What makes the Masters so unique

What makes the Masters so unique

With the 2015 Masters almost upon us we thought we would take a different look at Golf’s first major.  The Masters is famous the world over for its pristine fairways and greens as well as the perfect azaleas.  However the richness of the Masters is in its many unique traditions, long may they continue. 

Have you ever wondered why the winner receives a green jacket as opposed to a trophy of some sort?  The green jacket dates back to 1937 when members were asked that year to wear a green jacket so they would be easily recognizable to spectators if they needed assistance.  The jacket soon became to symbolize membership to the exclusive Augusta National Club and became ultra desirable. 

The first Masters jacket was slipped onto the winner in 1949 and symbolized a golfer’s entry into the even more exclusive club of Masters Champions.   Sam Snead was the first champion to slip on the Green jacket back in 1949.

Did you know that winner of the Masters can take home their jacket but they must return it back to the clubhouse the following year?  Past champions can then only wear their green jackets at Augusta.  You also only get one jacket even if you are a multiple winner of the Masters like Bubba, Phil Michelson or Tiger.

Another unique tradition at the Masters is the Champions Dinner, the Champions Dinner dates back to 1952 when the great Ben Hogan suggested the idea and then went on to host the first dinner.  In order to get an invite you have to be a past Masters champion.  They sit down to the feast the Tuesday before the competition starts; the previous year’s winner selects the menu which is usually a traditional dish from their country of origin.  The past champions then welcome the new winner to the Masters Champions Club. 

The menus are made widely available to the public so we can get a flavor of what’s on offer at the Champions Dinner. In 1997 Nick Faldo’s Champions Dinner consisted of fish and chips, in 95 it was Paella courtesy of Jose Maria Olazabal or Haggis in 89 at Sandy Lyle’s Champions Dinner.  Here’s hoping to some Irish stew or a bit of savage Bacon and Cabbage in 2016 if we have an Irish winner in 2015.  The Masters of course is the only major left that has so far eluded Irish golfers .

Another fantastic tradition at Augusta is the green jacket presentation in the famous Butler Cabin.  The new Masters champion, the previous year’s winner, the leading amateur and Augusta officials all gather there after the tournament.  The new champion is then presented with his green jacket by the previous year’s winner. 

Did you know this all takes place in the basement at Butler Cabin?  Butler Cabin was built in 1964 and named after Thomas Butler, an Augusta National member of the time. It is located between the clubhouse and the Par-3 Course. The cabin was first used by CBS in 1965.

Another Masters tradition which is open to all Masters Participants, past winners and Augusta member’s invitees is the Par 3 Competition.  The Par 3 Competition is played on the Wednesday before the competition starts and dates back to 1960.  A fun event where player’s families, wives and girlfriends get kitted out in the famous boiler suits and become a caddy for the day.

The competition is played over 27 holes and would you believe Padraig Harrington has actually won the Par 3 Competition the most times, his three wins came in 2003, 2004 and 2012.  Here’s hoping he can add a green jacket to his three majors. 

The Masters, a bastian of tradition and steeped in golfing legend.

By Dan Cole

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