One of the most elite, prestigious, and traditional golf tournaments begins today. A tournament more prestigious then the scandals and hype that's intertwined within it's sturdy tradition.
A tournament that holds an elite roster containing the names of the best golfers in the world. Talented individuals who undeservedly so, have been swept under the carpet by media in the wake of Tiger Woods, and the circus that follows him.
It takes more dedication then can be typed in words for a player to earn the opportunity to play in such an elite tournament.
Although what's happening is current and relevant, the history and prestige of the Masters this year has been lost in chaos. That's why, with the festivities commencing today, we're going to look past the tournament scandal and into it's lineage.
The Masters is one of the four major championship tournaments in professional golf. Hold onto your peaches, the Masters is the only tournament on the US golf tour that's consistently held in the same location, Augusta, Georgia. The tournament happens the first full week of April, when spring has sprung, and green is the de jour.
The tournament is always played at Augusta National Golf Course, and it's designers, Clifford Roberts and Bobby Jones were the tournament's founders. Upon his retirement in 1933, Bobby Jones sought to create a course he could use to play a leisurely game of golf. It later became one of the most prestigious golf greens on planet Earth. The number of professionals who qualify for The Masters is a much smaller pool then the other tournaments, because it's an invitational event (meaning it's restricted to only an elite group of invited players). There are only fifty players invited from around the world. The tournament is a money tournament, and the pot is quite substantial. If you are lucky enough to be dating a pro golfer, hold onto him tightly, we all know, they've become quite the commodity throughout Vegas and the rest of the country (sorry, couldn't help it, had to throw it in somewhere).
The winner of the tournament is awarded a green jacket. However, the green golf couture must be returned to the clubhouse after a full years use.
The first Green Jacket was awarded in 1949 to Sam Snead, and talk about vintage fabulous, it's the same Green Jacket that hangs in the clubhouse today.
The winner of the Masters receives an automatic bid to play in the other three major tournaments, US Open, The Open Championship, and the PGA Championship. The winner also earns a lifetime invitation to The Masters, and five years consecutive invitations to play in all PGA tournaments. It's truly a gift that keeps on giving, as long as the player keeps on winning!
The opening shot at the Masters is always teed off via a PGA superstar of golf years past. Accompanying superstar for the first two days is the current U.S. Amateur champion. This year Jack Nicklaus and Arnold Palmer have the honors. Arnold and Jack, along with Gary Player dominated the tournament throughout the 60's and 70's, together they were called "The Big Three."
The first Masters winner was Horton Smith in 1934, he won again in 1936. Jack Nicklaus has won the most times, earning the green jacket six times. Tiger Woods was the youngest player ever to win a Masters at just 21 years old, he's since earned the trophy three times more. Last years winner was pro golfer Angel Cabrera, who will play again this year to defend his title.
The Masters can be seen on CBS throughout the USA, and it's being telecast on BBC for those in the UK and elsewhere. If you're looking for tickets, they're hard to come by. You have to put in an application some time in advance just to be entered into a ticket lottery. Looks like the only way to guarantee your ticket is to pick up a club and start practicing, every second of ever minute, every minute of every hour, and every hour of every day.
For some reason this tournament does always have us saying "Fore" and updating our spring closet with the latest from Callaway and Burberry Golf. It will be fun to watch the tournament for the history that it is, not the chaos it's unwillingly become.