Masters Tournament

The Masters Tournament (usually referred to as simply The Masters, or the U.S. Masters outside of North America[2][3]) is one of the four major championships in professional golf. Scheduled for the first full week of April, the Masters is the first major of the year, and unlike the others, it is always held at the same location, Augusta National Golf Club, a private course in the southeastern United States, in the city of Augusta, Georgia.

Masters Tournament
Tournament information
LocationAugusta, Georgia, U.S.
EstablishedMarch 22, 1934 (1934-03-22)
83 Editions
Course(s)Augusta National Golf Club
Length7,475 yards (6,835 m)[1]
Organized byAugusta National Golf Club
Tour(s)PGA Tour
European Tour
Japan Golf Tour
FormatStroke play
Prize fund$11.5 million
Month playedApril
Tournament record score
Aggregate270 Tiger Woods (1997)
270 Jordan Spieth (2015)
To par−18 as above
Current champion
Tiger Woods
2019 Masters Tournament
Location in the United States
Location in Georgia

The Masters was started by noted amateur champion Bobby Jones and investment banker Clifford Roberts.[4] After his grand slam in 1930, Jones acquired the former plant nursery and co-designed Augusta National with course architect Alister MacKenzie.[1] First played 85 years ago in 1934, the tournament is an official money event on the PGA Tour, the European Tour, and the Japan Golf Tour. The field of players is smaller than those of the other major championships because it is an invitational event, held by the Augusta National Golf Club.

The tournament has a number of traditions. Since 1949, a green jacket has been awarded to the champion, who must return it to the clubhouse one year after his victory, although it remains his personal property and is stored with other champions' jackets in a specially designated cloakroom. In most instances, only a first-time and currently reigning champion may remove his jacket from the club grounds. A golfer who wins the event multiple times uses the same green jacket awarded upon his initial win (unless he needs to be re-fitted with a new jacket).[5] The Champions Dinner, inaugurated by Ben Hogan in 1952, is held on the Tuesday before each tournament, and is open only to past champions and certain board members of the Augusta National Golf Club. Beginning in 1963, legendary golfers, usually past champions, have hit an honorary tee shot on the morning of the first round to commence play. These have included Fred McLeod, Jock Hutchinson, Gene Sarazen, Sam Snead, Byron Nelson, Arnold Palmer, Jack Nicklaus, and Gary Player. Since 1960, a semi-social contest at the par-3 course has been played on Wednesday, the day before the first round.

Nicklaus has the most Masters wins, with six between 1963 and 1986. Tiger Woods has won five. Palmer has won four. Five have won three titles at Augusta: Jimmy Demaret, Sam Snead, Gary Player, Nick Faldo, and Phil Mickelson. Player, from South Africa, was the first non-American player to win the tournament, in 1961; the second was Seve Ballesteros of Spain, the champion in 1980 and 1983.

The Augusta National course first opened 86 years ago in 1933 and has been modified many times by different architects. Among the changes: greens have been reshaped and, on occasion, entirely re-designed, bunkers have been added, water hazards have been extended, new tee boxes have been built, hundreds of trees have been planted, and several mounds have been installed.[6]


Augusta National Golf Club

The idea for Augusta National originated with Bobby Jones, who wanted to build a golf course after his retirement from the game. He sought advice from Clifford Roberts, who later became the chairman of the club. They came across a piece of land in Augusta, Georgia, of which Jones said: "Perfect! And to think this ground has been lying here all these years waiting for someone to come along and lay a golf course upon it."[7] The land had been an indigo plantation in the early nineteenth century and a plant nursery since 1857.[8] Jones hired Alister MacKenzie to help design the course, and work began in 1931. The course formally opened in 1933, but MacKenzie died before the first Masters Tournament was played.[9]

Early tournament years

The first "Augusta National Invitational" Tournament, as the Masters was originally known, began on March 22, 1934, and was won by Horton Smith, who took the first prize of $1,500. The present name was adopted in 1939. The first tournament was played with current holes 10 through 18 played as the first nine, and 1 through 9 as the second nine[10] then reversed permanently to its present layout for the 1935 tournament.[4]

Initially the Augusta National Invitational field was composed of Bobby Jones' close associates. Jones had petitioned the USGA to hold the U.S. Open at Augusta but the USGA denied the petition, noting that the hot Georgia summers would create difficult playing conditions.[11]

Gene Sarazen hit the "shot heard 'round the world" in 1935, holing a shot from the fairway on the par 5 15th for a double eagle (albatross).[12] This tied Sarazen with Craig Wood, and in the ensuing 36-hole playoff, Sarazen was the victor by five strokes.[13] The tournament was not played from 1943 to 1945, due to World War II. To assist the war effort, cattle and turkeys were raised on the Augusta National grounds.[4]


The Big Three of Arnold Palmer, Gary Player, and Jack Nicklaus dominated the Masters from 1960 through 1978, winning the event 11 times among them during that span. After winning by one stroke in 1958,[13] Palmer won by one stroke again in 1960 in memorable circumstances. Trailing Ken Venturi by one shot in the 1960 event, Palmer made birdies on the last two holes to prevail. Palmer would go on to win another two Masters in 1962 and 1964.[13]

Jack Nicklaus emerged in the early 1960s, and served as a rival to the popular Palmer. Nicklaus won his first green jacket in 1963, defeating Tony Lema by one stroke.[14] Two years later, he shot a then-course record of 271 (17 under par) for his second Masters win, leading Bobby Jones to say that Nicklaus played "a game with which I am not familiar."[15] The next year, Nicklaus won his third green jacket in a grueling 18-hole playoff against Tommy Jacobs and Gay Brewer.[16] This made Nicklaus the first player to win consecutive Masters. He won again in 1972 by three strokes.[13] In 1975, Nicklaus won by one stroke in a close contest with Tom Weiskopf and Johnny Miller in one of the most exciting Masters to date.[17]

Gary Player became the first non-American to win the Masters in 1961, beating Palmer, the defending champion.[13] In 1974, he won again by two strokes.[13] After not winning a tournament on the U.S. PGA tour for nearly four years, and at the age of 42, Player won his third and final Masters in 1978 by one stroke over three players.[13] Player currently shares (with Fred Couples) the record of making 23 consecutive cuts, and has played in a record 52 Masters.[18][19]

A controversial ending to the Masters occurred in 1968. Roberto De Vicenzo signed a scorecard (scored by playing partner Tommy Aaron) which incorrectly showed him as making a par 4 instead of a birdie 3 on the 17th hole of the final round. By the rules of golf, if a player signs a scorecard (thereby attesting to its veracity) that records a score on a hole higher than what he actually made on the hole, the player receives the higher score for that hole. This extra stroke cost De Vicenzo a chance to be in an 18-hole Monday playoff with Bob Goalby, who won the green jacket. De Vicenzo's mistake led to the famous quote, "What a stupid I am."[13][20]

In 1975, Lee Elder became the first African American to play in the Masters,[21] doing so 15 years before Augusta National admitted its first black member, Ron Townsend, as a result of the Shoal Creek Controversy.[22]


Non-Americans collected 11 victories in 20 years in the 1980s and 1990s, by far the strongest run they have had in any of the three majors played in the United States since the early days of the U.S. Open. The first European to win the Masters was Seve Ballesteros in 1980. Nicklaus became the oldest player to win the Masters in 1986 when he won for the sixth time at age 46.[13][23]

During this period, no golfer suffered from the pressure of competing at Augusta more than Greg Norman. In 1987, Norman lost a sudden-death playoff to Larry Mize when Mize holed out a remarkable 45-yard pitch shot to birdie the second playoff hole and win the Masters.[24] In 1996, Norman tied the course record with an opening round 63, and had a six-stroke lead over Nick Faldo entering the final round. Norman shot a 78 while Faldo scored a 67 to win by five shots (for his third Masters championship).[25] Norman also suffered in 1986 when after birdieing four straight holes, and needing only a par to tie Nicklaus for the lead and force a Monday playoff, he badly pushed his 4-iron approach on 18 and missed his par putt for a closing bogey.

At age 21 in 1997, Tiger Woods won the Masters by twelve shots and broke the 72-hole record that had stood for 32 years.[4] Woods completed his "Tiger Slam" by winning his fourth straight major championship at the Masters in 2001.[13] He won again the following year, making him only the third player in history to win the tournament in consecutive years,[13] as well as in 2005 when he defeated Chris DiMarco in a playoff for his first major championship win in almost three years.[13]

The club was targeted by Martha Burk, who organized a failed protest at the 2003 Masters to pressure the club into accepting female members. Burk planned to protest at the front gates of Augusta National during the third day of the tournament, but her application for a permit to do so was denied.[26] A court appeal was dismissed.[27] In 2004, Burk stated that she had no further plans to protest against the club.[28]

Augusta National Chairman Billy Payne himself made headlines in April 2010, however, when he commented (at the annual pre-Masters press conference) on Tiger Woods' off-the-course behavior. "It's not simply the degree of his conduct that is so egregious here," Payne said, in his opening speech. "It is the fact he disappointed all of us and more importantly our kids and grandkids."[29][30][31]

The 2003 tournament was won by Mike Weir, who became the first Canadian to win a men's major championship, and the first left-hander to win the Masters.[13] The following year, another left-hander, Phil Mickelson, won his first major championship by making a birdie on the final hole to beat Ernie Els by a stroke.[13] Mickelson also won the tournament in 2006 and 2010. In 2011, the tournament was won by South African Charl Schwartzel, who birdied the final four holes to win by two strokes. In 2012, Bubba Watson won the tournament on the second playoff hole. Watson's win marked the fifth time that a left-hander won the Masters in the previous ten tournaments. Prior to 2003, no left-hander had ever won the Masters. The 2013 Masters was won by Adam Scott, the first Australian to win the tournament.[32] Watson won the 2014 Masters by three strokes over Jordan Spieth and Jonas Blixt. It was his second Masters victory in three years. In 2015, Spieth would become the second-youngest winner in just his second Masters.[33]



The total prize money for the 2014 tournament was $9,000,000, with $1,620,000 going to the winner.[34] In the inaugural year of 1934, the winner Horton Smith received $1,500 out of a $5,000 purse.[35] After Nicklaus's first win in 1963, he received $20,000, while after his final victory in 1986 he won $144,000.[36][37] In recent years the purse has grown quickly. Between 2001 and 2014, the winner's share grew by $612,000, and the purse grew by $3,400,000.[34][35][38]

Green jacket

In addition to a cash prize, the winner of the tournament is presented with a distinctive green jacket, formally awarded since 1949, and informally acquired by the champions for many years before that. The green sport coat is the official attire worn by members of Augusta National while on the club grounds; each Masters winner becomes an honorary member of the club. The recipient of the green jacket has it presented to him inside the Butler Cabin soon after the end of the tournament, and the presentation is then repeated outside near the 18th green in front of the patrons. Winners keep their jacket for the first year after their first victory, then return it to the club to wear whenever they visit. The tradition began in 1949, when Sam Snead won his first of three Masters titles.

The green jacket is only allowed to be removed from Augusta National by the reigning champion, after which it must remain at the club. Exceptions to this rule include Gary Player, who in his joy of winning mistakenly took his jacket home to South Africa after his 1961 victory (although he has always followed the spirit of the rule and has never worn the jacket);[39] Seve Ballesteros who, in an interview with Peter Alliss from his home in Pedreña, showed one of his two green jackets in his trophy room; and Henry Picard, whose jacket was removed from the club before the tradition was well established, remained in his closet for a number of years, and is now on display at Canterbury Golf Club in Beachwood, Ohio, where he was the club professional for many years.[40][41]

By tradition, the winner of the previous year's Masters Tournament puts the jacket on the current winner at the end of the tournament. In 1966, Jack Nicklaus became the first player to win in consecutive years and he donned the jacket himself.[16] When Nick Faldo (in 1990) and Tiger Woods (in 2002) repeated as champions, the chairman of Augusta National put the jacket on them.

There are several awards presented to players who perform exceptional feats during the tournament. The player who has the daily lowest score receives a crystal vase, while players who score a hole-in-one or a double eagle win a large crystal bowl. For each eagle a player makes he receives a pair of crystal goblets.

In addition to the green jacket, winners of the tournament receive a gold medal. In 2017, a green jacket that was found at a thrift store in 1994 was sold at auction for $139,000.[42]


Winners also have their names engraved on the actual silver Masters trophy. The runner-up receives a silver medal, introduced in 1951. Beginning in 1978, a silver salver was added as an award for the runner-up.[4]

In 1952, the Masters began presenting an award, known as the Silver Cup, to the lowest scoring amateur to make the cut. In 1954, they began presenting an amateur silver medal to the low amateur runner-up.[4]

The original trophy weighs over 130 pounds, and sits on a four-foot wide base. It resides permanently at Augusta National and depicts the clubhouse of the classic course. The replica, which is significantly smaller, stands just 6.5 inches tall and weighs 20 pounds. The champion and the runner-up both have their names engraved on the permanent trophy, solidifying themselves in golf history.[43]

The Double Eagle trophy was introduced in 1967 when Bruce Devlin holed out for double eagle on number 8. He was only the second to do so, and the first in 32 years, following Gene Sarazen on hole 15 in 1932. The trophy is a large crystal bowl with "Masters Tournament" engraved around the top.[44]

Pre-tournament events

In 2013, Augusta National partnered with the USGA and the PGA of America to establish Drive, Chip and Putt, a youth golf skills competition which was first held in 2014. The event was established as part of an effort to help promote the sport of golf among youth; the winners of local qualifiers in different age groups advance to the national finals, which have been held at Augusta National on the Sunday immediately preceding the Masters. The driving and chipping portions of the event are held on the course's practice range, but the putting portion has been played on the course's 18th hole.[45][46][47]

On April 4, 2018, prior to the 2018 tournament, new Augusta National chairman Fred Ridley announced that the club would host the Augusta National Women's Amateur beginning in 2019. The first two rounds will be held at the Champion's Retreat club in Evans, Georgia, with the final two rounds hosted by Augusta National (the final round will take place on the Saturday directly preceding the tournament). Ridley stated that holding such an event at Augusta National would have the "greatest impact" on women's golf. Although concerns were raised that the event would conflict with the LPGA Tour's ANA Inspiration (which has invited top amateur players to compete), Ridley stated that he had discussed the event with commissioner Mike Whan, and stated that he agreed on the notion that any move to bolster the prominence of women's golf would be a "win" for the LPGA over time. The winner of the Augusta National Women's Amateur is exempt from two women's golf majors.[48][49]

Par-3 contest

The Par 3 Contest was first introduced in 1960, and was won that year by Snead. Since then it has traditionally been played on the Wednesday before the tournament starts. The par 3 course was built in 1958. It is a nine-hole course, with a par of 27, and measures 1,060 yards (970 m) in length.[50]

There have been 94 holes-in-one in the history of the contest, with a record nine occurring in 2016. Camilo Villegas became the first player to card two holes-in-one in the same round during the 2015 Par 3 Contest. No par 3 contest winner has also won the Masters in the same year.[51][52] There have been several repeat winners, including Pádraig Harrington, Sandy Lyle, Sam Snead, and Tom Watson. The former two won in successive years.

In this event, golfers may use their children as caddies, which helps to create a family-friendly atmosphere. In 2008, the event was televised for the first time by ESPN.

The winner of the par 3 competition, which is played the day before the tournament begins, wins a crystal bowl.[53]

Player invitations

As with the other majors, winning the Masters gives a golfer several privileges which make his career more secure. Masters champions are automatically invited to play in the other three majors (the U.S. Open, The Open Championship, and the PGA Championship) for the next five years (except for amateur winners, unless they turn pro within the five-year period), and earn a lifetime invitation to the Masters. They also receive membership on the PGA Tour for the following five seasons and invitations to The Players Championship for five years.[54]

Because the tournament was established by an amateur champion, Bobby Jones, the Masters has a tradition of honoring amateur golf. It invites winners of the most prestigious amateur tournaments in the world. Also, the current U.S. Amateur champion always plays in the same group as the defending Masters champion for the first two days of the tournament.

Amateurs in the field are welcome to stay in the "Crow's Nest" atop the Augusta National clubhouse during the tournament. The Crow's Nest is 1,200 square feet (110 m2) with lodging space for five during the competition.

Opening tee shot

Since 1963, the custom in most years has been to start the tournament with an honorary opening tee shot at the first hole, typically by one or more legendary players. The original honorary starters were Jock Hutchison and Fred McLeod; this twosome led off every tournament from 1963 until 1973, when poor health prevented Hutchison from swinging a club. McLeod continued on until his death in 1976. Byron Nelson and Gene Sarazen started in 1981, and were then joined by Sam Snead in 1984. This trio continued until 1999 when Sarazen died, while Nelson stopped in 2001. Snead hit his final opening tee shot in 2002, a little over a month before he died.

In 2007, Arnold Palmer took over as the honorary starter. Palmer also had the honor in 2008 and 2009.[55] At the 2010 and 2011 Masters Tournaments, Jack Nicklaus joined Palmer as an honorary co-starter for the event.[56] In 2012, Gary Player joined them. Palmer announced in March 2016 that a lingering shoulder issue would prevent him from partaking in the 2016 tee shot.[57] Palmer was still in attendance for the ceremony.[58]

Following Palmer's death in 2016, the 2017 ceremony featured tributes; his green jacket was draped over an empty white chair, while everyone in attendance wore "Arnie's Army" badges.[59][60]

Champions' Dinner

The Champions' Dinner is held each year on the Tuesday evening preceding Thursday's first round. The dinner was first held in 1952, hosted by defending champion Ben Hogan, to honor the past champions of the tournament.[61] At that time 15 tournaments had been played, and the number of past champions was 11. Officially known as the "Masters Club", it includes only past winners of the Masters, although selected members of the Augusta National Golf Club have been included as honorary members, usually the chairman.

The defending champion, as host, selects the menu for the dinner. Frequently, Masters champions have served finely prepared cuisine by the Masters chef from their home regions. Notable examples have included haggis, served by Scotsman Sandy Lyle in 1989,[62] and bobotie, a South African dish, served at the behest of 2008 champion Trevor Immelman. Other examples include German Bernhard Langer's 1986 Wiener schnitzel, Britain's Nick Faldo's fish and chips, Canadian Mike Weir's elk and wild boar, and Vijay Singh's seafood tom kah and chicken panang curry. In 1997, 1979 champion Fuzzy Zoeller created a media storm when he suggested that Tiger Woods refrain from serving collard greens and fried chicken, dishes commonly associated with Afro-American culture, at the dinner. The 2011 dinner of Phil Mickelson was a Spanish-themed menu in hopes that Seve Ballesteros would attend, but he was too sick to attend and died weeks later.[63]


Until 1983, all players in the Masters were required to use the services of an Augusta National Club caddie,[64][65][66] who by club tradition was always an African American man.[22] Indeed, club co-founder Clifford Roberts is reputed to have said, "As long as I'm alive, golfers will be white, and caddies will be black."[67] Since 1983, players have been allowed the option of bringing their own caddie to the tournament.

The Masters requires caddies to wear a uniform consisting of a white jumpsuit, a green Masters cap, and white tennis shoes. The surname, and sometimes first initial, of each player is found on the back of his caddie's uniform. The defending champion always receives caddie number "1": other golfers get their caddie numbers from the order in which they register for the tournament. The other majors and some PGA Tour events formerly had a similar policy concerning caddies well into the 1970s;[68][69][70] the U.S. Open first allowed players to use their own caddies in 1976.[71][72]

Other traditions

The day after the tournament closes, The Bobby Jones Scholars from The University of St Andrews in Scotland play a four-ball round on the course – the last people to do so before the greenkeepers start the process of repairing and restoring the course to pre-tournament standard.


The Masters is the first major championship of the year. Since 1948, its final round has been scheduled for the second Sunday of April, with several exceptions. It ended on the first Sunday four times (1952, 1957, 1958, 1959) and the 1979 and 1984 tournaments ended on April 15, the month's third Sunday.[4] The first edition in 1934 was held in late March and the next ten were in early April, with only the 1942 event scheduled to end on the second Sunday.

Similar to the other majors, the tournament consists of four rounds at 18 holes each, Thursday through Sunday (when there are no delays). The Masters has a relatively small field of contenders, when compared with other golf tournaments, so the competitors play in groups of three for the first two rounds (36 holes) and the field is not split to start on the 1st and 10th tees, unless weather shortens the available playing time. The tournament is unique in that it is the only major tournament conducted by a private club rather than a national golf organization like the PGA.[6]

Originally, the Masters was the only tournament to use two-man pairings during the first two rounds. It was also the only event to re-pair based on the leaderboard before Friday's round, as most tournaments only do this on the weekend. This practice ended in the early 2000s, when the Masters switched to the more standard three-man groups and the groups are now kept intact on Friday, with players sharing the same playing partners in both of the first two rounds.

After 36 holes of play, a cut-off score is calculated to reduce the size of the field for the weekend rounds. To "make the cut", players must be either in the top 50 places (ties counting), or within 10 strokes of the leader's score. These criteria have applied since 2013.[73] From 1957 to 1960, the top 40 scores (including ties) and those within 10 strokes of the leader made the cut. From 1961 to 2012, it was the top 44 (and ties) or within 10 strokes of the lead.[73] Before 1957, there was no 36-hole cut and all of the invitees played four rounds, if desired.[74]

Following the cut, an additional 36 holes are played over the final two days. Should the fourth round fail to produce a winner, all players tied for the lead enter a sudden-death playoff. Play begins on the 18th hole, followed by the adjacent 10th, repeating until one player remains. Adopted in 1976, the sudden-death playoff was originally formatted to start on the first hole,[75] but was not needed for the first three years. It was changed for 1979 to the inward (final) nine holes, starting at the tenth tee, where the television coverage began.[76] First employed that same year, the Masters' first sudden-death playoff ended on the eleventh green. The current arrangement, beginning at the 18th tee, was amended for 2004 and first used the following year. Through 2017, the eleven sudden-death playoffs have yet to advance past the second extra hole. Earlier playoffs were 18 holes on the following day, except for the first in 1935, which was 36 holes; the last 18-hole playoff was in 1970, and none of the full-round playoffs went to additional holes.


The golf course was formerly a plant nursery and each hole is named after the tree or shrub with which it has become associated.[8]
The course layout in 2019:

1Tea Olive445410Camellia4954
2Pink Dogwood575511White Dogwood5054
3Flowering Peach350412Golden Bell1553
4Flowering Crab Apple240313Azalea5105
5Magnolia495414Chinese Fir4404
8Yellow Jasmine570517Nandina4404
9Carolina Cherry460418Holly4654

Lengths of the course for the Masters at the start of each decade:

  • 2010: 7,435 yards (6,799 m)
  • 2000: 6,985 yards (6,387 m)
  • 1990: 6,905 yards (6,314 m)
  • 1980: 7,040 yards (6,437 m)
  • 1970: 6,980 yards (6,383 m)
  • 1960: 6,980 yards (6,383 m)
  • 1950: 6,900 yards (6,309 m)
  • 1940: 6,800 yards (6,218 m)[1]

The course was lengthened to 7,445 yards (6,808 m) in 2006. The first hole was shortened by 10 yards (9 m) in 2009. The fifth hole was lengthened by 40 yards (37 m) for 2019, resulting in the current length of 7,475 yards (6,835 m).

Course adjustments

As with many other courses, Augusta National's championship setup was lengthened in recent years. In 2001, the course measured 6,925 yards (6,332 m) and was extended to 7,270 yards (6,648 m) for 2002, and again in 2006 to 7,445 yards (6,808 m); 520 yards (475 m) longer than the 2001 course.[78][79] The changes attracted many critics, including the most successful players in Masters history, Jack Nicklaus, Arnold Palmer, Gary Player and Tiger Woods. Woods claimed that the "shorter hitters are going to struggle." Augusta National chairman Hootie Johnson was unperturbed, stating, "We are comfortable with what we are doing with the golf course." After a practice round, Gary Player defended the changes, saying, "There have been a lot of criticisms, but I think unjustly so, now I've played it.... The guys are basically having to hit the same second shots that Jack Nicklaus had to hit (in his prime)".[80]

Originally, the grass on the putting greens was the wide-bladed Bermuda. The greens lost speed, especially during the late 1970s, after the introduction of a healthier strain of narrow-bladed Bermuda, which thrived and grew thicker. In 1978, the greens on the par 3 course were reconstructed with bentgrass, a narrow-bladed species that could be mowed shorter, eliminating grain.[81] After this test run, the greens on the main course were replaced with bentgrass in time for the 1981 Masters. The bentgrass resulted in significantly faster putting surfaces, which has required a reduction in some of the contours of the greens over time.[81]

Just before the 1975 tournament, the common beige sand in the bunkers was replaced with the now-signature white feldspar. It is a quartz derivative of the mining of feldspar and is shipped in from North Carolina.[82]

In 2019, the fifth hole was lengthened from 455 yards to 495 yards with two new gaping bunkers on the left side of the fairway.[83]


The Masters has the smallest field of the major championships, with 90–100 players. Unlike other majors, there are no alternates or qualifying tournaments. It is an invitational event, with invitations largely issued on an automatic basis to players who meet published criteria. The top 50 players in the Official World Golf Ranking are all invited.[84]

Past champions are always eligible, but since 2002 the Augusta National Golf Club has discouraged them from continuing to participate at an advanced age. Some will later become honorary starters.[85]

Invitation categories
See footnote.[86]
Note: Categories 7–11 are honored only if the participants maintain their amateur status prior to the tournament.
  1. Masters Tournament Champions (lifetime)
  2. U.S. Open champions (five years)
  3. The Open champions (five years)
  4. PGA champions (five years)
  5. Winners of the Players Championship (three years)
  6. Current Olympic Gold Medalist (one year)
  7. Current U.S. Amateur champion and runner-up
  8. Current British Amateur champion
  9. Current Asia-Pacific Amateur champion
  10. Current U.S. Mid-Amateur champion
  11. Current Latin America Amateur champion
  12. The first 12 players, including ties, in the previous year's Masters Tournament
  13. The first 4 players, including ties, in the previous year's U.S. Open
  14. The first 4 players, including ties, in the previous year's Open Championship
  15. The first 4 players, including ties, in the previous year's PGA Championship
  16. Winners of PGA Tour regular-season and playoff events that award at least a full-point allocation for the FedEx Cup, starting with the RBC Heritage the week after the Masters to the Shell Houston Open the week beforehand.
  17. Those qualifying for the previous year's season-ending Tour Championship (top 30 in FedEx Cup prior to tournament)
  18. The 50 leaders on the Final Official World Golf Ranking for the previous calendar year
  19. The 50 leaders on the Official World Golf Ranking published during the week prior to the current Masters Tournament

Most of the top current players will meet the criteria of multiple categories for invitation. The Masters Committee, at its discretion, can also invite any golfer not otherwise qualified, although in practice these invitations are currently reserved for international players.[87]

Changes since 2014

Changes for the 2014 tournament include invitations now being awarded to the autumn events in the PGA Tour, which now begin the wraparound season, tightening of qualifications (top 12 plus ties from the Masters, top 4 from the U.S. Open, Open Championship, and PGA Championship), and the top 30 on the PGA Tour now referencing the season-ending points before the Tour Championship, not the former annual money list.[73] The 2015 Masters added the winner of the newly established Latin America Amateur Championship, which effectively replaced the exemption for the United States Amateur Public Links Championship, which ended after the 2014 tournament. (The final Public Links champion played in the 2015 Masters.)[88]


The first winner of the Masters Tournament was Horton Smith in 1934, and he repeated in 1936. The player with the most Masters victories is Jack Nicklaus, who won six times between 1963 and 1986. Tiger Woods has five wins, followed by Arnold Palmer with four, and Jimmy Demaret, Gary Player, Sam Snead, Nick Faldo, and Phil Mickelson have three titles to their name. Player was the tournament's first overseas winner with his first victory in 1961. Two-time champions include Byron Nelson, Ben Hogan, Tom Watson, Seve Ballesteros, Bernhard Langer, Ben Crenshaw, José María Olazábal, and Bubba Watson.[89]

YearChampionCountryTo parMargin
of victory
share ($)
2019Tiger Woods (5) United States−131 stroke Dustin Johnson
Brooks Koepka
Xander Schauffele
2018Patrick Reed United States−151 stroke Rickie Fowler1,980,000
2017Sergio García Spain−9Playoff Justin Rose1,980,000
2016Danny Willett England−53 strokes Jordan Spieth
Lee Westwood
2015Jordan Spieth United States−184 strokes Phil Mickelson
Justin Rose
2014Bubba Watson (2) United States−83 strokes Jonas Blixt
Jordan Spieth
2013Adam Scott Australia−9Playoff Ángel Cabrera1,440,000
2012Bubba Watson United States−10Playoff Louis Oosthuizen1,440,000
2011Charl Schwartzel South Africa−142 strokes Jason Day
Adam Scott
2010Phil Mickelson (3) United States−163 strokes Lee Westwood1,350,000
2009Ángel Cabrera Argentina−12Playoff Kenny Perry
Chad Campbell
2008Trevor Immelman South Africa−83 strokes Tiger Woods1,350,000
2007Zach Johnson United States+12 strokes Retief Goosen
Rory Sabbatini
Tiger Woods
2006Phil Mickelson (2) United States−72 strokes Tim Clark1,260,000
2005Tiger Woods (4) United States−12Playoff Chris DiMarco1,260,000
2004Phil Mickelson United States−91 stroke Ernie Els1,117,000
2003Mike Weir Canada−7Playoff Len Mattiace1,080,000
2002Tiger Woods (3) United States−123 strokes Retief Goosen1,008,000
2001Tiger Woods (2) United States−162 strokes David Duval1,008,000
2000Vijay Singh Fiji−103 strokes Ernie Els828,000
1999José María Olazábal (2) Spain−82 strokes Davis Love III720,000
1998Mark O'Meara United States−91 stroke Fred Couples
David Duval
1997Tiger Woods United States−1812 strokes Tom Kite486,000
1996Nick Faldo (3) England−125 strokes Greg Norman450,000
1995Ben Crenshaw (2) United States−141 stroke Davis Love III396,000
1994José María Olazábal Spain−92 strokes Tom Lehman360,000
1993Bernhard Langer (2) Germany−114 strokes Chip Beck306,000
1992Fred Couples United States−132 strokes Raymond Floyd270,000
1991Ian Woosnam Wales−111 stroke José María Olazábal243,000
1990Nick Faldo (2) England−10Playoff Raymond Floyd225,000
1989Nick Faldo England−5Playoff Scott Hoch200,000
1988Sandy Lyle Scotland−71 stroke Mark Calcavecchia183,800
1987Larry Mize United States−3Playoff Seve Ballesteros
Greg Norman
1986Jack Nicklaus (6) United States−91 stroke Tom Kite
Greg Norman
1985Bernhard Langer West Germany−62 strokes Seve Ballesteros
Raymond Floyd
Curtis Strange
1984Ben Crenshaw United States−112 strokes Tom Watson108,000
1983Seve Ballesteros (2) Spain−84 strokes Ben Crenshaw
Tom Kite
1982Craig Stadler United States−4Playoff Dan Pohl64,000
1981Tom Watson (2) United States−82 strokes Johnny Miller
Jack Nicklaus
1980Seve Ballesteros Spain−134 strokes Gibby Gilbert
Jack Newton
1979Fuzzy Zoeller United States−8Playoff Ed Sneed
Tom Watson
1978Gary Player (3) South Africa−111 stroke Rod Funseth
Hubert Green
Tom Watson
1977Tom Watson United States−122 strokes Jack Nicklaus40,000
1976Raymond Floyd United States−178 strokes Ben Crenshaw40,000
1975Jack Nicklaus (5) United States−121 stroke Johnny Miller
Tom Weiskopf
1974Gary Player (2) South Africa−102 strokes Dave Stockton
Tom Weiskopf
1973Tommy Aaron United States−51 stroke J. C. Snead30,000
1972Jack Nicklaus (4) United States−23 strokes Bruce Crampton
Bobby Mitchell
Tom Weiskopf
1971Charles Coody United States−92 strokes Johnny Miller
Jack Nicklaus
1970Billy Casper United States−9Playoff Gene Littler25,000
1969George Archer United States−71 stroke Billy Casper
George Knudson
Tom Weiskopf
1968Bob Goalby United States−111 stroke Roberto De Vicenzo20,000
1967Gay Brewer United States−81 stroke Bobby Nichols20,000
1966Jack Nicklaus (3) United StatesEPlayoff Tommy Jacobs (2nd)
Gay Brewer (3rd)
1965Jack Nicklaus (2) United States−179 strokes Arnold Palmer
Gary Player
1964Arnold Palmer (4) United States−126 strokes Dave Marr
Jack Nicklaus
1963Jack Nicklaus United States−21 stroke Tony Lema20,000
1962Arnold Palmer (3) United States−8Playoff Gary Player (2nd)
Dow Finsterwald (3rd)
1961Gary Player South Africa−81 stroke Charles Coe (a)
Arnold Palmer
1960Arnold Palmer (2) United States−61 stroke Ken Venturi17,500
1959Art Wall, Jr. United States−41 stroke Cary Middlecoff15,000
1958Arnold Palmer United States−41 stroke Doug Ford
Fred Hawkins
1957Doug Ford United States−53 strokes Sam Snead8,750
1956Jack Burke, Jr. United States+11 stroke Ken Venturi (a)6,000
1955Cary Middlecoff United States−97 strokes Ben Hogan5,000
1954Sam Snead (3) United States+1Playoff Ben Hogan5,000
1953Ben Hogan (2) United States−145 strokes Ed Oliver4,000
1952Sam Snead (2) United States−24 strokes Jack Burke, Jr.4,000
1951Ben Hogan United States−82 strokes Skee Riegel3,000
1950Jimmy Demaret (3) United States−52 strokes Jim Ferrier2,400
1949Sam Snead United States−63 strokes Johnny Bulla
Lloyd Mangrum
1948Claude Harmon United States−95 strokes Cary Middlecoff2,500
1947Jimmy Demaret (2) United States−72 strokes Byron Nelson
Frank Stranahan (a)
1946Herman Keiser United States−61 stroke Ben Hogan2,500
1943–45: Cancelled due to World War II
1942Byron Nelson (2) United States−8Playoff Ben Hogan1,500
1941Craig Wood United States−83 strokes Byron Nelson1,500
1940Jimmy Demaret United States−84 strokes Lloyd Mangrum1,500
1939Ralph Guldahl United States−91 stroke Sam Snead1,500
1938Henry Picard United States−32 strokes Harry Cooper
Ralph Guldahl
1937Byron Nelson United States−52 strokes Ralph Guldahl1,500
1936Horton Smith (2) United States−31 stroke Harry Cooper1,500
1935Gene Sarazen United States−6Playoff Craig Wood1,500
1934Horton Smith United States−42 strokes Craig Wood1,500
  • In the "Runner(s)-up" column, the years are sorted alphabetically, based on the name of the country of (1) that year's runner-up or (2) the first player listed, in years that have multiple runners-up.
  • The sudden-death format was adopted in 1976, first used in 1979, and revised in 2004.[90]
    • None of the 11 sudden-death playoffs has advanced past the second hole; four were decided at the first hole, seven at the second.
  • Playoffs prior to 1976 were full 18-hole rounds, except for 1935, which was 36 holes.

Low amateurs

In 1962 the Masters began presenting an award, known as the Silver Cup, to the lowest-scoring amateur to make the cut. In 1954 they began presenting an amateur silver medal to the low amateur runner-up. There have been six players to win low amateur and then go on to win the Masters as a professional. These players are Cary Middlecoff, Jack Nicklaus, Ben Crenshaw, Phil Mickelson, Tiger Woods and Sergio García.

YearChampionCountryTo parPlace
1934Charlie Yates United States+9T21
1935Lawson Little United StatesE6
1936Johnny Dawson United States+6T9
1937Charlie Yates (2) United States+13T26
1938Tommy Suffern Tailer United States+10T18
1939Chick Harbert
Charlie Yates (3)
 United States
 United States
1940Charlie Yates (4) United States+5T17
1941Dick Chapman United States+9T19
1942Charlie Yates (5) United States+16T28
1943–45Cancelled due to World War II
1946Cary Middlecoff United States+5T12
1947Frank Stranahan United States−5T2
1948Skee Riegel United States+5T13
1949Charles Coe
Johnny Dawson (2)
 United States
 United States
1950Frank Stranahan (2) United States+9T14
1951Charles Coe (2) United States+5T12
1952Chuck Kocsis United States+9T14
1953Frank Stranahan (3)
Harvie Ward
 United States
 United States
1954Billy Joe Patton United States+23
1955Harvie Ward (2) United States+2T8
1956Ken Venturi United States+22
1957Harvie Ward (3) United StatesE4
1958Billy Joe Patton (2) United StatesE8
1959Charles Coe (3) United StatesE6
1960Jack Nicklaus
Billy Joe Patton (3)
 United States
 United States
1961Charles Coe (4) United States−7T2
1962Charles Coe (5) United StatesET9
1963Labron Harris, Jr. United States+10T32
1964Deane Beman United StatesET25
1965Downing Gray United States+6T31
1966Jimmy Grant United States+11T28
1967Downing Gray (2) United States+9T36
1968Vinny Giles United StatesET22
1969Bruce Fleisher United States+1244
1970Charles Coe (6) United States+4T23
1971Steve Melnyk United States+4T24
1972Ben Crenshaw United States+7T19
1973Ben Crenshaw (2) United States+7T24
1974None made the cut
1975George Burns United States+4T30
1976Curtis Strange United States+3T15
1977Bill Sander United States+1149
1978Lindy Miller United States−2T16
1979Bobby Clampett United States+2T23
1980Jay Sigel United States+1T26
1981Jay Sigel (2) United States+6T35
1982Jodie Mudd United States+6T20
1983Jim Hallet United States+9T40
1984Rick Fehr United StatesET25
1985Sam Randolph United States+2T18
1986Sam Randolph (2) United States+5T36
1987Bob Lewis United States+2154
1988Jay Sigel (3) United States+12T39
1989None made the cut
1990Chris Patton United States+9T39
1991Phil Mickelson United States+2T46
1992Manny Zerman South Africa+6T59
1993None made the cut
1994John Harris United States+17T50
1995Tiger Woods United States+5T41
1996None made the cut
1997None made the cut
1998Matt Kuchar United StatesET21
1999Sergio García Spain+7T38
2000David Gossett United States+15T54
2001None made the cut
2002None made the cut
2003Ricky Barnes United States+321
2004Casey Wittenberg United StatesET13
2005Ryan Moore United States−1T13
2006None made the cut
2007None made the cut
2008None made the cut
2009None made the cut
2010Matteo Manassero Italy+4T36
2011Hideki Matsuyama Japan−1T27
2012Patrick Cantlay United States+7T47
2013Guan Tianlang China+1258
2014Oliver Goss Australia+1049
2015None made the cut
2016Bryson DeChambeau United States+5T21
2017Stewart Hagestad United States+6T36
2018Doug Ghim United States+8T50
2019Viktor Hovland Norway−3T32


Jack Nicklaus has won the most Masters (six) and was 46 years, 82 days old when he won in 1986, making him the oldest winner of the Masters.[23] Nicklaus is the record holder for the most top tens, with 22, and the most cuts made, with 37.[74][91] The youngest winner of the Masters is Tiger Woods, who was 21 years, 104 days old when he won in 1997. In that year Woods also broke the records for the widest winning margin (12 strokes), and the lowest winning score, with 270 (−18). Jordan Spieth tied his score record in 2015.[92]

In 2013, Guan Tianlang became the youngest player ever to compete in the Masters, at age 14 years, 168 days on the opening day of the tournament;[93] the following day, he became the youngest ever to make the cut at the Masters or any men's major championship.[94]

Gary Player holds the record for most appearances, with 52. Player also holds the record for the number of consecutive cuts made, with 23 between 1959 and 1982 (Player did not compete in 1973 as he was recovering from recent surgery). He shares this record with Fred Couples, who made his consecutive cuts between 1983 and 2007, not competing in 1987 and 1994.[74]

Nick Price and Greg Norman share the course record of 63, with their rounds coming in 1986 and 1996 respectively.

The highest winning score of 289 (+1) has occurred three times: Sam Snead in 1954, Jack Burke, Jr. in 1956, and Zach Johnson in 2007. Anthony Kim holds the record for most birdies in a round with 11 in 2009 during his second round.[92]

There have been only four double eagles carded in the history of the Masters; the latest was by a contender in the fourth round in 2012. In the penultimate pairing with eventual champion Bubba Watson, Louis Oosthuizen's 260-yard (238 m) downhill 4 iron from the fairway made the left side of the green at the par-5 second hole, called Pink Dogwood, rolled downhill, and in.[95] The other two rare occurrences of this feat after Sarazen's double eagle on the fabled course's Fire Thorn hole in 1935: Bruce Devlin made double eagle from 248 yards (227 m) out with a 4-wood at the eighth hole (Yellow Jasmine) in the first round in 1967, while Jeff Maggert hit a 3-iron 222 yards (203 m) at the 13th hole (Azalea) in the fourth round in 1994.[96]

Three players share the record for most runner-up finishes with four – Ben Hogan (1942, 1946, 1954, 1955), Tom Weiskopf (1969, 1972, 1974, 1975), and Jack Nicklaus (1964, 1971, 1977, 1981). Nicklaus and Tiger Woods are the only golfers to have won the Masters in three separate decades.


United States television

NetworkYears of broadcast
USA Network19822007

CBS has televised the Masters in the United States every year since 1956,[97] when it used six cameras and covered only the final four holes. Tournament coverage of the first eight holes did not begin until 1993 because of resistance from the tournament organizers, but by 2006, more than 50 cameras were used. Chairman Jack Stephens felt that the back nine was always more "compelling", increased coverage would increase the need for sponsorship spending, and that broadcasting the front nine of the course on television would cut down on attendance and television viewership for the tournament.[97][98][99] USA Network added first- and second-round coverage in 1982.[100] In 2008, ESPN replaced USA as broadcaster of early-round coverage. These broadcasts use the CBS Sports production staff and commentators, but with ESPN personality Scott Van Pelt (succeeding Mike Tirico, who replaced Bill Macatee's similar role under USA Network) as studio host, as well as Curtis Strange as studio analyst.[101][100][102]

In 2005, CBS broadcast the tournament with high-definition fixed and handheld wired cameras, as well as standard-definition wireless handheld cameras. In 2006, a webstream called "Amen Corner Live" began providing coverage of all players passing through holes 11, 12, and 13 through all four rounds.[103] This was the first full tournament multi-hole webcast from a major championship. In 2007, CBS added "Masters Extra," an extra hour of full-field bonus coverage daily on the internet, preceding the television broadcasts. In 2008, CBS added full coverage of holes 15 and 16 live on the web. In 2011, "Masters Extra" was dropped after officials gave ESPN an extra hour each day on Thursday and Friday. In 2016, the Amen Corner feed was broadcast in 4K ultra high definition exclusively on DirecTV—as one of the first live U.S. sports telecasts in the format.[104][105] A second channel of 4K coverage covering holes 15 and 16 was added in 2017,[106] and this coverage was produced with high-dynamic-range (HDR) color in 2018.[107]

While Augusta National Golf Club has consistently chosen CBS as its U.S. broadcast partner, it has done so in successive one-year contracts.[108] Former CBS Sports president Neal Pilson stated that their relationship had gotten to the point where the contracts could be negotiated in just hours.[97] Due to the lack of long-term contractual security, as well as the club's limited dependence on broadcast rights fees (owing to its affluent membership), it is widely held that CBS allows Augusta National greater control over the content of the broadcast, or at least performs some form of self-censorship, in order to maintain future rights. The club, however, has insisted it does not make any demands with respect to the content of the broadcast.[109][110] Despite this, announcers who have been deemed not to have acted with the decorum expected by the club have been removed, notably Jack Whitaker and Gary McCord,[109] and there also tends to be a lack of discussion of any controversy involving Augusta National, such as the 2003 Martha Burk protests.[110]

Coverage itself carries a more formal style than other golf telecasts; announcers refer to the gallery as patrons rather than as spectators or fans. Gallery itself is also used.[111] The club also disallows promotions for other network programs, or other forms of sponsored features.[111] Significant restrictions have been placed on the tournament's broadcast hours compared to other major championships. Only in the 21st century did the tournament allow CBS to air 18-hole coverage of the leaders, a standard at the other three majors.[109] Since 1982, CBS has used "Augusta" by Dave Loggins as the event telecast's distinctive theme music. Loggins originally came up with the song during his first trip to the Augusta course in 1981.[112]

The club mandates minimal commercial interruption, currently limited to four minutes per hour (as opposed to the usual 12 or more); this is subsidized by selling exclusive sponsorship packages to two or three companies – currently these "global sponsors" are AT&T, IBM, and Mercedes-Benz.[111] AT&T (then SBC) and IBM have sponsored the tournament since 2005, joined at first by ExxonMobil, which in 2014 was replaced as a global sponsor by Mercedes-Benz.[113] In 2002, in the wake of calls to boycott tournament sponsors over the Martha Burk controversy, club chairman Hootie Johnson suspended all television sponsorship of the 2003 tournament. He argued that it was "unfair" to have the Masters' sponsors become involved with the controversy by means of association with the tournament, as their sponsorship is of the Masters and not Augusta National itself. CBS agreed to split production costs for the tournament with the club to make up for the lack of sponsorship. After the arrangement continued into 2004, the tournament reinstated sponsorships for 2005, with the new partners of ExxonMobil, IBM, and SBC.[114][115]

The club also sells separate sponsorship packages, which do not provide rights to air commercials on the U.S. telecasts, to two "international partners"; in 2014, those companies were Rolex and UPS (the latter of which replaced Mercedes-Benz upon that company's elevation to "global sponsor" status).[113]

Radio coverage

WestwoodOne (previously Dial Global and CBS Radio) has provided live radio play-by-play coverage in the United States since 1956. This coverage can also be heard on the official Masters website. The network provides short two- or three-minute updates throughout the tournament, as well as longer three- and four-hour segments towards the end of the day.[116]

International television

The BBC had broadcast the Masters in the UK since 1986, and it also provides live radio commentary on the closing stages on Radio Five Live. With the 2007 launch of BBC HD, UK viewers can now watch the championship in that format. BBC Sport held the TV and radio rights through to 2010.[117] The BBC's coverage airs without commercials because it is financed by a licence fee. From the 2011 Masters, Sky Sports began broadcasting all four days, as well as the par 3 contest in HD and, for the first time ever, in 3D. The BBC continued to air live coverage of the weekend rounds in parallel with Sky until 2019, when it was announced that Sky will hold exclusive rights to live coverage of all four rounds beginning 2020. The BBC will only hold rights to delayed highlights. With its loss of live rights to the Open Championship to Sky in 2016, it marks the first time since 1955 that the BBC no longer holds any rights to live professional golf.[118][119][120]

In Ireland, Setanta Ireland previously showed all four rounds, and now since 2017 Eir Sport broadcast all four rounds live having previously broadcast the opening two rounds with RTÉ broadcasting the weekend coverage.[121]

In Canada, broadcast rights to the Masters are held by Bell Media, with coverage divided between TSN (cable), which carries live simulcasts and primetime encores of CBS and ESPN coverage for all four rounds, CTV (broadcast), which simulcasts CBS's coverage of the weekend rounds, and RDS, which carries French-language coverage. Prior to 2013, Canadian broadcast rights were held by a marketing company, Graham Sanborn Media,[122] which in turn bought time on the Global Television Network, TSN, and RDS (except for 2012 when French-language coverage aired on TVA and TVA Sports) to air the broadcasts, also selling all of the advertising for the Canadian broadcasts. This was an unusual arrangement in Canadian sports broadcasting, as in most cases broadcasters acquire their rights directly from the event organizers or through partnerships with international rightsholders, such as ESPN International (ESPN owns a minority stake in TSN). In 2013, Global and TSN began selling advertising directly, and co-produced supplemental programs covering the tournament (while still carrying U.S. coverage for the tournament itself).[123][124]

On December 15, 2015, TSN parent company Bell Media announced that it had acquired exclusive Canadian rights to the tournament beginning 2016 under a multi-year deal. Broadcast television coverage moved to co-owned broadcast network CTV, while TSN uses its expanded five-channel service to carry supplemental feeds (including the Amen Corner feed and early coverage of each round) that were previously exclusive to digital platforms.[125][126]

In 53 countries, including much of Latin America, broadcast rights for the entire tournament are held by the ESPN International networks.[127]


Although tickets for the Masters are not expensive, they are very difficult to come by. Even the practice rounds can be difficult to get into. Applications for practice round tickets have to be made nearly a year in advance and the successful applicants are chosen by random ballot. Tickets to the actual tournament are sold only to members of a patrons list, which is closed. A waiting list for the patrons list was opened in 1972 and closed in 1978. It was reopened in 2000 and subsequently closed once again. In 2008, the Masters also began allowing children (between the ages of 8 and 16) to enter on tournament days free if they are accompanied by the patron who is the owner of his or her badge.[128]

The difficulty in acquiring Masters badges has made the tournament one of the largest events on the secondary-ticket market.[129] A majority of the badges for the Masters are delivered to the same group of patrons, fans, and members each year, and these perennial ticket holders sometimes decide to sell their badges through large ticket marketplaces such as StubHub, TicketCity, and VividSeats. Some of these marketplaces will allow fans to purchase a Masters badge for a single day, as opposed to the traditional 4-day pass.[130]

See also

  • Men's major professional golf championshipsWikipedia book


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