2019 Edition of The Masters
While the PGA Tour season is in full swing, The Masters serves as the unofficial start of the golf season for many people around the United States. On the eve of the first major of the year, let’s take a look at a preview for the current tournament, as well as some history and trivia about Augusta National and The Masters tournament.
Known for its exclusivity and strict adherence to their code of conduct and rules of etiquette, Augusta is a fresh breath of air from the other tournaments on the PGA schedule. You won’t hear people yelling dumb taglines after players hit their shots, nor will you see sponsor advertisements plastered all over the grounds or a sea of camera phones in the crowd.
Players and fans alike pine for their opportunity to visit these hallowed grounds. Augusta is spoken about with a reverence often reserved for famous dignitaries and natural wonders of the world. Tickets are alotted through a lottery, and for the lucky few each year who get a ticket, the experience is for the diehard golf fan who truly loves the game.
Trivia #1 (Answers at the end!): What other major golf tournament has been played at Augusta National?
Bobby Jones and Clifford Roberts founded Augusta National on the site of a former nursery and enlisted Alister MacKenzie to design the layout. Over the years, some of the names of the holes have evolved and the course has been re-designed and lengthened numerous times to accomodate the advancements in equipment.
Home to features like Amen Corner, Ike’s Pond, Rae’s Creek, the Eisenhower Tree and “The Big Oak Tree”, Augusta is steeped in golf history. Each hole is still named after a tree or shrub.
- 1. Tea Olive Par 4 – 445 yards
- 2. Pink Dogwood Par 5 – 575 yards
- 3. Flowering Peach Par 4 – 350 yards
- 4. Flowering Crab Apple Par 3 – 240 yards
- 5. Magnolia Par 4 – 495 yards
- 6. Juniper Par 3 – 180 yards
- 7. Pampas Par 4 – 450 yards
- 8. Yellow Jasmine Par 5 – 570 yards
- 9. Carolina Cherry Par 4 – 460 yards
- 10. Camellia Par 4 – 495 yards
- 11. White Dogwood Par 4 – 505 yards
- 12. Golden Bell Par 3 – 155 yards
- 13. Azalea Par 5 – 510 yards
- 14. Chinese Fir Par 4 – 440 yards
- 15. Firethorn Par 5 – 530 yards
- 16. Redbud Par 3 – 170 yards
- 17. Nandina Par 4 – 440 yards
- 18. Holly Par 4 – 455 yards
Trivia #2: Who was the first non-American to win The Masters and in what year did he win?
The Masters is an invitation only tournament and this year’s field is 87 players, consisting of professionals from around the world, former Masters winners and six very lucky (albeit, ultra-talented) amateurs.
- Opened: 1934
- Founders: Bobby Jones & Clifford Roberts
- Course Architect: Alister MacKenzie
- Par 72
- 7475 Yards
- Location: Augusta, GA
- Tournament Record: 270 (Woods & Spieth)
- Course Record: 63 (Price & Norman)
- Slope: 148 Rating: 76.2
- First Green Jacked Awarded: 1949
- Rory McIlroy 8/1
- Dustin Johnson 11/1
- Justin Rose 14/1
- Rickie Fowler 15/1
- Jordan Spieth 16/1
- Tiger Woods 16/1
- Brooks Koepka 20/1
- Francesco Molinari 20/1
- Jon Rahm 20/1
- Justin Thomas 20/1
- 2018: Patrick Reed
- 2017: Sergio Garcia
- 2016: Danny Willett
- 2015: Jordan Spieth
- 2014: Bubba Watson
- 2013: Adam Scott
- 2012: Bubba Watson
- 2011: Charl Schwartzel
- 2010: Phil Mickelson
- 2009: Ángel Cabrera
Trivia #3: Three bridges are named for past champions, who are the bridges named for and on what holes are they located?
Without a doubt, players want to win The Masters more than almost any other tournament, and for some, this is the biggest tournament of their career. The difficulty of the course and prestige of the field is juxtaposed against the beauty of the grounds making Augusta National and The Masters a truly special expereince for all, no matter how many times someone’s been there.
Re-live some of the greatest shots and moments, as well as some of the biggest, most heart-breaking performances in the history of The Masters.
Trivia #4: Who were the youngest and oldest Masters champions and how old were they when they when they won?
The Par-3 Contest
Since 1960, players have competed in a Par-3 contest on the Wednesday preceding the start of The Masters. This is a time when they bring a family member along to caddie for them and the mood is typically lighthearted.
It is well documented that no player has ever won the Par-3 contest the same year as winning The Masters tournament. However, many people may not know that Vijay Singh and Ben Crenshaw are the only two players who have won The Masters AFTER winning the Par-3 contest.
Hole in ones are not uncommon in the event. In fact, in 2016, Justin Thomas and Rickie Fowler made back-to-back hole in ones, but two others in particular from the 2018 contest stand out.
While caddying for his grandfather, Jack Nicklaus, and with fellow legends of the game Gary Player and Tom Watson looking on, G.T. Nicklaus stepped up on the 9th tee and played it perfectly. His ball landed above the hole and spun back down the hill, taking the slope and rolling in the cup as if he had hit a dead-weight putt. The six-time Masters winner would later go on to say that was his fondest memory at Augusta.
The other ace that jumps out (pun intended) is Tony Finau’s ace on the 8th hole during the same 2018 Par-3 contest. After holing out the shot, Finau started running and jumping down towards the hole, engaging with the crowd.
Unfortunately, he made one misstep and came down awkwardly on his ankle, dislocating it. But, Tony is a tough man, and he popped it back into place on the spot, finished up the Par-3 contest and took 10th in the 2018 tournament.
Good-hearted to the end, this year, Nike and Finau developed an elaborate April Fool’s joke in the form of a high ankle booted golf shoe. Finau won’t wear them during The Masters, but did not rule out wearing them at some point.
Trivia 5: What was the original name of The Masters Tournament?
Things don’t always work out how people planned it. In 1956, the most unorthodox player of all time, Moe Norman, earned an invitation to The Masters as an amateur. He’s famous for his single plane swing, but the Canadian-born Norman was also a prolific ball striker and won over 50 tournaments in his native Canada.
While the stories of Norman at Augusta are wildly varying, from sleeping in bunkers and on benches, to possibly hitting tee shots off of coke bottles, Norman’s legend is undeniable. One confirmed story revolves around a tip Sam Snead gave to Norman at the range following the second round. Snead commented that Moe was coming down too steeply on his long irons and that he should sweep them more like a fairway wood.
Norman recounted hitting some 800 balls at the range that evening and much to the consternation of Augusta officials and fans alike he was forced to withdraw from the tournament the next day due to his hands hurting so badly from all the practice the night before. He returned again in 1957, but failed to make the cut and did not
The Future of Augusta
There have been two faces to Augusta National throughout history. On the one side, it has been an uber-elite club that stands for all the things that make golf great. On the other side, the exclusion of African Americans and women from membership has, especially through the lens of the current social climate, marred a bit of the prestige that surrounds the club.
It is safe to say, the future looks bright. In recent years, Condoleezza Rice has been granted membership, the Drive, Chip, & Putt finals for junior golfers was established and is held at Augusta every year, and this year marked the first time a women’s competition was held at the course.
Right or wrong, it is important to temper our judgements surrounding the history of the course and club, and understand we look at things through a current perspective. That said, it is encouraging to see a once unbudging club begin to show progress. It will only help to grow the game!
- Answer #1: 1937 PGA Seniors’ Championship
- Answer #2: Gary Player – 1961
- Answer #3:
- Sarazen Bridge: Hole 15 – honoring Gene’s albatross on #15 in 1935
- Nelson Bridge: Hole 13 tee – honoring Byron’s performance on #12 and #13 and win in 1937
- Hogan Bridge: Hole 12 green – honoring Ben’s (at the time) record setting score of 274 in 1953
- Answer #4:
- Youngest: Tiger Woods – 1997 – 21 years, 3 months, 14 days
- Oldest: Jack Nicklaus – 1986 – 46 years, 2 months, 23 days
- Answer #5: Augusta National Invitation Tournament
Enjoy The Masters!
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