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The Masters: 6 Reasons Why It’s the Greatest Golf Tournament in the World

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The Masters Tournament, held annually at the iconic Augusta National Golf Club, is regarded as the most prestigious and exciting event in professional golf. From its rich history and time-honored traditions to the unparalleled beauty of the course and the drama that unfolds on the back nine on Sunday, the Masters stands alone at the top of the sport.

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In this post, we’ll explore our list of the top six reasons why the Masters remains the greatest golf tournament in the world. We’ll explore the legacy of co-founder Bobby Jones, the tournament’s unwavering commitment to tradition and consistency, the unmatched fan experience, and the breathtaking beauty of Augusta National. We’ll also examine the Masters’ pioneering spirit in embracing innovation, the unrivaled drama of Amen Corner, and the unique lexicon that has become synonymous with the tournament.

Check out our Masters content, including our running list of the best promos, deals, and authentic merchandise, as well as our book recommendations and articles about the course’s history and those who have shaped it.

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Legacy

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The legacy of Bobby Jones, the greatest amateur golfer of all time and the only winner of golf’s Grand Slam, has contributed immensely to the prestige and allure of the Masters tournament. As the co-founder and visionary of Augusta National and The Masters, Jones’ reputation as an epic winner and sportsman brought instant credibility to the event. His remarkable accomplishments as a player laid the foundation for the Masters’ illustrious reputation.

After retiring from competitive golf at 28, Jones partnered with investment banker Clifford Roberts to establish Augusta National Golf Club and the Masters tournament. His vision was to create a golf course and event that would epitomize the game’s highest standards, reflecting his values of sportsmanship, integrity, and respect for tradition.

Jones’ involvement in every aspect of Augusta National’s design and the Masters’ inception ensured that his legacy would be forever intertwined with the tournament. His status as the game’s grandest figure was a huge draw, his pursuit of perfection and commitment to upholding the game’s values have become integral to the Masters’ identity.

Jones’ reputation as a true gentleman of the sport and his unwavering adherence to fair play and sportsmanship set the tone for the tournament, elevating it to a level of respect and admiration that transcends mere athletic competition. Through Bobby Jones’ legacy, the Masters has become a celebration of golf’s rich heritage and embodies the sport’s highest ideals.

History and Tradition

The Masters’ origins can be traced back to 1934 when it was first played as the Augusta National Invitation Tournament. It was eventually renamed “The Masters” in 1939. While it is the youngest of the Majors (this year’s edition is the 88th playing of the event), Augusta has been the site of some of the most iconic moments in golf history.

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The tournament has produced countless unforgettable moments, from Jack Nicklaus’ historic victory in 1986 to Tiger Woods’ “win for the ages” in 1997 and emotional comeback win in 2019. Other memorable moments include Ben Crenshaw’s emotional win in 1995, Phil Mickelson’s Major breakthrough, and Tiger’s completion of the “Tiger Slam.” Greg Norman’s epic collapse after leading by 6 heading into Sunday, will go down in history as the Masters’ greatest heartbreak.

Most of the game’s legends have won at Augusta – Sarazen, Hogan, Nelson, Snead, Nicklaus, Palmer, Player, Watson, Ballesteros, Faldo, Mickelson, and Woods – with Jack and Tiger winning 11 Green Jackets between them. Some, such as Greg Norman and, more recently, Rory McIlroy, chased the Green Jacket to no avail. McIlroy needs the elusive win to complete the career Grand Slam and will have to wait another year.

In addition to its history, its customs and traditions set it apart from the rest. As documented in our post “Traditions Unlike Any Other,” the Masters welcomes back past champions each year with the Champions Dinner, invites the players’ families to participate in the annual Par-3, maintains links to the past with the honorary starters, and continues to support the amateur game with special invitations and accommodations for the world’s best amateur players.

Consistency

The Masters is unique in that it is the only one of golf’s Major championships to be held at the same venue during the same timeframe each year. This consistency is a defining characteristic that contributes significantly to the event’s prestige and allure. Fans and players alike are intimately familiar with Augusta’s iconic holes, customs, and landmarks and associate Masters week with the coming of Spring and the birth of a new season.

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While the other three majors rotate courses annually, the Masters has called Augusta National its permanent home since the tournament’s inception in 1934. This steadfast tradition allows for a sense of familiarity and continuity unmatched in the sport.

The timing of the Masters is equally consistent, with the tournament traditionally taking place during the first full week of April each year, barring exceptional circumstances like World War II or the COVID-19 pandemic. This scheduling ensures that the azaleas and other flora at Augusta National are in full bloom, creating a breathtaking natural backdrop that has become synonymous with the Masters experience.

This has enabled the event to cultivate a sense of timelessness and tradition. Players and spectators alike can anticipate the familiar sights, sounds, and challenges that Augusta National presents, and millions have developed their own enduring traditions surrounding the event.

Innovations

While tethered to its customs and traditions, The Masters Tournament has been a pioneer in forward-thinking and innovative approaches, both logistically and technically, since its inception. One of the most notable innovations was the shift from aggregate scores to a live scoring system showing the hole and par relation for the top 10 contenders, a system quickly adopted by other tournaments. The Masters was also the first tournament to place leaderboards throughout the course rather than just near the finishing clubhouse, allowing spectators to follow the action more easily.

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In recent years, the Masters has embraced technology to enhance the viewing experience for fans worldwide. In 2024, IBM significantly enhanced the digital fan experience of The Masters Tournament through a variety of features in The Masters’ app, including video livestreams and real-time data analytics. In 2023, the Masters introduced “Hole Insights with IBM WatsonX,” which crunches current and historical data to offer detailed projections and insight for every hole, using natural language processing to convert statistics and other observations into easily understandable text.

The Masters was also the first tournament to launch a smartphone app with live streaming capabilities. Later, it expanded to tablet platforms and added even more live coverage and video content for fans. Today, the Masters application includes live streaming, fantasy games, live scores, and player tracking, as well as a range of personalization features, such as custom feeds and automated video highlights.

Augusta National’s innovation journey has been marked by a progressive attitude towards technology adoption, which has helped maintain and grow the tournament’s status. From creating themasters.org in 1996 to launching the first Masters Smartphone app in 2009, Augusta National has consistently embraced emerging technologies to ensure they could bring the tournament to a wider audience. The Masters continues to work on a technological roadmap for new digital features and capabilities to engage fan bases worldwide.

Fan Experience

The Masters is renowned for its exceptional fan experience, carefully curated to maintain the event’s rich traditions and preserve its unique atmosphere. The Masters enforces a strict code of conduct for patrons, ensuring a respectful and dignified environment. Running, shouting, and using cell phones are strictly prohibited on the course. This policy helps maintain a sense of decorum and reverence for the game, creating a serene and focused atmosphere for players and fans alike.

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One of the most celebrated aspects of the Masters is the remarkably low prices for concessions. Patrons can enjoy iconic Masters fare like the famous pimento cheese sandwich, beer, and other refreshments at prices that have remained virtually unchanged for decades. This commitment to affordability enhances the overall fan experience and reflects the tournament’s commitment to accessibility. They have also launched “Taste of the Masters,” where you can have authentic concessions delivered to your home to enhance your viewing experience.

Augusta National Golf Club is renowned for its stunning natural beauty, vibrant azaleas, towering pines, and meticulously manicured fairways and greens. This breathtaking setting, combined with iconic landmarks like Amen Corner and the Sarazen Bridge, creates a truly magical atmosphere that captivates fans and immerses them in the tournament’s rich history.

The Golf Shop is a must-visit destination for patrons, offering exclusive merchandise and souvenirs. From caps to golf apparel and accessories, the shop allows patrons to take home a piece of Masters history and tradition. Check out our post on the best promos, deals, and authentic merchandise, where we guide you to the latest and greatest sources to obtain your own piece of history.

Sunday Golf – Masters Loma Bag

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Sunday Golf has developed the Masters edition of its popular Loma bag, perfect for playing your local par-3 or executive course while supplies last. The Loma is a premium, lightweight golf bag for golfers who prefer a minimalist setup. It’s ultra-lightweight, weighing only 1.95 lbs, which makes it ideal for walking the course or taking to the driving range.

Despite its small size, the Loma Bag can hold up to 6-8 clubs, allowing you to carry just the essentials without lugging around a full set of clubs. It has practical features like a built-in stand, an insulated drink pouch, and various storage pockets, which help make your round more convenient and enjoyable.

Sunday Golf specializes in lightweight, minimalist golf bags designed for ease of use and convenience on the course. Their bags, such as the Loma series, are ideal for golfers who prefer to carry fewer clubs and enjoy a quick round. 

These bags often feature comfortable straps, insulated cooler pockets, and enough storage for essential gear. Sunday Golf’s products are appreciated for their portability and functionality, making them a popular choice for golfers looking for a simplified golf experience.

Back Nine on Sunday

The phrase “The Masters doesn’t start until the back nine on Sunday” is a product of the drama-filled final rounds, amazing comebacks, epic collapses, and career-defining moments that have played out over this stretch of holes. However, when the course was initially constructed, Augusta National’s Back Nine, or “Second Nine’ was the first nine.

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In 1934, a year after the course opened, the nines were flipped, primarily due to the challenge and drama created by this stretch. The second Masters, played in 1935, provided validation and a taste of what was to come, with Gene Sarazen’s “Shot Heard Round the World” helping to put the event on the map.

Sunday at the Masters often features a tight leaderboard, with multiple players in contention. This creates a palpable tension as the tournament climaxes, with each shot carrying immense significance. Dramatic comebacks, heartbreaking collapses, and nail-biting finishes have become hallmarks of the Masters’ second nine on Sunday.

The second nine creates immense drama and suspense, with the tough par-4 10th leading into Amen Corner, with “Golden Bell,” perhaps the most famous short hole in the world. Then comes the historic closing stretch, with the par-5 15th, par-3 16th, gettable 17th, and stout home hole. They can completely reshape the leaderboard in minutes, their risk-reward nature forcing players to make critical decisions under intense pressure, leading to unforgettable moments. Nicklaus’ second nine charge in 1986, Larry Mize’s chip-and-run on 11 to win in 1987, and Tiger Woods’ iconic chip-in on the 16th hole in 2005, with the ball literally hanging on the lip, were some of the most memorable shots in Masters history.

Did You Know?

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Through the years, the Masters has developed its own distinct lexicon, with certain terms and phrases becoming deeply ingrained in the sport’s culture. This specialized language adds to the event’s mystique and tradition.

In addition to normalizing terms such as “Rae’s Creek,” “Magnolia Lane,” and “Amen Corner,” the tournament has a unique list of acceptable terminology, with very specific guidelines for what commentators and broadcasters can and cannot say during the event.

  • Augusta National does not have a front and back nine, there is a “first nine” and a “second nine”
  • Fans and spectators are referred to as “patrons”
  • There is no rough at Augusta National, it is called the “second cut”

Further Reading – Books and AudioBooks

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With Audible Plus, the world’s best audio entertainment is at your fingertips. For a review of the benefits and multi-tasking opportunities provided by auditory learning, see our post “Enhance Your Productivity, Enhance Your Game WIth Audiobooks.”

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Seven Days in Augusta
by Mark Cannizzaro

Summary: The Masters is unquestionably the crown jewel of golf’s major tournaments, not only for the transcendent performances it has inspired over the years, but for the incomparable sights and sounds of Augusta National and its environs, each distinct element contributing to the storied, rarefied atmosphere which draws tens of thousands to Georgia each spring.

Seven Days in Augusta spans everything from the par-3 contest, to Amen Corner, to Butler Cabin. Mark Cannizzaro goes behind the scenes of the exclusive competition, covering wide-ranging topics including green jacket rituals, tales from The Crow’s Nest atop the clubhouse, the extreme lengths some fans have gone to acquire tickets, and what goes on outside the gates during Masters week. Also featuring some of the most memorable and dramatic moments from the tournament’s history, this is an essential, expansive look at golf’s favorite event.

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Shouting at Amen Corner
by Ron Green

Summary: Shouting at Amen Corner is a collection of the best of Ron Green’s columns and articles from his 45 years of covering the Masters for The Charlotte News and The Charlotte Observer. It’s a book about Hogan, Palmer, Nicklaus, Watson, Faldo, and Woods; but it’s also about Norman, Weiskopf, Miller, and others who have come so close, only to see the Green Jacket slip away at the last moment.

This book is unique in that it recounts history as it was being made and offers a special intimacy and perspective. Not a behind-the-scenes expose about members, money, and power, but a story of golf’s greatest showcase event and the players who have created cherished memories over the last five decades.

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The Spirit of St Andrews
by Alister McKenzie

Summary: Alister MacKenzie was one of golf’s greatest architects.  He designed his courses so players of all skill levels could enjoy the game while creating fantastic challenges for the most experienced players.  MacKenzie’s courses, such as Augusta National, Cypress Point, and Pasatiempo, remain in the top 100 today.  

In his “lost” 1933 manuscript, published for the first time in 1995 and now finally available in paperback, MacKenzie leads you through the evolution of golf–from St. Andrews to the modern-day golf course–and shares his insight on great golf holes the swing, technology and equipment, putting tips, the USGA, the Royal & Ancient, and more.  With fascinating stories about Bobby Jones, Walter Hagen, Gene Sarazen, and many others, The Spirit of St.  Andrews gives valuable lessons for all golfers and an intimate portrait of Alister MacKenzie, a true legend of the game.

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The Masters: A Hole-by-Hole History of America’s Golf Classic
by David Sowell

Summary: Discover the secrets of Augusta National with “The Masters” audiobook by David Sowell. This comprehensive guide provides insights into each hole’s history, challenges, and iconic moments. Perfect for both seasoned fans and casual enthusiasts, gain a deeper understanding and appreciation for the tournament with this audio tour.

So, the next time you’re watching the Masters on TV, you’ll have a newfound respect for what it takes to conquer Augusta. And who knows? The strategic insights might just help you tackle your local course a little more skillfully.

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Making the Masters
by David Barrett

Summary: Making the Masters by David Barrett provides the origin story of the Masters tournament, detailing how Bobby Jones and Clifford Roberts conceived it in the 1930s and quickly established itself as one of golf’s most prestigious events. The book chronicles how Jones and Roberts built the tournament from the ground up despite tough economic times, highlighting key events, winners, and moments that shaped its legacy over the years.  Barrett’s comprehensive history shares little-known stories about the Masters and the many golfers who have defined its prestige as one of America’s greatest sporting events.

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