Original article published 17 October 2022
As we reach the first major of the year, from Azalea to Fuzzy Zoeller, here’s an A-Z of everything you need to know about the Masters.
Each hole at Augusta National is named after the tree or shrub associated with it, and there are few more iconic than the 13th – Azalea. The vibrant pink shrub makes it one of the most scenic holes on the course, and had provided a number of unforgettable moments throughout the years.
Phil Mickelson’s escape from the trees onto the green to set up an eagle putt against Lee Westwood in 2010, Nick Faldo’s 2-iron against Greg Norman in 1996…. And of course, Sergio Garcia’s par save en route to victory in 2017, which led to him naming his daughter after the hole.
2012 saw a play-off between Bubba Watson and Louis Oosthuizen. They reached the 10th hole, with Watson’s unforgettable hook out of the trees to save par and win his first major. Never one to hide his emotions, Watson immediately burst into tears on the 10th green, embracing caddie Ted Scott.
Watson would reclaim the Green Jacket two years later.
There are a total of 10 cabins on the grounds of Augusta National, with the Butler Cabin the most famous. While the media photos of the winner receiving his Green Jacket are taken outside, he’ll first put the jacket on in the Butler Cabin, straight after signing his scorecard.
One of the Masters’ many traditions is that the returning champion will set the menu for the Champions’ Dinner before the tournament, with Hideki Matsuyama setting the menu this year.
In 1989, Scotsman Sandy Lyle selected haggis for the Champions’ Dinner, and you can only imagine how that went down with the likes of Jack Nicklaus, Bernhard Langer and Seve Ballesteros…
Younger fans watching the Masters see players step up to the 17th tee with a straight drive ahead of them.
In 2014, the hole’s signature tree – named after President Eisenhower, who requested the pine be cut down so often did he drive into it – was removed after storm damage.
The final par 5 on the course. Downhill, with water protecting the front of the green, the 15th has played host to some of the most iconic shots in the tournament's history.
Gene Sarazen made an albatross en route to victory in 1935, Jack Nicklaus made eagle on Sunday in 1986, as did Sergio Garcia in 2017 - before making a record-breaking 13 the following year as defending champion. Greg Norman fell to his knees in despair in 1996 as his eagle chip ran just past the hole. It's typically the final chance for a contender to make a big move on his rivals.
It’s not just the Green Jacket handed out at the end of the week; The lowest score of the day receives a crystal vase, a hole-in-one or albatross is rewarded with a crystal bowl but most famously, a pair of crystal goblets are given out for every eagle a player makes, with a total of 30 dished out in 2021.
Arguably the most iconic part of Augusta National is the Hogan Bridge.
Taking the players from the fairway to the green on the 12th hole, the bridge was named in recognition of the legendary Ben Hogan’s record score of 274 in 1953.
A big feature of the par 3 course, where the par 3 tournament takes place each Wednesday before the Masters, is Ike’s Pond.
Another Augusta landmark named after President Eisenhower, the 8th and 9th holes of the par 3 course play around the pond.
Arguably the greatest golfer of all time, Jack Nicklaus ruled Augusta National in the 60s and 70s. Through his first 19 appearances as a pro, he missed one cut, won five times, finished top-10 11 more times, and was top-25 the other two.
But despite all of those, his best-known performance came in 1986. Aged 46, Nicklaus staged one of the greatest comebacks in Masters history, ousting the best players in the world to top the leaderboard one final time.
One of golf’s trailblazers, Arnold Palmer, often referred to as The King, won four Green Jackets through the 50s and 60s, and while he didn’t have the longevity of rival Jack Nicklaus, the fanbase he built would last a lifetime.
His remarkable run at Augusta from 1957 reads 7th-1st-3rd-1st-2nd-1st-9th-1st-2nd-4th-4th.
From Gene Sarazen’s ‘shot heard ‘round the world’ in 1935, to Ben Hogan’s record score in 1953, to the dominance of Arnold Palmer, Gary Player and Jack Nicklaus in the 60s and 70s, to the European dominance in the 80s, to the emergence of Tiger Woods in the 90s.
Quite simply, Augusta National is where legends are made.
The greatest drive in all of golf. Lined with magnolia trees to create a canopy, whose shadows create a tunnel as players approach the clubhouse. The 330-yard driveway ends with a roundabout in front of the clubhouse as players get their first sight of Augusta National.
Perhaps the most unfortunate golfer in Masters history, undoubtedly one of the best golfers of his generation, Norman had a number of near-misses at Augusta.
In 1986 he missed a par putt to force a play-off with Jack Nicklaus. The following year saw Larry Mize’s miraculous chip-in on 11 cost him a Green Jacket. Most famous of all was his collapse in 1996 against Nick Faldo, despite holding a six-shot lead on Sunday.
Another tradition at the Masters is the attire of the caddies. While regular tournaments will see caddies typically don a polo and shorts with their player’s name on a bib, all caddies at Augusta will wear white overalls with their player’s name on back in green.
Attendees of the Masters aren’t referred to as spectators, but patrons.
While the majority of PGA Tour events are accompanied with cries of ‘get in the hole’, ‘mashed potato’, ‘bababooey’ and just about any other nonsensical phrase you can think of, such behaviour at Augusta will see a swift ejection from the grounds. Best behaviour is expected.
The Masters has the smallest field of the four majors, with qualification limited to a select and fortunate few.
The top 50 in the Official World Golf Ranking will receive an invitation, as will a number of amateur champions from around the world. Last year’s top 12, and the top four from the other majors receive invites, as will winners of full PGA Tour events.
And of course, there’s a lifetime invitation for anyone who happens to win the Masters.
Running beneath the Hogan Bridge, so many balls have been lost to Rae’s Creek, costing so many players the chance of a Green Jacket.
Winding through Amen Corner, it will drink any ball that falls short of the 12th and 13th greens, and contenders will breathe a huge sigh of relief to see their ball find land after their 12th tee shot.
At a golf club as prestigious as Augusta National, you’d be forgiven for expecting high prices for food on course. But the prices are famously cheap – the best-known menu item is the pimento cheese sandwich – priced at $1.50 last year!
After being stuck on four for 14 years, Tiger Woods claimed his fifth Green Jacket in 2019, moving him one clear of Arnold Palmer and one behind Jack Nicklaus.
From his 12-shot blitz in 1997, to the unforgettable chip-in at 16 in 2005, to returning to the summit in 2019, Woods has done it all.
Breaking countless records over the years, he holds the record for the lowest average (min. 50 rounds), set the record for the lowest score (later tied by Jordan Spieth and broken by Dustin Johnson), and remains the youngest winner.
Despite hosting the top 50 golfers in the world and a handful of others such as past champions and amateurs, the Masters has a habit of throwing out unlikely winners.
Charl Schwartzel, Angel Cabrera and Trevor Immelman all returned at three-figure prices in the last 15 years, with rank outsider Mike Weir overcoming the odds in 2003.
The big-hitting Fijian overcame rivals Tiger Woods, Ernie Els and Retief Goosen to claim the Green Jacket in 2000.
With a three-shot lead going into the final round, Singh recorded a -3 round of 69 to finish three clear of Els, winning his second major.
The long par 4 sees the start of Amen Corner. After a long drive which needs to avoid trees left and right, players are faced with an approach shot with trouble from all sides. Anything short and left will be gobbled up by the pond, and a miss right leaves a tricky chip back down the slope and towards the pond they were likely trying to avoid in the first place.
Alright, he might not be as legendary as some of the names here, but his name does begin with an X, so he makes the A-Z.
In his brief career, Xander Schauffele has become something of a big-game hunter, with nine top-10 finishes in just 18 starts as a pro, though he’s still waiting for his breakthrough.
He shared the lead on Sunday in 2019 before Tiger Woods emerged victorious, and couldn’t catch Hideki Matsuyama last year. But with top-three finishes in the last three years, he’ll fancy his chances of another run this time around.
The 8th hole, the toughest of the par-5s, sees players drive uphill, navigating a big fairway bunker trapping any balls veering right.
Another uphill shot faces players looking to reach the green in two, looking to use the mounds around the green to divert their ball towards the hole and set up an eagle opportunity.
The first man since 1935 – and to date, the most recent – to win the Masters on their debut.
After being six shots behind leader Ed Sneed going into Sunday, Fuzzy Zoeller shot -2 to Sneed’s +4 (having bogeyed 16, 17 and 18), forcing a three-way play-off with Tom Watson joining the pair.
A birdie on the second play-off hole was enough to see Zoeller don the Green Jacket.