The Masters – Augusta National’s Historic Tournament!


The 79th edition of the Masters Tournament begins this year on April 6, with practice rounds the 6th, 7th, and 8th, and the final rounds April 9 – 12.

The first tournament was held March 22, 1934, and beginning in 1940, the date was changed to the first full week in April.

Every year, the Masters brings the world’s top golfers together in Augusta, Georgia, to play on one of the world’s finest golf courses. As we mentioned in our story about East Lake Golf Club, Bobby Jones was one of the founders of Augusta National Golf Club.

public domain via wikimedia commons

Along with Clifford Roberts, he purchased the land, helped design the course, and worked tirelessly to promote and improve the course and the tournament. It was originally called the Augusta National Invitation Tournament because Jones thought The Masters Tournament was too pretentious. In 1939, he finally agreed that it could be called the Masters.

Although Alexa Stirling-Fraser was Bobby Jones’ childhood golfing partner and a champion in her own right, women were not allowed to be members at Augusta until 2012. Stirling-Fraser died in 1977 and was inducted into the Georgia Golf Hall of Fame in 1989. Black members fared a little better – they were first admitted in 1990.

Augusta National is a private invitation-only membership club, and the Masters is an Invitational Tournament, meaning participants must be invited. However, certain criteria, including which tournaments participants play in and win, determine who gets an invitation.

Previous Masters winners read like a Who’s Who of Golf: Gary Player, Nick Faldo, Tom Watson, Tiger Woods, Arnold Palmer, Phil Mickelson, Bubba Watson, Vijay Singh, and on and on.

by pocketwiley via wikimedia commons

Even if you’re not a golfer, you’ve heard those names. And this year, at least two of them are included in “informational” stories about the tournament.

After a couple of months off, Tiger Woods (4-time Masters winner: 1997, 2001, 2002, and 2005) says he’s ready to play in this year’s Masters. And Arnold Palmer (4-time winner: 1958, 1960, 1962, and 1964) says he’ll be there with Jack Nicklaus (6-time winner: 1963, 1965, 1966, 1972, 1975, 1986), hitting his ceremonial opening tee shot in spite of a dislocated shoulder.

By gomattolson via Wikimedia Commons

If you don’t have your tickets yet, you might check online. StubHub lists a few tickets available for this year’s play. Some practice round tickets may be purchased for less than $300, but if you want a ticket to Wednesday’s round, you’ll pay about $800. And if you want a weekly badge, you’ll shell out nearly $9,000. Daily competition tickets run more than $1500.

So maybe, like me, you’ll just watch the updates on the evening news, or follow ESPN’s coverage if you’re more dedicated.

Whatever you choose, you’re sure to hear about the Masters. And if you’re in Augusta this week, you might run into some of the famous golfers and their fans!

Next: East Lake Golf Club, Another Atlanta Treasure

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