The Masters is not only just among golf’s major four championships but also unique in the world of sports. A large part of this is due to the customs and rules that the Augusta National Golf Club committee established over the last more than 86 years.
Some are traditional, others are relatively recent, but all are now synonymous with The Tournament as well as Augusta National overall. Each one is expected to be a key player in Augusta National’s experience for the years to come in the future.
We’ve waited for a whole year for The Masters week to begin. Each year, there are several aspects that are unique to The Masters, which make it the prestigious event. Below are our top 10 notable traditions of The Masters Tournament:
The most prestigious Masters tradition and the one that many players are not aware of is the infamous Green Jacket awarded to the winner.
Although it appears that this jacket was a part of the competition for years, it was actually first presented in 1949, fifteen years from the time The first Masters was held.
At first, the green jackets were reserved for Augusta National members and were worn during The Tournament time so that players would know who to go to for assistance.
In 1949, it was decided that the winner would also receive the jacket. Winners are permitted to keep it for a year prior to taking it back on the club’s premises.
The same year, jackets were created for the previous winners, and each winner wore one of these iconic pieces of clothing.
At many tournaments, there’s just one trophy awarded during the week, but at The Masters there are a variety of awards. It’s a custom at the event for players who have achieved the highest score to be awarded various crystal awards for these achievements.
If a player scores an ace, he gets a crystal bowl. The lowest score of the day is awarded an embossed crystal vase. If you can score an eagle at any time during The Tournament, you’ll end up receiving two glass goblets made of crystal.
3. Pimento cheese sandwiches are The Masters tradition
The Masters’ food and beverage menu offers a wide variety of favorites that are not only popular but also reasonably priced. The Masters included an entrée of chicken salad on Brioche bread, which cost just $3.
Additional menu items included the well-known pimento cheese sandwiches, chocolate chip cookies, and egg salad sandwiches. The cheese bread spread is typically credited to Late Nick Rangos, a caterer who created it for The Masters for almost forty years.
4. Each tournament begins with a ceremonial opening drive
Since 1963, The Masters has started with a special guest from the past, as the golfer of the past hits an official opening drive to signal the beginning of a new tournament. The tradition was briefly stopped in 1977 before being revived in 1981.
It’s considered to be an honor to be asked to start The tournament with the opening shot and the golfers are now referred to as being “honorary starters” of the Masters.
The past “honorary starters” have included Arnold Palmer, Jack Nicklaus, and Lee Elder, who was the first Black player to play at The Masters.
5. The Big Tree
The Masters is not just what the name suggests, it’s also an annual event for anyone who’s involved in the game.
The location where people who are important meet in Augusta National is a huge historic oak tree that was planted in 1850, just outside the clubhouse.
In the week leading up to The Masters, you’ll see Augusta National members, television executives, players, their agents, media professionals, captains of industry, and many others who are involved in the game of golf, chatting around the majestic oak.
Although the event itself is the focus of the attention of many golfers, there is no shortage of activity within this area of the golf course.
6. Champions Dinner
Dinner of the champions is one of the notable traditions of The Masters Tournament. Every year, on Monday during The Masters week, champions from the past and selected Augusta National members to gather in the club’s famous clubhouse to celebrate The Champions Dinner.
The host also selects the menu for dinner. Due to the sheer number of internationals that have won, many of the most talented players have been able to try many different dishes.
It was established in 1952 at the suggestion of two-time The Masters champion Ben Hogan, the dinner is hosted by the champion of the previous year, who gets to select the menu (though the guests are welcome to select from the usual menu whatever they want).
7. The Wednesday par-3 contest
The Masters began life in 1934, during the height of the Great Depression the Masters was never certain to be a success. Club founder Clifford Roberts was constantly looking for ways to increase the appeal of the event to its fans.
From long drive competitions to trick shot demonstrations and training sessions conducted by the top players of today, Roberts always thought that Wednesday during Masters week was about entertaining the crowds before the main event.
The course was constructed in 1958. Roberts made a decision one year later that a mini-tournament on the short course in advance of the major event could be an enjoyable spectacle.
8. The Masters theme song
Anyone who’s spent a moment watching The Masters on TV will have heard of the soft piano melody that plays in the CBS broadcast. The song, which is titled Augusta, was first broadcast in 1982 during The Masters and was composed by Dave Loggins – a third cousin of the famous musician/singer Kenny Loggins.
At one point, caddies were an important element to The Masters. The primary style of play was neither players pulling their own bags nor even motorized pulled carts.
When the number of children engaged in the work dropped at the country club level, clubs were left with no choice but to utilize golf carts.
Naturally, this choice started to generate income, and cart usage increased. There are many high-end clubs that offer caddie services, and if you’ve yet to play an entire round with a caddie it’s a shame you’re not taking advantage of them.
10. Honorary Starters
A club or tournament does not honor its past and former champions in the same way as Augusta National, but the tradition of honorary starters in the event is not derived directly from The Masters but another event that was held at the club.
It’s a relatively unnoticed reality that both in 1938 and 1937, the Senior PGA Championship was played at Augusta National. The two events were won by Jock Hutchison and Fred McLeod respectively.
In 1963, the two were invited to take on the honorary stars role to the world for the very first time during The Masters, and while there were a few gaps between the two, it’s an established tradition that is still in place to this day.
Well, those were ten notable traditions of The Masters Tournament. These traditions are what make The Masters an event that is unique and special. Although this Masters Tournament faced some problems at first, Augusta National started some traditions to address all problems and to make it more acceptable for players.