The Masters Tournament is one of four major professional golf championships that takes place annually. The first major tournament on the golfing calendar, it is held during the first week in April at the same venue each year, the Augusta National Golf Club.
This year’s championship is due to take place from April 5th to 8th and offers prize money of $11 million. The world’s top golfers will be taking part, including newcomers and veterans, such as fan favourite Tiger Woods, who is currently making a successful comeback following a career beset by injuries.
The private course in the city of Augusta, Georgia, is one of the world’s most famous golf clubs. Designed by renowned American golfer, Bobby Jones, it was co-founded by Jones and investment dealer Clifford Roberts and opened in January 1933.
Playing host to the Masters Tournament every year since 1934, it was ranked number one in the list of America’s 100 best courses by the Golf Digest magazine in 2009, and number 10 in the list of America’s best classic courses in Golf Week magazine in 2011 for its course architecture.
Invitations to the Masters
Most players have to be invited to play at the Masters and there are strict criteria for golfers wishing to take part. Competitors will include Masters Lifetime Tournament Champions, winners of the Players’ Championship, the current Olympic gold medallist, the current US amateur champion and the current British amateur champion.
The Masters Committee can also invite international players who haven’t automatically qualified, at its discretion. One player who has accepted the special invitation this year is 21-year-old Shubhankar Sharma, from India.
Augusta Golf Club chairman Fred Ridley said international players had been traditionally extended an invitation throughout the tournament’s history, describing Sharma as “remarkable” after winning the Joburg Open in December 2017 and the Maybank Championship in February of this year.
Jack Nicklaus is a record six-time Masters champion, winning the title in 1963, 1965, 1966, 1972, 1975 and 1986. He is also the oldest Masters winner, as he was 46 years and 82 days old at the time of his 1986 victory. He is co-holder of the record for the most consecutive victories with Tiger Woods and Nick Faldo, who have two wins each.
Woods is the youngest Masters winner in history – he was 21 years and 104 days old when he triumphed in 1997. He is also the holder of two further records: the widest winning margin of 12 strokes and the lowest winning score of 270, when he finished 18 below par – also in 1997.
Woods’ record of lowest winning score was equalled by Jordan Spieth in 2015. Last year’s winner was Spanish golfer Sergio Garcia, who finished on 279 and nine below par.
The BBC has televised the Masters for UK viewers since 1986, while also providing live radio commentary on Radio Five Live of the closing stages.
Since the 2011 Masters, Sky Sports has been broadcasting all four days’ events live, with the BBC having only highlights of the first two days’ play. Both channels will be going head-to-head with live coverage of the final two days’ play for the 2018 event.
Whether you’re one of the world’s top golfers, you play competitively at any level, or you simply enjoy a leisurely round, the best golfing experiences are enjoyed when the best facilities are provided.