Timeless Masters Tournament TraditionsApril 8, 2014
The azaleas at August National Golf Club are preparing to bloom, announcing the start of the 2014 Masters Tournament. Heralded as one of the largest sporting events of the year, The Masters Tournament is as much of a production as it is a golf competition. There's no other golf tournament that packs as much pomp and circumstance into one week quite like the Masters. Take a look at the timeless traditions that make the Masters Tournament so magical.
The Masters Par 3 contest is a family affair. Held the Wednesday before the tournament, players enjoy a lighthearted round before the real competition sets in. Participants include Masters players, as well as former Champions and honorary guests. Family, friends and children serve as caddies, bringing the home field advantage right to the course. The nine hole course is located on the grounds of Augusta National. To date, no competitor has been able to win both the Par 3 contest and the Masters Championship.
Masters Champions Dinner
This isn't your average dinner party. Since 1952, the exclusive brotherhood of past Masters Champions have gathered together to break bread before the start of the tournament. The menu? Masters choice. The dinner menu is selected and paid for by the prior year's winner. Past menus have included everything from hamburgers and milkshakes, to South African blood sausage. It's truly a meal fit for a master. You can see the selections since 1986 for the Masters Champions dinner here.
The first drives of the tournament belong to special guests. Starting in 1963, the Masters Tournament has teed off with drives from honorary starters, usually former PGA tour players. Jock Hutchinson and Fred McLeod were the first honorary starters. Hutchinson won two major championships in his golf career, and also won the first Senior PGA Championship played at Augusta National. McLeod played in the first four Master tournaments. Legendary golfers like Arnold Palmer and Jack Nicklaus have also served as honorary starters.
The Green Jacket
Winners of the Masters tournament are outfitted with the famous green jacket. The jacket must remain at August National Golf Club, the only exception is for a first time champion who gets to keep the jacket for one year. The prior year's winner presents the new champion with the custom-fit jacket during the award ceremony. Why a green jacket? In 1937, members of Augusta National Golf Club wore green jackets to the tournament to stand out amongst the crowd. However, heavy coats in the spring southern heat quickly became unfavorable. The jackets were redesigned and reserved for winners.
Each year, professional golf changes just a little. New talent joins the ranks of the world's top golfers, tournament sponsors trade hands and the game changes just a little. But The Masters Tournament is constant, a perfect mix of competition and custom that makes the tournament so fun to watch.
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