In the week that the Masters gets underway across the hallowed turfs of the Augusta National in Georgia USA, here are 16 facts you may or may not know about this iconic event in the golfing calendar.
- The Masters was first staged on March 22nd 1934 and organised by Bobby Jones and Clifford Roberts. For its first five stagings, it was known as the Augusta National Invitational. The so-called ‘Founders Circle’ is sited at the base of the flagpole in front of the clubhouse, where two plaques commemorate the two founders.
- From 1940 until the present day, the Masters has been staged during the first full week in April. The only exception being in 2020 when, due to the pandemic, it was held over until November and contested without patrons being in attendance.
- Jack Nicklaus holds the most Masters titles – 6 - becoming the oldest winner in 1986, aged 46 years, 2 months and 23 days. Tiger Woods, with 5 wins was the youngest winner in 1997, at 21 years, 3 months and 14 days.
- The Green Jacket was first awarded to the 1949 winner, Sam Snead. However, the tradition of members wearing green jackets began in 1937. The idea was that patrons attending the Masters could easily identify members, who could provide them with accurate information.
- The use of the term “patron”, as opposed to spectator, was meant to differentiate between those attending the Masters, rather than other sporting events. Co-founder Clifford Roberts wanted to recognise those attending as consumers rather than fans. Today, the daily attendance of patrons is around 40,000.
- Amen Corner, or part of the course comprising the second half of holes 11 and 12 and the first half of hole 13, was named as such in 1958 by the Sports Illustrated writer, Herbert Warren Wind. It was where the critical action of that year’s tournament took place. The name was borrowed from an old jazz recording called “Shouting at Amen Corner.” The iconic name has stuck to this day.
- Magnolia Lane extends from the entrance gate to the clubhouse. It is lined by 61 large magnolia trees, dating back to the 1850s, which “guard” both sides of the 330 yards long road. Pine trees are the most abundant species across the whole property. The club is open from mid-October to late May.
- At the traditional Masters dinner, held for former Champions on the Tuesday prior to the tournament start, the menu is decided by the previous year’s winner. 2022 champion Scottie Scheffler’s menu, comprises the following: Appetiser: Cheeseburger Sliders (served Scottie style)/ Firecracker Shrimp with Sweet Thai Chilli and Siracha Mayo. Starter: Tortilla Soup – Avocado, Crispy Blue Tortilla Strips, Sour Cream, Cilantro, Lime. Main: Texas Ribeye Steak or Blackened Redfish served with Family Style Mac and Cheese, Jalapeno Creamed Corn, Fried Brussels Sprouts, Seasoned Fries. Dessert: Warm Chocolate Chip Skillet Cookie with Milk and Cookies Ice Cream.
- Rae's Creek, running in front of the 12th green, with a tributary at the 13th tee and passing by the back of the 11th green, is named after landowner owner John Rae. He emigrated to the area from Ballynahinch in Ireland around 1730 and lived just south of the creek’s confluence with the Savannah River. His property, Rae’s Hall, was credited with keeping local residents safe during Indian attacks.
- Augusta National has three dedicated bridges: the Sarazen Bridge at hole No. 15, honouring Gene Sarazen's double eagle there during the 1935 Masters; the Hogan Bridge at the No. 12 green, in recognition of Ben Hogan's then record score of 274 in 1953; and the Nelson Bridge at the No. 13 tee, in memory of Byron Nelson's outstanding play at the 12th and 13th holes when winning the 1937 Masters.
- You cannot apply for membership of Augusta National Golf Club – you can only be invited. Only two pro golfers are current members: Jack Nicklaus and former amateur stalwart John Harris(who recently retired from the PGA Tour Champions). Four times Masters winner Arnold Palmer, who died in 2016, was also a club member. The first African-American member was admitted in 1990.
- Avid golfer Dwight (Ike) Eisenhower is the only U.S. president to have been a club member. Ike's Pond occupies 3 acres near hole No. 9 on the nine-hole par-3 course, which hosts the traditional Par 3 Contest on the Wednesday of Masters week. The pond, manmade, has a dam and is fed by a spring.
- The Crow's Nest, a 30 by 40-foot room on the top floor of the clubhouse, provides housing for amateurs during the Masters Tournament. It has accommodation for up to five players. No amateur has ever won the Masters.
- Each hole is named after a plant or shrub. As an example, No. 3 is called "Flowering Crab Apple."
- A Jack Nicklaus plaque is fixed to a drinking fountain between holes 16 and 17, whilst an Arnold Palmer plaque adorns a drinking fountain behind the 16th
- The overall purse for the 2023 Masters is £12.1million ($15m). The winner will earn around £2.2m ($2.7m), with the runner-up taking home £1.3m ($1.6m). The first Masters in 1934 paid out$1,500to Horton Smith. This was the same prize money for every winner up until 1943-45, when three Masters in a row were cancelled due to World War II. On its resumption in 1946, the Masters winner that year, Herman Keiser, won $2,500.
Whether you are attending the event this year as a patron, or watching on TV, have a great Masters!