With Masters Week upon us we thought we’d take a look at how it all began. The Masters was the brainchild of one of the greatest golfers of all time ,Bobby Jones. Jones(1902-1971) was a native of Atlanta and the first person to win both the US and British Opens in the same year, 1926. He also won five US Amateurs, one British Amateur, four U.S. Opens, and three British Opens. In 1930, he won the “Grand Slam” of his time, the US and British Opens and the US and British Amateurs. In short, he was the Tiger Woods of his time.
After retiring from competitive golf in 1930, Jones, along with Clifford Roberts (1894-1977), who would become Augusta National’s long-time chairman, organized the Augusta National Golf Club, building it on a former indigo plantation that had been used as a nursery, the club first opened in December, 1932.
The first tournament was held in 1934 and was known as the Augusta National Invitation Tournament, a name that was used until 1939 when it became known as The Masters. The first Masters champion was Horton Smith. The green jacket, emblematic of a Masters champion, was first awarded in 1949.
Since then, the Masters has given the sporting world some of its most memorable moments such as:Gene Sarazen's double-eagle at the par-5 15th hole in 1935, Jack Nicklaus's charge on the back nine for his sixth Masters title in 1986 at the age of 46, Tiger Woods’ domination , winning four green jackets in 1997, 2001, 2002 and 2005 and Bubba Watson's incredible second shot out of the woods on the second extra hole which led to his winning the 2012 title.
The Masters has also given us some innovations which today we take for granted. It was at the Masters that the system of quoting scores in relation to par was first used in 1960. TV coverage was first instituted in 1956 with all four rounds first televised in 1982.
The Masters has the distinction of being the only major golf tournament to be played at the same course every year. Despite its proximity to Columbia (Augusta is only 1 ½ hours away and many attendees of the tournament stay in Columbia), tickets are next to impossible to obtain unless you know somebody. The Masters can be seen Thursday and Friday on ESPN at 3 p.m. and CBS Saturday from 3-7 and Sunday from 2-7.
A complete list of Masters Champions and current leaderboard can be seen here.
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