The Masters is one of the four golfing majors of the season and is a prestigious golfing event for male professional golfers held annually at the Augusta National Golf Club in Georgia, USA. The Masters is an internationally well-known event and with the famous green jacket as a prize, winning the Masters is seen as the pinnacle of any golfers career. 

The Masters has been played since 1934 which makes the tournament 86 years old however regarding the famous green jacket, many are unaware that this was only introduced as part of the prizes in 1949. Another prize that is not as widely known is the Champions Dinner. The Champions Dinner is held in the week of the Masters and the defending champion gets to choose what they want as their three course meal. Past champions such as Tiger Woods, who won his first Masters in 1997, came back in 1998 to his Champions Dinner consisting of cheeseburgers, chicken sandwiches, french fries and milkshakes. Only past Champions are invited to the dinner which is held on the Tuesday night prior to the tournament. 

Past winners of the Masters tournament include the late Arnold Palmer, Gary Player, Nick Faldo and Jack Nicklaus or otherwise known by his nickname, The Golden Bear. However one of the most famous wins at the Masters was in 2019, when Tiger Woods won his 5th Masters. His win has even been named the greatest comeback in sporting history as many thought it was impossible for Woods to ever compete again, let alone win a major tournament after having implications with his back and knees and having a total of eight surgeries altogether. Last year in 2019 the total payout for the Masters was $11.5 million, which was a record high sum and was split among an 87 person playing field.

Augusta National was established in 1932 and designed by Bobby Jones and Alister MacKenzie. Augusta is best known for its well-maintained immaculate appearance and beautiful flowers including azaleas and dogwoods, that bloom in time for Spring. Every hole on the course is named after a plant or flower that can be found on the golf course. In addition the spectators are not called fans but uniquely named as patrons. Furthermore when patrons save a seat on the course, no other patrons are allowed to move it or take the place if the occupant isn’t present. 

Some of the most famous golf holes in the world are at Augusta National, with a trio of holes, 11th, 12th and 13th named Amen Corner. Amen Corner is seen as some of the hardest consecutive holes on any course and have cost golfers the green jacket in years gone by. Amen Corner has produced exciting and memorable Masters moments. 

In 2013, Augusta National partnered with the USGA and the PGA of America to establish a unique and interesting opportunity for amateur boys and girls to show their golfing skills. The Drive, Chip and Putt tournament is held the week before the Masters and children aged from as young as 7 to the age of 15, are invited to participate in the event. With four age categories and two gender groups in each category, the youngsters complete practice range activities, competing against each other for the most points. The children also have the chance to meet professional golfers and ask for advice.
Before the 2018 Masters tournament, the Augusta chairman Fred Riley announced that Augusta National would be hosting a Women’s Amateur tournament. This competition was the usual four rounds of golf, with the first two rounds being held at the Champions Retreat Club in Evans, Georgia and the final two rounds held at Augusta. This event made a huge impact on women’s.  golf world wide and was inspiring for girl golfers alike.

First introduced in 1960, the Par 3 Competition is a fun competition played by the pros, who invite family members and friends to caddy for them. The competition is played on the Wednesday before the tournament and is held on the Par 3 nine hole course at Augusta National. No Par 3 contest winner has also won the Masters in the same year, which has become a regular superstition between players, with some even opting not to play in the competition for these reasons. 

This year’s favourites to win are Brooks Koepka, Rory McIlroy and defending champion Tiger Woods, with many hoping McIlroy will finally win his first Masters, receiving a green jacket and career grand slam. The 2020 Masters starts on Thursday 9th April and ends on 12th April however its important to keep an eye on the television a week before as the Drive, Chip and Putt, Women’s Amateur and many more Masters related programs will be aired. As an enthusiastic golfer myself I will certainly be watching. 

By Mercedes van Niekerk