Mark O’Meara was born on this day in 1957. An American professional golfer who was a prolific tournament winner on the PGA Tour and around the world from the mid 1980s to the late 1990s. He spent nearly 200 weeks in the top-10 of the Official World Golf Rankings from their debut in 1986 to 2000.
O’Meara was born in Goldsboro, North Carolina, but grew up in southern California in Mission Viejo. He took up golf at age 13, sneaking on to the nearby Mission Viejo Country Club. O’Meara later became an employee of the club and played on his high school golf team. He was an All-American at Long Beach State, and won the US Amateur in 1979, defeating John Cook. He also won the California State Amateur Championship that year. After graduating with a degree in marketing in 1980, O’Meara turned professional and would win 16 events on the PGA Tour, beginning with the Greater Milwaukee Open in 1984. He won the AT&T Pebble Beach National Pro-Am five times, but he passed his 41st birthday in January 1998 without having won a major championship as a professional.
In a late finale to his PGA Tour winning career, O’Meara won two majors in 1998, The Masters and the British Open. O’Meara’s victory in the The Masters came at his 15th attempt, which is still a record. O’Meara attributed this resurgence partly to the inspiration of working with Tiger Woods, the new superstar of the game at the time, with whom O’Meara had become good friends. In the same year he won the Cisco World Match Play Championship and he reached a career best of second in the Official World Golf Rankings.
In 2007, O’Meara began play on the Champions Tour; he had many top-10 finishes in his first three seasons including several runner-up finishes, but no wins. In 2010, he broke through with a win in the Liberty Mutual Legends of Golf with Nick Price, followed by his first senior major victory in the Constellation Energy Senior Players Championship. O’Meara has been sidelined by a rib injury since April 2012, missing the 2012 Masters Tournament, the 2012 Open Championship, and Champions Tour events.