Masters Week A Tradition Continues


When a legend in golf decides to build a golf course to suit his winter play you know that the course will be nothing less than spectacular. Golfer Bobby Jones and his friend Clifford Roberts persuaded Scottish architect Alister MacKenzie in 1930 to design what would become Augusta National in Augusta, GA. The 365 acre property was covered with a variety of flowering plants and trees, including magnolias and azaleas since it was once a nursery in the mid 1800s. As Jones looked out on the property from what is now the practice putting green he exclaimed, Perfect! And to think this ground has been lying here all these years waiting for someone to come along and lay a golf course on it.
The first round of play happened in December 1932. Soon after the opening, suggestions of holding the U.S. Open at the course arouse. Jones and Roberts decided that having a tournament of their own would be a much better idea. The tournament was named the Augusta National Invitation Tournament until 1939 when Jones finally relented and went with the name he initially found too presumptuous, The Masters Tournament.
Since 1934 The Masters Tournament has been played every year expect for the three years of 1943, 1944, and 1945 which were during the war. With every American helping the war effort in their own way, Augusta National assisted by raising cattle and turkeys on the grounds of the course. The Masters is played each year during the first week of April and is known in sports as being the toughest spectator ticket to obtain. Tournament Badges (Thursday through Sunday) were sold to those on a patron list, which was closed due to high demand in 1972. A waiting list was opened soon after but closed in 1978 and was reopened for a short time in 2000. With such an illustrious field of competitors it is no wonder why tickets are so hard to obtain. Champions make their mark here by winning the prestigious event, but only a few are repeat offenders. Jack Nicklaus won six times and Arnold Palmer won four times during their careers. Will Tiger with three wins under his belt match these barons of golf?
The tradition of the Green Jacket started in 1937 when the members of the club were urged to buy and wear them during the Masters Tournaments so patrons could ask questions. In 1949 the first Green Jacket was awarded to Sam Sneed who won the tournament that year. Since then, the champion is awarded a Jacket to wear at home for one year. Upon coming back to next years tournament the Jacket is stored at the Club and will be available for use when the champion visits. Only three players have ever won consecutive Masters, Jack Nicklaus (1965-66), Nick Faldo (1989-90) and Tiger Woods (2001-2002). They were awarded the same Green Jacket they returned to the club a week earlier.
The Golf Channel will be providing updates, player interviews and expert analysis throughout the week as we see who will win the next green jacket. Join us April 4-10, 2005 as we await the next Masters Champion!