Did you know that Bobby Jones didn’t like calling his tournament “The Masters”? Clifford Roberts actually referred to the tournament as “The Masters” back in ’38. Bobby Jones was quoted in 1963 as calling his tournament “the so-called Masters”.
Augusta National Golf Club was originally supposed to have 1800 members. During the first tournament in 1934, the club only had 76 paying members, and they couldn’t afford to pay Horton Smith, the first winner, or any of the top finishers until ~17 members chipped in for the purse.
The clubhouse that stands today, originally known as the Dennis Redmond manor house, was supposed to be torn down for a new $100,000 clubhouse. Lack of funding forced the club to use the original house as the clubhouse, which still stands today.
The first Masters tournament in 1934 was unnamed. In the schedule, it was referred to as one of four tournaments scheduled for the spring, at “…Augusta National Golf Course, March 22, 23, 24, and 25…details of the event will be given once complete.”
The original design of Augusta National called for a 19th hole, a 90-yard uphill hole between the 9th and 18th greens. The intent was so that a losing golfer could have a chance to win his money back in a game of double or nothing. The plans were scrapped because it would impede the view to the 18th green for patrons watching the Masters.
The par-3 course was originally viewed as a waste of money, but the full 18-hole par-3 course was an instant hit with the members.
Augusta National hosted the first PGA Seniors event in 1937, which essentially started The Champions tour.
The iconic green jacket was originally worn as an usher’s coat. The jacket was to be worn by members so patrons could easily identify them if they needed to ask questions.
The Masters was the first tournament to use a 72-hole competition over four days.
The Masters was the first tournament to have room to park thousands of cars.
The Masters was the first tournament to offer a free daily pairing sheet instead of a program.
The Masters was the first tournament to be covered nationwide on radio.
The Masters was the first tournament to use bleachers and rope galleries.
The Masters was the first tournament to use an on-course scoreboard. CBS television crews were directed to show updates of the score by using the on-course scoreboard, because it was easier to read than listening to the announcers read off the leaders.
The Masters was the first tournament to use the over/under par system we use today.