The Masters Tournament is now one of the four major championships in professional golf. The difference between The Masters and other major championships is that it is held each year at the same location, which is the Augusta National Golf Club. The project was initiated by Clifford Roberts and Bobby Jones, who designed Augusta National with golf course architect Alister MacKenzie. Today, The Masters Golf Course is known throughout the world but it was not always so popular. Here are 7 amazing facts about Augusta National and The Masters Golf Course that you didn’t know:
1. The club couldn’t afford to pay the first winner of the Masters in 1934, who was Horton Smith. They could not pay any of the top finishers until some 17 club members chipped in for the purse. The financial hardships of the club are legendary as it was founded at the beginning of the Great Depression, which was followed by WWII. At the time, they only had 74 paying members instead of the 1,800 they had planned for.
2. Alister McKenzie, the world reputed golf course designer, died before the course’s grass had been planted. Despite his dedication and ambition to play on the Augusta National, he never did play or see the course in its finished form.
3. The Masters Golf Course was first planned as a 19hole course as per the request of Bobby Jones, one of the founders of Augusta National. However, the idea was dropped not only because of economic reasons but also because the 19th hole would impede the view to the 18th green for patrons watching The Masters. The 19th hole was to give another opportunity to the losing golfer to win back his money in a game of double or nothing.
4. The green jacket, now an icon of the tournament itself, was not meant to be awarded to the Masters winner but was intended as an usher’s coat. Members of the club would wear the green jacket to help fans in attendance spot them easily in case they needed to ask questions. The first time the jackets were worn by golfers was in 1937.
5. During World War II, Augusta National was forced to close in 1942. Instead of glamorous tournaments, the Masters Golf Course accommodated cattle and turkey to make money. However, despite the profits on the turkeys, the project barely broke even. The Masters Golf Course was then reopened in 1944.
6. The first person who coined the term “The Masters” was Clifford Roberts. He first used it in 1938 and the name was adopted in 1939. The tournament was originally known as the Augusta National Invitational Tournament. Bobby Jones was never a fan of The Masters name and used to refer to the tournament as “the so-called Masters.”
7. Augusta National was not the founders’ first choice for the tournament. In fact, they originally petitioned the USGA to host the 1934 US Open, but they were rejected. The tournament was therefore listed unnamed for the first time in a brief note in the PGA 1934 schedule.
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