The Masters Tournament, also known as The Masters or The US Masters is one of the four major championships in professional golf. Scheduled for the first full week of April, it is the first of the majors to be played each year. Unlike the other major championships, the Masters is held each year at the same location, Augusta National Golf Club, a private golf club in the city of Augusta, Georgia, USA. The Masters was started by Clifford Roberts and Bobby Jones. Jones designed Augusta National with course architect Alister MacKenzie. The tournament is an official money event on the PGA Tour, the European Tour, and the Japan Golf Tour. The field of players is smaller than those of the other major championships because it is an invitational event, held by the Augusta National Golf Club.
The tournament has a number of traditions. Since 1949, a green jacket has been awarded to the champion, who must return it to the clubhouse one year after the time of that player’s victory. In most instances, the green jacket is only removed from the club’s grounds by a first-time champion. A golfer who wins the event multiple times uses the same green jacket awarded upon his initial win (unless he needs to be re-fitted with a new green jacket).
Beginning in 1963, legendary golfers, usually past champions, have hit an honorary tee shot on the morning of the first round. Such golfers have included Fred McLeod, Jock Hutchinson, Gene Sarazen, Sam Snead, Byron Nelson, Arnold Palmer, Jack Nicklaus and Gary Player. Since 1960, a semi-social par 3 contest, on a par-3 course on Augusta National’s grounds, has been played on the day before the first round of each Masters Tournament.
Nicklaus has won more Masters Tournaments than any other golfer, winning six times between 1963 and 1986. Other multiple winners include Arnold Palmer and Tiger Woods, with four each; and Jimmy Demaret, Sam Snead, Gary Player, Nick Faldo and Phil Mickelson, with three each. Player, from South Africa, was the first non-American player to win the tournament in 1961.
Since the Augusta National course first opened in 1933, it has been modified many times by different architects. Among the changes: greens have been reshaped and, on occasion, entirely re-designed, bunkers have been added, water hazards have been extended, new tee boxes have been built, hundreds of trees have been planted, and several mounds have been installed.