Now that the 2019 Masters is almost here, Jim Nantz can once again assure us that we are in for “a tradition unlike any other.”

But it’s not simply Nantz’s incessant use of his Masters catchphrase that convinces us that golfing at Augusta National is as extraordinary as when Alan Shepard used the moon as a practice range.

The approach road into Augusta National is flanked with trees that were established before the Civil War, and as soon as visitors drive down Magnolia Lane, they are blasted with Masters memorabilia and lore.

Rae’s Creek, the meandering creek in the center of Amen Corner that swallows up balls that fail to reach the 12th green, is just one of several golfing monuments dotting the course. Looking in one direction, you’ll see a stone bridge spanning the gap, dedicated to golfing great Ben Hogan. If you turn around, you’ll see another Byron Nelson pedestrian crossing.

CBS’s broadcasting headquarters, Butler Cabin, will be a constant source of historical context throughout the length of the tournament. Each year, the winner of the Masters Tournament receives a green jacket as a symbol of his victory.

It’s tempting to conclude that this must have been the original site of golf.

But here’s the catch: The Masters is the youngest of golf’s four major championships, having been held for the first time in 1934.

Even while the Magnolia Lane trees were still young, the British Open was in full swing. The first U.S. Open was played in 1895. Even the PGA Championship can trace its roots back to 1916.

In that case, how did the Masters get their status? How did it surpass those other outstanding tournaments that started earlier to become the most prestigious golf tournament in the world?

Multiple explanations may be given for this inquiry. First, let’s back up and look at the very beginning.

David Cannon/Getty Images

Instant allure

The inaugural Masters in 1934 also marked Bobby Jones’ comeback to competitive golf after sweeping what were then called the four Grand Slam tournaments of golf: the British Open, the British Amateur, the U.S. Open, and the U.S. Amateur.

Jones had unexpectedly left at the age of 28, at the zenith of his career. Imagine if Jack Nicklaus, Arnold Palmer, or Tiger Woods had abruptly retired from golf after reaching celebrity status.

So, yeah, Jones’ comeback was a huge event, and all of the sports reporters flying home following the end of spring training in Florida were more than pleased to add a trip in Augusta to their schedules.

Augusta National was founded by Bobby Jones (left) and Clifford Roberts. Horace Cort

Jones finished 13th as Horton Smith won the first Masters (which was formerly known as the Augusta National Invitation Tournament until 1939), but it didn’t matter in the end. The media had found Augusta National and disseminated the information.

Gene Sarazen won the following Masters by forcing a playoff on the par-five 15th hole with what is perhaps the most famous double eagle in golfing history.

Dream Team

From the second Jones, Augusta National was advertised as a duffer’s paradise, and famed golf architect Alister MacKenzie started sculpting an abandoned 365-acre plant nursery known as Fruitland.

With the establishment of Cypress Point on the California coast, Mackenzie cemented his status, and Jones, who wrote about golf and developed instructional films, was the sport’s preeminent expert in America.

It was a no-brainer squad, much like when Phil Jackson introduced Michael Jordan to the triangle scheme. Clifford Roberts, though, was a crucial third cog.

Roberts and Jones co-founded Augusta National, and he served as the club’s chairman for 45 years before committing himself on the course in 1977.

Roberts had a Wall Street experience, and with his economic acumen and Jones’ popularity, the two were able to gather the funds required to kick-start Augusta National despite the fact that the Great Depression had battered the economy almost to submission.

A timetable unlike any else

If a discussion were to be conducted to identify the world’s most famous golf course, the debate would almost definitely boil down to Augusta National and the Old Course at St. Andrews, both in Scotland.

St. Andrews, often known as “the home of golf,” goes back to the 1400s. However, it gets very infrequent exposure as a Grand Slam event venue. St. Andrews has hosted the British Open once every five years since 1990, and it has hosted a total of 14 British Opens since the Masters began.

The US Open and PGA Championship, like the British Open, alternate venues.

However, Augusta National is preparing to hold its 78th Masters, and the last time it wasn’t a major event on the golf calendar was during a three-year hiatus during World War II.

Augusta National receives more worldwide attention than any other course because to its annual exposure. As a spring sporting rite, the Masters ranks among the NCAA basketball tournament and baseball’s opening day.

And why was the April date so smartly chosen from the start? Because Jones and Roberts thought they’d never be able to host the US Open later in the year, when temperatures at Augusta would be too high.

Arnie, Ike and CBS

Arnold Palmer was a crucial factor in raising the status of the Masters. CORT, HORACE

Have you ever heard of the Western Open? It was formerly played from Tennessee to California before relocating to Chicago, where it became the BMW Championship. And once upon a time, many people thought it was significant.

For a long time, the advent of professional golf and fall in interest in the US and British amateur championships left the sport without four widely recognised majors, but Arnold Palmer helped reverse that in 1960.

Palmer famously chatted with Bob Drum of The Pittsburgh Press on his way to the British Open after winning the Masters and US Open that year. Palmer advised Drum to write about the likelihood of Arnie completing “the Grand Slam of golf.”

Palmer believes that the four events that are now recognised should constitute the contemporary Grand Slam. Drum penned his narrative, and the idea immediately spread. Palmer was the face of golf at the time, and he kept his Grand Slam hopes alive for all four rounds of the 1960 British Open at St. Andrews, finishing one shot behind Kel Nagle.

Even if Palmer hadn’t consolidated the criteria of the contemporary golf majors, the sport would have come to the same conclusion eventually.

Even non-golfers became familiar with Augusta National in the 1950s, when President Dwight D. Eisenhower made it his favorite vacation destination. The club even created an Eisenhower Cabin for him, according to Secret Service requirements.

“Ike” was also often mentioned throughout the tournament, owing to the “Eisenhower Tree” on the left side of the 17th hole, which he despised and frequently struck. (Unfortunately, storm damage prompted the tree’s removal this year.)

The rectangular box that was finding its way into every living room in America was another unavoidable aspect that boosted the Masters’ reputation in the 1950s. For the first time, the Masters was broadcast nationwide on television in 1956.

That was two years after the U.S. Open made its national television debut, but for those of us who despise commercial interruptions, watching the Masters on CBS was a reasonably easy experience from the outset. Those advertisements have always been restricted to four minutes each hour. (It’s also incredible that CBS and Augusta National have kept their connection going since 1956 despite always working on a one-year deal.)

Rob Carr

More customs and inventions

Consider watching this week’s Masters and attempting to determine who is leading by looking the total strokes taken.

Let’s see what happens. Is a golfer who takes 200 strokes on the 14th hole of the third round better than a player who has 159 as he walks off the third green?

It would be exasperating. And in 1960, the Masters made a better choice. Clifford Roberts had the leaderboards merely display what hole the top 10 competitors were playing and where they stood in regard to par, rather than aggregate scores. Other events immediately embraced what is now the industry norm for live scoring.

Similarly, the Masters was the first competition to place leaderboards around the course rather than just at the finish line.

Which are the Masters’ other endearing qualities?

Fans were overjoyed when Arnold Palmer, Jack Nicklaus, and Gary Player were named “honorary starters” at the Masters. Phillip, David J.

Each hole is named after a local blooming tree or plant, such as the No. 2 Pink Dogwood or the No. 9 Carolina Cherry. How many of us could properly spell azalea without the Masters?

There’s the Champions’ Dinner, which is hosted by the previous year’s champion. Ben Hogan founded it in 1952, and no player, not even Greg Norman or Rory McIlroy, is allowed in until they have won a green jacket.

There are the “honorary starters,” the living legends who kick off the tournament on Thursday morning with ceremonial tee shots.

Palmer, Nicklaus, and Gary Player have accounted for a total of 13 Masters victories over the previous two years.

Watching them congregate on the first tee, whether they hit the fairway or stray into the trees, is a wonderful picture of golfing history.

However, when they do it again this year, it will be business as usual, and it will undoubtedly be just one of many fantastic memories created by the world’s best golf event.

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