History & Tradition
As golf grows increasingly modern with every passing second, The Masters serves as a perfect reminder of what makes golf so incredibly unique as a sport: Tradition. The Green Jacket is perhaps the greatest time capsule in golf.
This is a tournament laden with history. Careers have been made, lives have been changed and legends have been forged on the ultimate stage. When people talk about The Greats, they talk about historic Masters moments; Seve in ’80, Nicklaus in ’86, Tiger in ’97...
It’s Augusta National. Need I say more? No, but I will. The history of The Masters is rich, and Augusta National sits front and centre in that rich history. Magnolia Lane, The Big Oak Tree and Ike’s Pond, Amen Corner and Rae’s Creek… Augusta is packed with features that have become household names to golfers across the globe.
No matter how good, bad or ugly the golf may be, Augusta National ensures an ever-present beauty to The Masters.
We truly have seen it all here. The likes of Greg Norman and Lee Trevino have been tortured on this course, whilst the likes of Nick Faldo and Tiger Woods thrived. The occasion tends to bring emotions to the forefront even before the first tee shot is struck, so come Sunday players are liable to displays of ecstasy and despair beneath the gaze of the world’s eyes.
At just 25-years-old, Jordan Spieth perhaps epitomises the highs and lows of this tournament better than anybody. In five appearances, the American has a third, two runners-up and a win, with his only finish outside the Top-3 being a T11. In 2015 he equalled the tournament record as he stormed to victory, but just a year later he suffered the worst back-nine collapse in tournament history to throw away a five-stroke lead and finish three behind.
There is always room for a twist to the tale. As spectators, there is no doubt that we are right there with the players on that emotional rollercoaster.
Golf is more universally accessible than ever before, with broader broadcasting, more social media and, crucially, more international golf success. That’s not to say that the likes of Gary Player, Seve Ballesteros, Nick Faldo & Co. weren’t half-decent, simply that international golfers are turning out in greater numbers nowadays. Since 2009, we’ve seen 20 non-Americans lift Major trophies and 16 DIFFERENT names etched into those trophies (Martin Kaymer snatched two and Rory McIlroy got downright greedy with four).
In that same ten-year span, America and the rest of the world have split the Green Jackets 50/50. Given that Gary Player’s 1961 Augusta National title- the first for an international golfer- came in the tournament’s 25th edition (enough time for Sam Snead to win all seven of his Majors and Ben Hogan all nine of his), I’d say that The Masters has truly progressed into an international event.
I can’t compare golf from before I was born to the stuff on my telly each week now, but I can definitively say that there have never been this many players vying to be the best in the world. There are so many golfers capable of shooting record-low scores. If, come next Sunday, one of the best golfers in the world is teeing off with a three or five stroke lead, that does not mean that it’s game over. They can’t even just close it out with a level-par round and assume that’ll do the trick. “Safe golf” is dead, and entertainment is more alive than ever.
Past, present and future combine for the perfect blend of nostalgia and anticipation. For all the amazing historic moments we can reminisce about, there is nothing more joyous than knowing that more historic moments lay just around the corner.
Written by Joe Carabini