Welcome to the first in a series of ad-hoc articles that will tell you the history of some of the biggest sporting events in the world, as well as giving you a review of some of the major teams and players that have made the event what it is today.
Additionally, we’ll be taking a look at the venue, the traditions of each event, as well as some of the record-holders for the tournament.
We begin this series of articles with a look at an event that will next take place in a couple of months time. The Masters Golf Tournament at the famous Augusta National Golf Club.
Outright betting on the event is already available at bet365 Sport and on Masters week, there will be a greater selection of markets to bet on both before each round and also while the rounds are In Play.
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Let’s now take a look back through time at how this famous event first became part of the golfing majors.
How It All Began – The Masters History
The Masters was the brainchild of amateur golfing legend Bobby Jones and Clifford Roberts, an investment banker, who together purchased a former plant nursery on the current Augusta site.
They employed course architecht Alister MacKenzie to work with Jones to create the new course, which was completed in 1932, two years prior to the first ever Masters Tournament being contested in April 1934.
The tournament is different to the other Majors in golf as it is an invitational event, which means that it tends to have a smaller field than other Major events. It is also the only Major held at the same venue each year.
The tournament began as the Augusta National Invitational Tournament in 1934 and was won by Horton Smith, who took home the first prize of $1,500. However, by 1939, the name had been changed to The Masters Tournament.
The Venue – Augusta National
The very first Masters was contested with the current holes 10-18 played as the first nine and then holes 1 through 9 as the second nine. However, a year later that was reversed and has not been altered since.
Each of the 18 holes on the course are named after a tree or shrub that was stocked when the land was a former plant nursery.
The course is maintained to provide a fast and hard golf surface and the bunkers are filled with granulated quartz, rather than traditional sand, making them look whiter.
The full layout and current hole length for all 18-holes of Augusta National are as follows:
Tea Olive – 445 yards par 4
Pink Dogwood – 575 yards par 5
Flowering Peach – 350 yards par 4
Flowering Crab Apple – 240 yards par 3
Magnolia – 495 yards par 4
Juniper – 180 yards par 3
Pampas – 450 yards par 4
Yellow Jasmine – 570 yards par 5
Carolina Cherry – 460 yards par 4
Camellia – 495 yards par 4
White Dogwood – 520 yards par 4
Golden Bell – 155 yards par 3
Azalea – 510 yards par 5
Chinese Fir – 440 yards par 4
Firethorn – 550 yards par 5
Redbud – 170 yards par 3
Nandina – 440 yards par 4
Holly – 465 yards par 4
The course now totals 7,475, a marked increase from the 6,800 yards that the course was back in 1940.
There are several famous landmarks on the course including Ike’s Pond, Rae’s Creek and the Butler Cabin.
The most famous landmark, the Eisenhower Tree, was located on the 17th hole around 192m from the tee, but after an ice storm in 2014, the tree suffered extensive damage and was removed from the course.
Augusta is famous (or infamous) for its notoriously strict policies over membership, including not allowing female members until 2012. Members are invited to join and there are no applications accepted.
Membership costs are believed to be between $100,000 and $300,000 and annual dues were thought to be around $30,000 per year.
Current members of Augusta National Golf Club include:
The Prize – The Masters Trophy & Green Jacket
The Masters Trophy is a replica of the clubhouse and up until 1993, players were given an option to buy a replica of the trophy. Now, the winner not only is presented with the actual trophy but also receives a replica which they can keep.
In addition, the winning golfer is given a Green Jacket to signify they are a winner of the tournament, although this does not automatically grant them membership of the club, as is sometimes reported, but they do earn a lifetime entry into the tournament each year for as long as they wish to play.
The total prize money on offer for players has risen to $15,000,000 as of 2023.
The Masters Tournament is arguably the golf tournament with the most traditions of all, including the following:
The Champion’s Dinner – On the Tuesday of Masters week, all living former Champions of the Masters Tournament, alongside select members of the golf club, are invited to the Champions Dinner. Custom dictates that the previous year’s winner of the tournament selects the menu.
The Par 3 Contest – On the Wednesday before the tournament starts all players are invited to participate in a par 3 contest on the nine-hole par 3 course at Augusta. Players can select guest caddies for the event, which is more about entertaining patrons than a test of golf. However, no. winner of the par 3 contest has ever gone on to win the Masters in the same year.
Honorary Starters – The tournament has included honorary starters since 1963 and in 2023, Jack Nicklaus, Gary Player and Tom Watson will be conducting the first shots of the tournament at 7.40am on the Thursday morning.
Eagles Nest – With accommodation pricy for amateur players, any amateurs that gain an invitation to play in The Masters each year are given accommodation free of charge in the Eagles Nest, above the main clubhouse.
The Greatest Players
Some of the greatest players to win The Masters include:
Gary Player (first oversees player to win the event in 1961)
Sandy Lyle (first British winner in 1988)
Jose Maria Olazabal
Scottie Scheffler (current holder after winning in 2022).
The Masters – Record Holders
Most Tournament Wins – Jack Nicklaus – 6 wins
Lowest Tournament Score – Dustin Johnson – 268 (-20) in 2020.
Youngest Champion – Tiger Woods (21)
Lowest Round Score – 63 – Nick Price (1986), Greg Norman (1996)
Previous Tournament – The Masters 2022
Last year’s tournament was won by Scottie Scheffler (-10) by three shots from Rory McIlroy (who shot a final round 64 to come from +1 to -7), with Shane Lowry and Cameron Smith tied for third a further two shots back at -5.
This Year’s Tournament – The Masters 2023
Jon Rahm has been the star man of the season so far winning five of his last nine events and moving up to number 1 in the World Rankings.
Rory McIlroy is another to watch after 6 top ten finishes including a second last year where he shot an immaculate 64 final round.