Monday, April 2, 2012

2012 Masters Tournament Preview Part 1: History

The Augusta National Golf Club was founded by Bobby Jones and Clifford Roberts in Augusta, GA in 1933 with the inaugural Masters (this name was not adopted until 1939) being held in 1934.  Horton Smith won that very first tournament and was awarded $1,000 out of a $5,000 total purse.  In contrast Charl Schwartzel won $1,440,000 for first place alone.  It wasn't until 1949 was there a Green Jacket presentation awarded to the winner and the previous winner would place the jacket on the new winner (unless you won back-to-back in which the chairman helps!).

The course is a par 72 and plays 7,435 yards. It is known for such landmarks as Amen Corner and the Eisenhower tree.  To learn more about the Masters and its history.  Check out, it's a great new website they have developed that is very interactive with their history and course breakdown.


Here are some awards you may not have known existed:
Masters Trophy
The Masters Trophy
There's a permanent one in which their name will be engraved at the club house but the winners also receive a replica for their collection.  As well as the green jacket and this trophy, the winner receives a gold medal:
Gold Medal

Runner up will get you this swag:
Silver SalverSilver Medal

As the first loser, you'll still get your name engraved on that permanent Masters Trophy too.

The top amateur and runner up amateur also are awarded trophies as well as to players who have the day's lowest score, a hole-in-one, an eagle, or a double eagle.

  • Jack Nicklaus has won the Masters a record 6 times and is the oldest to have won it at age 46.
  • Jack also finished 2nd on four different occasions. 
  • Tiger Woods has 4 and Phil Mickelson currently has 3 titles.
  • Tiger Woods was the youngest champion in 1997 at age 21 where he also had the largest margin of victory (12 strokes) and best overall score 270 (-18 for the tournament). 
  • Nick Price and Greg Norman hold the low round record of 63 which is also a record any major.
  • The highest winning tournament score last came in 2007 by champion Zach Johnson at 289 or +1 overall.
  • Anthony Kim in 2009 shot a record 11 birdies in his second round at the Masters.
  • In 1956, Jack Burke completed the best all around comeback in history when he was down 8 strokes after the 2nd and 3rd rounds, and 9 a midst the final round before coming back to win
  • Fuzzy Zoeller and Nick Faldo have been down 3 strokes entering the final 3 holes and came up victorious.
  • Fred Couples has the lowest career scoring average for players with over 100 appearances at 71.90
    • For reference, Tiger is at 70.73 and Phil at 71.03 (#1 and #2 for 50-74 total rounds)
  • Gary Player was the first non-American to win in 1961 from South Africa.
  • Since 1977, only one time period included a span of at least 3 American winners in a row (2004-2007).  All other times were 2 or less including a stretch of 4 non-American winners from 1988-1991.
These are the 19 qualifications to make the Master's field.  In fact, the Masters has the smallest field of any major of normally around 90 golfers:
  1. Masters Tournament Champions (Lifetime)
  2. US Open Champions (Honorary, non-competing after 5 years)
  3. British Open Champions (Honorary, non-competing after 5 years)
  4. PGA Champions (Honorary, non-competing after 5 years)
  5. Winners of The Players Championship (Three years)
  6. Current US Amateur Champion (6-A) (Honorary, non-competing after 1 year) and the runner-up (6-B) to the current US Amateur Champion
  7. Current British Amateur Champion (Honorary, non-competing after 1 year)
  8. Current Asian Amateur Champion
  9. Current US Amateur Public Links Champion
  10. Current US Mid-Amateur Champion
  11. The first 16 players, including ties, in the previous year's Masters Tournament
  12. The first 8 players, including ties, in the previous year's US Open Championship
  13. The first 4 players, including ties, in the previous year's British Open Championship
  14. The first 4 players, including ties, in the previous year's PGA Championship
  15. The 30 leaders on the Final Official PGA Tour Money List for the previous calendar year
  16. Winners of PGA Tour events that award a full-point allocation for the season-ending Tour Championship, from previous Masters to current Masters
  17. Those qualifying for the previous year's season-ending Tour Championship
  18. The 50 leaders on the Final Official World Golf Ranking for the previous calendar year
  19. The 50 leaders on the Official World Golf Ranking published during the week prior to the current Masters Tournament
Here is a list of past champions not participating in this year's Masters as they discourage playing at an advanced age:
  • Tommy Aaron
  • Jack Burke Jr.
  • Billy Casper
  • Charles Coody
  • Nick Faldo
  • Raymond Floyd
  • Doug Ford
  • Bob Goalby
  • Jack Nicklaus
  • Arnold Palmer
  • Gary Player
  • Fuzzy Zoeller
Check back tomorrow when the pairings are announced and I'll give you the breakdown of the ones to keep your eye on the first 2 rounds!