As one of the most celebrated annual golf tournaments of all time, The Masters is truly a showcase of the very best talent that professional golf has to offer. With the 2014 Masters Tournament now underway, it only seems to fitting to look back on the rich history of this storied event.
The Masters is unique in many ways. Perhaps its most unique aspect is that, unlike the other three major championship tournaments, it is always hosted at the same location: Augusta National Golf Club. Opened in 1933, Augusta National is widely celebrated as one of the world’s greatest golf courses. But since Augusta is a private course, many people never get the chance to play it.
Started by legendary golfer Bobby Jones and Clifford Roberts, The Masters has been played every year since 1934. The only exceptions are between the years of 1943 and 1945, when the U.S. was engaged in the Second World War. Even though Bobby Jones was integral to starting the tournament, he never played in it competitively.
The greatest Masters performance in history was put on by Tiger Woods in 1997. While other famous golfers—including the likes of Jack Nicklaus, Arnold Palmer, and Ben Hogan—have had double-digit under par scorecards, Tiger bested them all turning in a scorecard that was 18 shots under par. Tiger’s legendary 1997 Masters run also came with the largest margin of victory by any player—12 strokes better than his closest competition.
Here are some more interesting facts about The Masters:
- The first event in 1934 was won by Horton Smith, an accomplished professional golfer who would go on to win the event again in 1936.
- The first-place prize money tends to increase every few years. Last year, winner Adam Scott took home over $1.4 million.
- There has been a playoff to decide the winner of The Masters 16 different times.
- Before 1976, a playoff consisted of an entire 18-hole round.
- Jack Nicklaus holds the most Masters titles with six.
- Hailing from South Africa, Gary Player was the first Masters winner not to be from the United States. He won the event in 1961.
- Guan Tianlang is the youngest player to ever play at The Masters. At the 2013 event—his first—he was just 14 years old.
- Three times The Masters has been won by a scorecard that wasn’t under par—and each time those scorecards were +1.
- There have been four double eagles in Masters history, most recently in 2012 by Louis Oosthuizen.
The Masters is one of the most exciting, highly anticipated events in all of golf. Be sure you don’t miss this year’s action! If you’d like to watch this year’s event for free on your computer, you can do that here.