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Sports Then and Now

Traditions at the Masters Golf Tournament

Posted on April 11, 2014 by Martin Banks

The Masters Tournament is held every year at the Augusta National Golf Club in Augusta, Ga. Originally established in 1934, the tournament has become perhaps the most renowned on the PGA Tour because of the history and traditions that are associated with it. Organizers have reshaped and redesigned the course over the years, but these traditions remain and will continue to do so well into the future.

Green Jacket


Since 1949, the winner of the Masters has been awarded a green jacket. This golfer is only permitted to keep the jacket until the following year’s tournament, at which time it must be returned to the clubhouse. Past champions are allowed to wear the green jacket that they have won whenever they return to the golf course, but should never wear it anywhere else.


In addition to the green jacket, the winner of the tournament receives a gold medal and has his name engraved on a silver trophy. The trophy was introduced in 1961 and has been awarded to the winner every year since. The winner also receives a smaller replica of the Masters trophy to take home. Other players who accomplish certain feats on the course can also receive awards. For example, any player who scores a hole-in-one or a double eagle is awarded a large crystal bowl, while the golfer with the lowest score on each day receives a smaller crystal bowl.

Champions’ Dinner

In 1952, tournament organizers began holding a dinner for all past champions of the tournament. This dinner takes place on the Tuesday before the tournament and anyone who has won the Masters in the past is permitted to attend. The champion from the year before chooses the menu for this Masters Club event. This is always quite the event. The grounds will be spotless, and rodent traps prevent anything like the groundhog incident from the movie “Caddyshack.”

Amateur Golfers

Because the Masters was originally established by amateur golfer Bobby Jones, the tournament invites some of the top amateurs in the world to participate every year. The U.S. amateur champion always plays in the same group as the defending Masters champion for the first two days of competition. The lowest-scoring amateur player also receives the Silver Cup, which is a tradition that started in 1952. There is even a free place for amateurs to stay during the week at Augusta National Golf Club, as five of these individuals share the “Crow’s Nest,” which sits on top of the clubhouse.

Honorary Tee Shot

Before the tournament can begin, some of golf’s legendary players must make a tee shot on the first hole of the course. This tradition started in 1963 with Fred McLeod and Jock Hutchinson. These two individuals opened every tournament from 1963 to 1973, with McLeod carrying on the tradition solo once Hutchinson’s health began to fade. In 1981, Gene Sarazen and Byron Nelson took over, with Sam Snead joining them in 1984. Today, Arnold Palmer, Jack Nicklaus and Gary Player handle the opening of the tournament and will do so until they decide otherwise.

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