The Masters Golf Tournament is one of the most prestigious sporting events in the entire world. Every year, tens of thousands of golfers, reporters, and fans to send upon Augusta, Georgia to watch and take part in the tournament.
Each year, the PGA Tour includes several important events, including the US Open, British Open, and PGA Championship. These events move to new locations each year and are very special, but there is only one Masters event among them, where golfers compete to win the title and don that green jacket.
With that said, some may wonder how the Masters got to be such a prestigious occurance, especially considering that it occurs each year in a small city in the state of Georgia. Today, we will unleash the history behind the tournament, so that you can learn more about its significance:
Created by a legend
The origins of golf have been debated for centuries. It is believed that the first form of the game was played back in 1297, but its origins may date 30 or 40 years prior to that. Whatever the case is, golf has established itself as one of the most recognizable games on the planet. People from all walks of life and generations love playing the sport, as it is viewed as a relaxing way to spend a morning or afternoon.
In fact, its popularity has gained so much that it has become one of the most popular sports to place wagers upon. The sports attracts traditional sports and esports online betting fans alike, as they explore bookies to place wagers upon various golf tournaments. This gives them an even greater interest and stake in the game than simply watching it on TV or in person.
While there are great golf tournaments every weekend, nothing draws the attention of fans more than the Masters. This is the crown jewel of the golf world and dates back to 1934 when golf legend Bobby Jones and partner Clifford Roberts held the first of what would become an annual event.
The plan to host this tournament was hatched in New York City, and it was at that time that Roberts named it the Masters Tournament. Jones did not agree with the name, wanting to call it the Augustine the National Invitational Tournament – the name that was used for the first five years of the tournament. However, by 1939, the championship took on its well-known name that we call it nowadays.
Steeped in tradition
The first winner of the Masters was Horton Smith, who pocketed $1500 as the winner. Many traditions were established related to the Masters in those early years. The first year, holes 10-18 were the first nine while 1-9 were the back nine. This was reversed a year later and has been the layout ever since.
Originally, just close associates of Jones played in the tournament, but very soon after its inception, he petitioned the USGA to include Augusta as part of the U.S. Open. This was initially denied, as golf executives were concerned about the hot temperatures in Georgia during the summer. When the tournament was moved to August, fears of hot summer days under the Georgia sun were removed, and this became a permanent member of the PGA Tour.
Three players dominating the event
There were many winners over the first 30 years, but three players dominated the event in the 60s and 70s – Arnold Palmer, Gary Player, and Jack Nicholas. The three won the event 11 times in their careers. Palmer was the one who set the precedent originally, winning in 58 and in 60. He then earned two more Masters titles, winning and 62 and 64.
His biggest rival was Jack Nicklaus, who took home his first green jacket in 1963. He would later win in 65, setting a then course record of 271, going 17 under par. Player became the first non-American to win the tournament in 1961, and would win two more titles, 1974, and 1978.
There was no one who dominated the tournament through the 1980s and 90s, but a young upstart wound up winning the title in 1997. Tiger Woods who became the youngest champion at age 21 broke the tournament record for the first time, delivering a 270, 18 under par. That record stood for 32 years.
Winning 15 majors, the player has won five Masters Tournaments in total, only being surpassed by Jack Nicklaus with one more Green Jacket.
What about that Green Jacket?
One of the most iconic parts about the Masters is that green jacket. Winners earn $11,500,000 in cash prizes, but it is that jacket that has become an iconic symbol of the event. How the jacket got its place is an interesting story.
Initially, all members were required to wear the green jacket while playing at the course. Since all participants were initial members, including some friends of Jones, they all own the jacket.
However, in 1949, the jacket officially became the price for the winner, as Sam Snead, not a member at the time, was awarded the first Masters green jacket. As a reward for winning the tournament, he was given the iconic symbol, which has been rewarded to champions ever since.