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The History of the Masters Golf Tournament: a Traditional Event


Founded in March of 1934 by the legendary Bobby Jones and Clifford Roberts, the history of the Masters Golf Tournament suggests that it is one of, if not the most, prestigious competitions in the game of golf. Originally titled, “Augusta National Invitation Tournament”; the competition sought out the most accomplished players around the country. Four years after its inauguration and continued escalation of popularity, Bobby Jones reluctantly agreed to change the name of the competition to its current title, The Masters, or US Masters as it is referred to outside of the United States.

The first tournament was played on a 365 acre course in Augusta, Georgia, originally farm land covered with flowering plants and trees until purchased by Bobby Jones in 1931. Since its inception, the Augusta National Golf Course, often referred to as the envy of all golf courses, has been home to the Masters Golf Tournament. The event is always held during the first full week of April each year. In all history of the Masters Golf Tournament, it has been held for a consecutive 72 years, not including the 3 years that the competition was cancelled due to World War II.

Throughout its history, the Masters has been recognized as an extremely privileged event. The founders thought that the tournament should be a competition where only players and their caddies be allowed access to the playing areas. The Masters is still renowned for its high expectations of audience etiquette, where it is custom that attendees are referred to as patrons as opposed to spectators. For most of the history of the Masters Golf Tournament, being in attendance has been as much a challenge as playing in and winning the actual competition. The event is known for long waiting lists to receive Practice Round tickets and these infamous waiting lists are often closed for years at a time.

Many traditions in the history of the Masters Golf Tournament’s high-status competition have been kept over the years, including the traditional presentation of the “Green Jacket”. Winners of the Masters Golf Tournament are presented with a shamrock green jacket as a symbol of membership in the Augusta National Golf Club. Tradition requires that the jacket is returned after one year and the champion is allowed to wear it while on the campus grounds. Gary Player, the South African professional golfer who won the Masters Golf Tournament for the first time in 1961, and then again in 1974 and 1978, never returned his jacket. Other famous winners in the history of the Masters Golf Tournament include four time winner, Arnold Palmer, six time winner, Jack Nicklaus, and Tiger Woods, who won for the first time at the record youngest age of 21.

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