US Masters Golf Tournament Tradition

The US Masters Golf Tournament is steeped in tradition, primarily because of its age and stature on the international golfing circuit. From the Green Jacket, to the pairings on the fairways, to the Champions Dinner, the US Masters Golf Tournament and Augusta National Golf Club have set down the parameters. All who take part in this illustrious event are expected to adhere to these traditions.

Augusta National Golf Club Tradition

Augusta National Golf Club is renowned for being hard-nosed. It was some considerable time before African American golfers were invited to join the elite, and most recently, Dr Martha Burke took the club to task for its all-male membership policy. Augusta’s Chairman, ‘Hootie’ Johnson, was totally unfazed by the growing criticism and totally unapologetic to boot.

His response was: “There may well come a day when women will be invited to join our membership, but that timetable will be ours, not at the point of a bayonet.” He went further, stating, “We will not be bullied, threatened and intimidated. We do not intend to become a trophy in their (women’s rights activists) display case.” Clearly not a man to be trifled with!

US Masters Golf Tournament Tradition Facts

  • Membership is on an invite-only basis.
  • The US Masters Golf Tournament organizers insists that the commonly used ‘front’ and ‘back’ nine be dispensed of, and that ‘first’ and ‘last’ be used instead.
  • Golf’s most legendary players are invited to make the honourary opening tee shot each year. Sam Snead did the job from 1984 to 2002.He was joined by Gene Sarazen until 1999, and Byron Nelson until 2001. ‘The King’, Arnold Palmer, currently acts as honourary starter.
  • It has only been since 1983 that the players could bring their own caddies to Augusta National Golf Club. They are, however, expected to conform to a full caddie uniform – white jumpsuit, a green US Masters cap and white tennis shoes!
  • The defending US Masters champion will always have caddie number “1” – other golfers will be allocated numbers according to the order in which they arrive and register for the tournament.
  • The US Masters Golf Tournament has a strong tradition of supporting and honouring amateur golf. Winners of the most prestigious amateur competitions are invited to take part, and the defending champion is always paired with the current US Amateur champion for the first two days of the tournament.
  • The Silver Cup is presented annually to the lowest-scoring amateur to make the cut
  • Each year on the Tuesday evening preceding the first round, a dinner is held to honour the past champions of the tournament – the Champion’s Dinner. Known as the “Masters Club” only past champions and selected members of Augusta National Golf Club are invited to attend. The defending champion acts as host and chooses the menu.
  • Since 1949, a tradition of the US Masters Golf Tournament is that a distinctive Green Jacket is awarded to the champion.