SETTING THE SCENE: We preview the US Masters which gets underway from 6th April ….
The Masters tees off next month on April 6th and promises to bring all of golf’s spectacles, thrills and drama in bags. We have looked back at all of the tournaments over the course of the distinguished event’s history and drawn together a compilation of stats and records that will get you in the mood and set the scene for golf’s finest and most respected major.
Suitably kicking us off is a record held by a legend of the sport who carved his name into golf’s history books on the gorgeous grounds of this illustrious tournament. Jack Nicklaus would have been a legend of the sport even if he had never participated at the Masters, but he has more than just taken part at Augusta National.
Lifting the trophy on the course in Augusta six times, Nicklaus (pictured below) became the most successful golfer in the tournament’s history, marking almost half of his 18 major tournament wins with one of the iconic Green Jackets. Considered by many to be the best player of all time, Nicklaus is a legend at Augusta and earned a plaque on a fountain between holes 16 and 17.
Next up is another golf legend that paved his greatness on the greens at the Masters, winning a third of his major championships in Georgia. While he is still a win away from tying the record set by Nicklaus, with five wins at the Masters, Tiger Woods did set one record that is unlikely to be beaten any time in the foreseeable future.
Bursting onto the scene as a young lad, aged only 21 years and three months, Woods won the Masters and set the record for the youngest player ever to do so – a record that still holds up today. Such was the nature of his win that it is still considered to be the most dominant display ever at the tournament, with the now golfing legend winning the trophy by a whopping 12 strokes. Since the event, he was hailed as the golfer that would truly challenge Nicklaus’ major record and with 15 wins as of 2023, there is still a chance that he will pull it off.
When talking about golf legends, there is one name that always seems to pop up, and his involvement at the Masters is as legendary as any of his other achievements in the sport. Gary Player, a golfer who has had one of the longest careers of all time, appeared in more Masters than anybody else. He featured in 52 versions of the event in a career that spanned over half a century, winning three times, a number that boggles the mind.
The calibre of golf that we will be witnessing at the Masters next month attracts many viewers, and there are millions of fans out there that want to experience the show first-hand. Much like other major sporting events across the globe, The Masters tickets are wanted by many fans, some that will try to acquire tickets for their whole lives and never succeed.
The event is so exclusive, and tickets are so in demand that the odds of winning in the ticket lottery and securing entrance to any of the days of the four-day tournament are inexplicably low. So low that less than one in one hundred people manage to get their hands on the coveted tickets every year; only 0.55% of people vying for access will be granted it, making it more exclusive than Wimbledon.
Much like Wimbledon, the Masters is an icon of the sport. The Masters has helped to make golf what it is today with its instantly recognisable greens, clubhouse and course grounds, but there is no aspect of the Masters more iconic than the Green Jacket. In 1949, the Masters awarded the Augusta National Green Jacket to the winner of the tournament for the first time, a tradition that continues today and remains one of the most sought-after achievements for golf players. Only a select few can wear the Green Jacket in their lifetime, and no player is allowed to keep the jacket for good, returning it to the Augusta National club at the beginning of the next tournament.
While the Green Jacket is a staple of the Masters tournament for the players seeking it, one of its biggest staples to the fans isn’t actually the golf itself, it is one of the many food items on the menu, and it gets everyone talking.
Famed for its sandwiches, this area of Georgia, US, produces one of the most unique snacks at any sporting event in the world; the Pimento Cheese sandwich. In fact, I challenge you to find it on the menu at any other major sporting event worldwide.
It is made up of shredded cheese, mayonnaise and pimento peppers and attracts as many people to Augusta National as the golf itself. The simple sandwich costs only $1.50 and will be the highlight of your day and time at the Masters, and most will be quick to admit they find themselves enjoying it more than once!