Sam Snead and Ben Hogan with Bobby Jones at the Masters

Through the ages many of golf’s greats have earned the right to don the Green Jacket. Sarazen, Nelson, Hogan, Snead, Palmer, Nicklaus, Ballesteros, Faldo, Watson, and Woods.

A 21-year-old from Texas, Jordan Spieth broke all the records and has become yet another, in the long line of great champions.

Perhaps more impressive are the greats that failed to win at Augusta. Greg Norman finished runner-up on three separate occasions at the Masters. How can we ever forget the Larry Mize chip-in to deny Norman in 1987 or the six-shot melt down in 1996 that allowed Nick Faldo to win. Tom Weiskopf was one of the most dominant players of his time and always performed well at Augusta, but finished runner-up four times. Johnny Miller was involved in some of the most memorable Masters battles of all time, but he too only had three second-place finishes in his career.

The two men that have won the Masters over the previous three years, Adam Scott and Bubba Watson validated their golfing careers. Scott became the first Australian to win at Augusta and Watson wowed golf fans twice with his length and complete domination of Augusta National.

The Masters was conceived by Bobby Jones, the greatest amateur of all time and the only golfer to win all four major championships in a calendar year. He won the U.S. Open, Both British Amateur and Open Championships and the U.S. Amateur in 1930. Only four men other than, Jones, Gene Sarazen, Gary Player, Jack Nicklaus and Tiger Woods have won all four major championships in their career.

Bubba Watson slips the Green Jacket on Jordan Spieth.

The Green Jacket has become the ultimate symbol of success and tradition. It is awarded by the defending champion in a ceremony inside the Butler Cabin on the grounds of Augusta National.

The reigning Masters Champion is allowed to take his Green Jacket off the grounds for the year. It was worn by Mike Weir to drop the first putt at an NHL hockey game. Phil Mickelson wore his to pick up donuts with his kids and Gary Player is the only player to still have his, as he conveniently forgets to return it each year.

The stated mission of the Masters is to host a golf tournament for the enjoyment of the competitors and fans. It never disappoints.

The 2015 Masters Tournament is now complete and a new champion has received his Green Jacket. I have a feeling he will win many more before his time is over.

 

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Adam Scott awards the Green Jacket to Bubba Watson winner of the 2014 Masters

With the first PGA Tour major tournament of the season, the Masters, teeing off on Thursday, April 9, here are some facts and information that may come in handy when watching the coverage.

Augusta National, the home of the Masters Tournament, was designed by famed golf architect Dr. Alister McKenzie in conjunction with Grand Slam winner, Bobby Jones. The course was co-founded by Jones and Clifford Roberts with construction being completed in 1933. The first tournament, the Augusta National Invitational, was won by Horton Smith in 1934.

For the first five years the tournament was known as the Augusta National Invitational, because Jones felt the Masters sounded to pretentious.  The tournament grew to be a major out of respect for Jones and Augusta National’s habit of always identifying the best players of the day.

The course was built on a former nursery and remnants of the exotic and beautiful plants remain today. Each hole is named after a flower that is prevalent on the course, Azalea, Holly, Carolina Cherry and Magnolia are just a few examples.

In 1940 the course only measured 6,800 yards, but given modern technology, as well as, bigger and stronger athletes, it has been stretched to over 7,400 yards. The course is forgiving from the tee with many open driving holes. The difficulty arises when players assess their second shots. Approach shots must find favorable locations on the greens or face dire consequences.

Built on a former nursery, Augusta National is awash with color.

Severe undulation and slick greens can leave impossible putts or chips. Winds that swirl through the majestic pines affect ball flight and makes club choice even more difficult.

History tells us the tournament doesn’t begin until the back 9 on Sunday afternoon. Holes 11-13 comprise “Amen Corner,” so aptly named by Herbert Warren Wind in a 1958 article in “Sports Illustrated.” It has been the sight of great drama and heartbreak over the 81 year history of the event.

The two par-five holes on the back side, Nos. 13 and 15, both offer eagle and birdie opportunities for a well-placed drive. Rae’s creek is always ready to catch an errant second shot if a player gets too greedy and it has drowned many golfers’ dreams of donning the Green Jacket.

The tournament annually identifies the greatest golfers of their era, Gene Sarazen, Byron Nelson, Ben Hogan, Sam Snead, Arnold Palmer, Jack Nicklaus and Gary Player are all in the World Golf Hall of Fame and all won multiple Green Jackets.

The tournament has spawned many traditions over the years, the Champions Dinner, the Par-3 contest, Honorary Starters, Pimento cheese sandwiches and the Green Jacket, which is annually given to the winner of the Masters.

Jack Nicklaus, Arnold Palmer and Gary Player serve as Honorary Starters at the Masters.

Members are required to wear green club jackets, when they are on the premises, but they are never to leave the grounds. The Masters champion is allowed to travel with his Green Jacket for one year, but must return it to the course the next year. Gary Player is the only winner to have neglected to return the jacket and still has it today.

The course has many memorable sights that must be viewed, when visiting Augusta National. The Nelson and Sarazen bridges, Butler Cabin, the Par-3 No. 12, the Crow’s Nest, the Mickelson plaque and Magnolia Lane. Golf fans must wait over eight months, from the PGA Championship in August until the Masters the following April, for the next major, which makes the Masters the most highly anticipated major tournament every year.

The Masters is steeped in tradition and is set among the tall pines and rolling hills of eastern Georgia. The colorful pictures on our television screens cannot fully capture the beauty of Augusta National.

It is one of the great sports events on the calendar every year. Rory McIlroy, Bubba Watson and Jordan Spieth should make it another memorable tournament.

 

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The Squeeze is a Unique Blend of Golf, High-Stakes Gambling & Intrigue

March 22, 2015

“Caddy Shack,” “Tin Cup” and “Happy Gilmore” are three of the highest grossing golf movies of all time. With over 20 million Americans that enjoy the occasional round of golf, there is a sizable market that hungers to see golf scenarios acted out on the big screen. Terry Jastrow and his wife, actress Anne Archer, [...]

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Lydia Ko Wins Again & Donates Cash to Tournament Volunteer Party

March 4, 2015

Lydia Ko won her 10th professional title on Sunday at the ISPS Handa New Zealand Women’s Open. It was her second consecutive win after winning the Women’s Australian Open on the LPGA Tour the prior week at historic and difficult Royal Melbourne. This was her second career win at the New Zealand Women’s Open. She [...]

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Lydia Ko Wins Again in ISPS Handa Women’s Australian Open

February 25, 2015

Lydia Ko, just 17 years old, won her ninth professional tournament and sixth career LPGA Tour title at the ISPS Handa Women’s Australian Open last week at Royal Melbourne. Ko posted nine-under-par on the iconic course and finished two strokes ahead of Amy Yang. Another strong young player, Ariya Jutanugarn from Thailand finished in third [...]

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Darren Clarke & Davis Love to Captain 2016 Ryder Cup Teams at Hazeltine

February 18, 2015

The 2016 Ryder Cup captains have been chosen. The European Tour officially announced on Wednesday that Darren Clarke has been chosen to lead the European Team at Hazeltine Golf Club. Although the official U.S. announcement has yet to be made, the Golf Channel leaked the story earlier this week that Davis Love III has been [...]

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Women Are Making Huge Strides & Gaining Equality In Golf

February 16, 2015

Women have long been a minor faction in the hierarchy of the golf world, but three recent events have changed that perspective and have given women access to the boardroom. In September, 2014 The R&A, responsible for overseeing the rules of golf for the world outside of the United States, elected to end their 260-year-old [...]

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Tiger Woods To Step Away From Golf For Now

February 12, 2015

Tiger Woods announced via his website, TigerWoods.com, that his back is feeling better, but he needs to work on his game and would return to tournament golf soon. How soon is the question. Woods made his 2015 debut two weeks ago at the Waste Management Phoenix Open. He posted 73-82 in the first two rounds [...]

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Caddies Want A Piece of the Pie, File $50 Million Lawsuit Against the PGA Tour

February 4, 2015

Over 80 professional caddies that toil on the PGA Tour filed suit in U.S. District Court for Northern California citing that the PGA Tour unlawfully compels caddies to wear logos and other insignia of corporate sponsors on bibs. They also add that the tour prevents caddies from sharing in tens of millions of dollars in [...]

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17-Year-Old Lydia Ko Ascends to No. 1 In Rolex Ranking

February 2, 2015

The last time we saw teenage phenom Lydia Ko, she won the CME Group Championship, hoisted the Race to the CME Globe and pocketed $1.5 million for four-days’ work. She won three titles in 2014, finished third on the money list, with a rookie-record $2.0 million and won LPGA Tour Rookie of the Year going [...]

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