10 Fun Facts About the Masters
With the 2022 Masters right around the corner, golf enthusiasts worldwide are itching to see who will duke it out for the coveted green jacket this year. After Hideki Matsuyama’s showstopping one-stroke victory last year, we’ve got plenty to be excited about for this year’s PGA tour.
Beyond the Green Jacket
The Masters is arguably the biggest golf tournament in the world, so naturally it comes with its own set of interesting tidbits and oddities. If you’ve ever wondered how the green jacket tradition started (along with other Masters traditions), then you’re in the right place! Read on to learn our roundup of ten fun facts about the Masters.
1) All That Glitters Is Green
Those in the golf world know that a player wearing a green jacket means business. Either they’re a member of the highly exclusive Augusta National Golf Club or they’re a Masters champion themselves.
But how did it get started? The debate is split down the middle. On one hand, legend says that Augusta National co-founder and golf pro, Clifford Roberts, thought of the green jackets as a way to identify club members who knew their stuff when it came to golf (or at the very least, who would foot the bill at dinner). The other story, in contrast, says that one of the other club co-founders, Bobby Jones, once attended a Royal dinner in Liverpool, England. The club members there were all wearing matching jackets, and Jones (allegedly) liked it so much that he brought it back with him to his own golf club.
As for the real story? Who knows. All we know is that it’s hard to look bad in Masters Green (otherwise known as Pantone 342!).
2) Winners Can Play for Life
Wouldn’t it be nice if a major sports championship meant you were in the running for time immemorial? With the Masters PGA tour, it does. Masters champions are eligible to compete in the tournament for life once they secure a win. All the more reason to hit the driving range and work on that regrip.
3) A Sport with Scottish Roots
As for the sport itself, golf traces its roots all the way back to 15th-century Scotland, where the first iteration of the game had players attempting to hit stone pebbles over sand dunes. Obviously, the sport has come a long way since, and in no small thanks to King James IV of Scotland. He loved the sport so much that he overturned the ban on the sport originally issued by King James II in 1457.
Don’t write Jimmy the Second off just yet, though; Scots loved this game so much during this time that Scottish soldiers often ditched their military training to go play it. You can’t blame a monarch for taking steps to defend his country!
4) Nicklaus for the Win
If you think winning the Masters is hard, try winning it six times in a row! That’s exactly what golf icon Jack Nicklaus did, who won the tournament in 1963, 1965, 1966, 1972, 1975, and 1986. Suddenly that extra putting tee practice seems worth it…
5) World War II Stopped the Tournament for Three Years in a Row
It was a world war, so you really can’t blame the tournament coordinators for putting the kibosh on it. But that’s exactly what happened to the PGA tour during this period, when it wasn’t held from 1943 to 1945. Interestingly enough, the next postponement of the tour wouldn’t happen until 2020, when the world was just learning how to wrangle the first waves of the COVID-19 pandemic.
6) The World’s First 18-Hole Course Wasn’t Baa-d at All
Sheep puns aside, the world’s first 18-hole golf course was set up on a sheep farm! Back in 1892, a businessman and golf fan by the name of Charles Blair McDonald built this 18-hole course for him and his friends to enjoy in Downer’s Grove, IL. Known as Downer’s Grove Golf Course, you can still play a round on it today, only it has since been downsized to nine holes from 18.
7) What’s in a Golf Ball Anyway?
The answer? Just about anything it seems, when you take a look at the history behind golf balls. Back in its nascent days, people were still figuring out what materials made the best golf balls, trying everything from wood to feathers, and eventually landing on pressurized rubber. Extensive research (i.e., avid golfers) has discovered that wooden golf balls often needed to be replaced relatively quickly, giving way to today’s sturdier and longer-lasting versions.
8) Magnolia Lane Is Aptly Named
You can find the entrance to the Augusta National Golf Club on the picturesque Magnolia Lane, which touts a row of gleaming magnolia trees that serve as the street’s namesake. While these trees date back to the 1850s, the nearly 1000-feet road leading to the clubhouse entrance was only paved in 1947.
9) What’s with the Three Bridges?
If you’ve ever wondered why the Sarazen, Hogan, and Nelson Bridges are named as such, it’s to honor three of the sport’s latest and greatest players: Gene Sarazen, Ben Hogan, and Byron Nelson, respectively. Sarazen’s bridge commemorates his double eagle at Hole 15 during the 1935 tournament, Hogan’s bridge at the No. 12 green honors his then-record score of 273 at the 1953 tournament, and Nelson’s bridge is in memory of his plays at holes No. 12 and 13 of the 1937 Masters tournament, which he would go on to win.
10) I Like Ike, and Ike Likes Golf
To this day, President Dwight “Ike” Eisenhower is the only U.S. President to have ever been a member of the Augusta National Golf Club. He is also the namesake of Ike’s Pond, a three-acre plot on the par-3 course near hole No. 9. This nine-hole layout also happens to be where the traditional Par 3 Contest is held on Wednesday of Masters week.
Get Your Clubs ReadyThe Masters 2022 kicks off April 7th, which still gives you plenty of time to brush up on your PGA tour knowledge (and maybe some time to learn how to regrip properly, while you’re at it!). Hopefully, we’ve given you some new factoids to toss around at your local club or golf course. Thanks for reading and check back for the latest updates on our blog.