playoff.
The second round was suspended for two hours Friday afternoon due to heavy rain and tornado warnings. Due to the delay, not all golfers were able to complete their second rounds on Friday and the cut line was not determined until these rounds were completed on Saturday morning. Normally scheduled to conclude on the second Sunday of April, this Masters was held a week later, as was 1984.
- 1. Masters champions
Tommy Aaron, Gay Brewer, Billy Casper, Charles Coody, Raymond Floyd (8,9,11,12), Doug Ford, Bob Goalby, Jack Nicklaus (3,4,8,9,11,12), Arnold Palmer, Gary Player (3,8,9,11), Sam Snead, Art Wall Jr., Tom Watson (3,8,9,10,11,12)
- George Archer, Jack Burke, Jr., Jimmy Demaret, Ralph Guldahl, Claude Harmon, Ben Hogan, Herman Keiser, Cary Middlecoff, Byron Nelson, Henry Picard, and Gene Sarazen did not play.
- The following categories only apply to Americans
- 2. U.S. Open champions (last five years)
- 3. The Open champions (last five years)
Johnny Miller (9)
- 4. PGA champions (last five years)
- John Mahaffey (10,11) withdrew because of injury.
- 5. 1978 U.S. Amateur semi-finalists
- John Fought forfeited his exemption by turning professional.
- 7. Members of the 1978 U.S. Eisenhower Trophy team
Jay Sigel (a)
- 8. Top 24 players and ties from the 1978 Masters Tournament
Wally Armstrong, Miller Barber, Andy Bean (9,10,11), Rod Funseth (11), Joe Inman (9), Don January (12), Tom Kite (11), Billy Kratzert (9), Gene Littler, Jerry McGee (12), Lindy Miller, Gil Morgan (10,11), Ed Sneed (12), Leonard Thompson, Tom Weiskopf (9,10)
- 9. Top 16 players and ties from the 1978 U.S. Open
- 10. Top eight players and ties from 1978 PGA Championship
- 11. Winners of PGA Tour events since the previous Masters
- 12. Members of the U.S. 1977 Ryder Cup team
- 13. Foreign invitations
Isao Aoki, Seve Ballesteros (8,9), Nick Faldo, David Graham (8), Graham Marsh (10), Peter McEvoy (6,a), Jack Newton (11), Peter Oosterhuis (8), Simon Owen, Masashi Ozaki, Victor Regalado (11), Bob Shearer (9)
- Numbers in brackets indicate categories that the player would have qualified under had they been American.
Nationalities in the field
|North America (60)||South America (0)||Europe (4)||Oceania (5)||Asia (2)||Africa (1)|
|Mexico (1)||England (3)||Australia (4)||Japan (2)||South Africa (1)|
|United States (59)||Spain (1)||New Zealand (1)|
Past champions in the field
Made the cut
|Player||Country||Year(s) won||R1||R2||R3||R4||Total||To par||Finish|
|Tom Watson||United States||1977||68||71||70||71||280||−8||T2|
|Jack Nicklaus||United States||1963, 1965,
1966, 1972, 1975
|Raymond Floyd||United States||1976||70||68||73||77||288||E||T17|
|Gary Player||South Africa||1961, 1974, 1978||71||72||74||71||288||E||T17|
|Tommy Aaron||United States||1973||72||73||76||70||291||+3||T28|
|Charles Coody||United States||1971||71||72||74||76||293||+5||T34|
|Billy Casper||United States||1970||69||75||80||75||299||+11||43|
Missed the cut
|Player||Country||Year(s) won||R1||R2||Total||To par|
|Arnold Palmer||United States||1958, 1960,
|Sam Snead||United States||1949, 1952, 1954||74||74||148||+4|
|Art Wall Jr.||United States||1959||74||75||149||+5|
|Gay Brewer||United States||1967||75||75||150||+6|
|Bob Goalby||United States||1968||79||81||160||+16|
|Doug Ford||United States||1957||77||WD|
Thursday, April 12, 1979
|1||Bruce Lietzke||United States||67||−5|
|T2||Tom Watson||United States||68||−4|
|Joe Inman||United States|
|Leonard Thompson||United States|
|Ed Sneed||United States|
|T6||Craig Stadler||United States||69||−3|
|Jack Nicklaus||United States|
|Lou Graham||United States|
|Billy Casper||United States|
|Andy Bean||United States|
Friday, April 13, 1979
Saturday, April 14, 1979
|T1||Ed Sneed||United States||68-67=135||−9|
|Craig Stadler||United States||69-66=135|
|T3||Raymond Floyd||United States||70-68=138||−6|
|Leonard Thompson||United States||68-70=138|
|T5||Miller Barber||United States||75-64=139||−5|
|Tom Watson||United States||68-71=139|
|Joe Inman||United States||68-71=139|
|Jack Nicklaus||United States||69-71=140|
|Lou Graham||United States||69-71=140|
|Lindy Miller||United States||73-67=140|
Saturday, April 14, 1979
|1||Ed Sneed||United States||68-67-69=204||−12|
|T2||Tom Watson||United States||68-71-70=209||−7|
|Craig Stadler||United States||69-66-74=209|
|T4||Bruce Lietzke||United States||67-75-68=210||−6|
|Fuzzy Zoeller||United States||70-71-69=210|
|T6||Tom Kite||United States||71-72-68=211||−5|
|Miller Barber||United States||75-64-72=211|
|Raymond Floyd||United States||70-68-73=211|
|Leonard Thompson||United States||68-70-73=211|
Sunday, April 15, 1979
|Place||Player||Country||Score||To par||Money ($)|
|T1||Fuzzy Zoeller||United States||70-71-69-70=280||−8||Playoff|
|Tom Watson||United States||68-71-70-71=280|
|Ed Sneed||United States||68-67-69-76=280|
|4||Jack Nicklaus||United States||69-71-72-69=281||−7||15,000|
|5||Tom Kite||United States||71-72-68-72=283||−5||13,000|
|6||Bruce Lietzke||United States||67-75-68-74=284||−4||11,500|
|T7||Craig Stadler||United States||69-66-74-76=285||−3||9,000|
|Leonard Thompson||United States||68-70-73-74=285|
|Lanny Wadkins||United States||73-69-70-73=285|
|T10||Hubert Green||United States||74-69-72-71=286||−2||6,500|
|Gene Littler||United States||74-71-69-72=286|
Cumulative tournament scores, relative to par
|Place||Player||Country||Score||To par||Money ($)|
|1||Fuzzy Zoeller||United States||4-3||−1||50,000|
|T2||Ed Sneed||United States||4-x||30,000|
|Tom Watson||United States||4-4|
- Sudden-death playoff began on hole #10 and ended at hole #11, when Zoeller birdied.
- "Masters scores (final)". Youngstown Vindicator. Associated Press. April 16, 1979. p. 16.
- "Sneed's collapse gives Zoeller win". Eugene Register-Guard. wire services. April 16, 1979. p. 1B.
- "Zoeller is surprise winner following Masters playoff". Youngstown Vindicator. Associated Press. April 16, 1979. p. 16.
- "Masters playoff format is changed". CNN.com. April 7, 2004. Retrieved January 7, 2013.
- Jenkins, Dan (April 23, 1979). "Fuzzy came in loud and clear". Sports Illustrated: 30. Retrieved August 11, 2011.
- "1979 Masters". databasegolf.com. Retrieved June 25, 2012.
- Masters.com – Past winners and results
- About.com - 1979 Masters
- Augusta.com – 1979 Masters leaderboard and scorecards