The Masters Tournament is only a few weeks away so it’s time to start thinking and talking about it. Always scheduled for the first full week in April (April 7-10, 2022), it is the Super Bowl of Professional Golf and the first major tournament of the year (There are three others). However, unlike the remaining three, it always IS held at the same location, Augusta National Golf Club, a private club located in the city of Augusta, Georgia.
The Masters is an iconic golf event, first played 88 years ago. It is steeped in history and tradition as well as full of excitement for both avid golf enthusiasts and cavalier fans alike. The tournament was started by amateur golf champion Bobby Jones and investment banker Clifford Roberts. After his Grand Slam in 1930, Jones acquired the property, a former plant nursery and co-designed Augusta National with course architect Alister MacKenzie. First played in 1934, the tournament is an official money event on the PGA Tour, the European Tour and the Japan Golf Tour. The field of players is smaller (90-100) than those of the other major championships because it is an invitational event, held by Augusta National Golf Club.
The Masters has many traditions, the “Green Jacket” arguably being the most coveted prize in all of professional golf. Since 1949, a green jacket has been awarded to the champion, who must return it to the clubhouse one year after his victory, although it remains his personal property and is stored with other champions’ jackets in a specially designated cloakroom at Augusta National. This green sport is the official attire worn by club members while on the grounds so if you have a green jacket, you’re either a member of one of the most prestigious golf clubs in the world or even better, a Masters champion. A golfer who wins the tournament several times uses the same green jacket awarded upon his initial win.
Other traditions include the Champions Dinner, which was started by Ben Hogan in 1952 and is held on the Tuesday before each tournament. It is only open to former champions and certain board members of the Augusta National Golf Club. Another tradition implemented in 1963, includes having one or more legendary champions hit an honorary tee shot on the morning of the first round to commence play. In 2021 Lee Elder, the first African American to take part in the Masters, joined Jack Nicklaus and Gary Player as the honorary starters. Tom Watson will join Nicklaus and Player starting in 2022, as Elder passed away in late 2021.
Since 1977, players have been allowed to bring their own caddies to the tournament. They are required to wear a uniform consisting of a white jumpsuit, a green Masters cap and white tennis shoes. The surname and sometimes a first initial of each player are on the back of his caddie’s uniform.
Who’s won the most Masters? Well, Jack Nicklaus remains the player with the most wins – six between 1963 and 1986. Tiger Woods has five wins and was the youngest champion at age 21. He is followed by Arnold Palmer with four, and Jimmy Demaret, Gary Player, Sam Snead, Nick Faldo and Phil Mickelson who have three titles to their name. Two-time champions include Byron Nelson, Ben Hogan, Tom Watson, Seve Ballesteros, Bernard Langer, Ben Crenshaw, Jose Maria Olazabal and Bubba Watson.
So, what golfer doesn’t want to go to the Masters? If you do, you should be planning for 2023 now. Although tickets are not expensive, they are very difficult to come by. Even the practice rounds can be hard to get into. Applications for practice round tickets must be made nearly a year in advance and the successful applicants are chosen by random ballot. Tickets to the actual tournament are sold only to members of a patrons list, which is closed so it looks like most of us will have to watch it on TV. CBS has been broadcasting the tournament since 1956, and you can also catch it on ESPN.
I’m looking forward to watching the Masters, and I hope you are too. It’s just one of those special sporting events with a long history and following. I’m Mary from Q. Contrary. Check out my shop in Phoenix at 3168 East Camelback Road or visit my online store. I carry some great golf wear from Greyson Clothiers and TravisMathew. I’d love to help you select some new items for your golf wardrobe.