Mark Francis O'Meara is an American professional golfer. He was a 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 Ranking from their debut in 1986 to 2000. He was inducted into the World Golf Hall of Fame in 2015.
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, and the AT&T Pebble Beach National Pro-Am five times. His best year as a professional golfer came relatively late in his career – in 1998 at age 41 – when he won two majors: The Masters and the British Open. O'Meara's victory in The Masters came during his 15th attempt. 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 reached a career best of second in the Official World Golf Ranking.
O'Meara is known for competing outside the United States more often than most leading American golfers, and has won tournaments in Europe, Asia, Australia and South America. A man with a genial demeanor, he is one of the most popular figures in international golf. In the new millennium his form took a downturn and he began to struggle with injuries, but in 2004 he won an official tour event for the first time since 1998, taking the Dubai Desert Classic title, which despite being played in the Middle East is a European Tour event.
After the European Tour tournament Lancome Trophy at Golf de Saint-Nom-la-Bretèche, 30 km west of Paris, France in September 1997, which was won by O'Meara, he was involved in a controversy. Runner-up was Jarmo Sandelin of Sweden. A television viewer in Sweden observed that, on the 15th green in the final round, O'Meara, facing a two and a half foot putt, had replaced his ball half an inch closer to the hole than had been indicated by his marker. Sandelin wrote to O'Meara in March 1998, sent a video recording of the incident and asked for an explanation. O'Meara insisted he had not intended to gain any advantage and sought advice from the PGA and European Tours, who informed him that the tournament was over and the result stood. Sandelin went public with the story and demanded that O'Meara should hand back the trophy and the prize money. O'Meara admitted in April 1998, he may, without intention, have broken the rules of golf on his way to winning the 1997 Lancome Trophy.