The Masters tournament is a culmination of the entire pro golf year. Fans around the world get to see the highest level of competition (and enjoy delicious food from around the world). Some years, the tournament comes down to the final few holes. Other years, it’s nearly finished on Saturday.
Regardless of how the final few holes shake out, Augusta National delivers drama year after year. It guarantees each winner access into an exclusive club. But what does winning the Masters actually get you?
The Masters’ prize money and more
As we look forward to the Masters this year, it makes sense to start with the actual prize money for the tournament. According to Golf.com, the first prize over the past few years has been roughly $2 Million. Additionally, everyone in the golf world knows about the prestige of the Green Jacket.
The sign of the world’s best golfer, the Green Jacket is custom-fitted. In the tradition of the Masters, the previous year’s winner puts the jacket on the current year’s. It’s a great photo opp and even in these trying times, it will be great to see that the lineage of the Masters is alive and well.
In addition to the prize money and the jacket, winners of the Masters get a major boost for the rest of their golf career. Potentially most importantly, they’re invited to the Masters every year for the rest of their life. Tiger Woods is both the youngest winner in Masters history and the second-oldest.
With the knowledge that he can show up at Augusta any year he likes and attempt to pick up his sixth green jacket, golfers will be looking over their shoulder throughout the 2020s and ’30s as they approach Amen Corner.
The career boost
Masters winners are welcome back to Augusta any year they’d like. But winning the tournament also helps them significantly in the here and now.
With a five-year exemption on the PGA Tour, the U.S. Open, the British Open, and the PGA Championship, players who win the Masters are likely to experience continued success. Additionally, winning the tournament bestows ranking points for the world golf rank, the FedEx Cup, and the Ryder Cup.
With the exception of 1943-1945 during WWII, the Masters has taken place every year since 1934. Even golfers who only won once are looked at as some of the sport’s all-time greats.
Woods and Nicklaus, the two unanimous members of golf’s Mount Rushmore, have a combined 11 victories between them. Without these wins at Augusta, the two men would probably not be seen in their own tier. Winners of the Masters are some of the greatest golfers ever. It’s the tournament difficulty that gives them these accolades.
The future of the Masters
Golf has managed to carry on throughout the coronavirus pandemic. It’s likely that the Masters will go ahead in some form this year. Delays and rescheduling have thrown a wrench into Tiger’s plans to pass Nicklaus in all-time tournament wins (and potentially Masters wins).
Tiger is only three wins behind, but his chances are dwindling. The decade from 2008 to 2019 without a win put him way behind in the race. Plenty of critics completely counted him out.
But Woods is back and potentially better than ever. He put together four days of pristine golf to capture the 2019 Masters. The jacket, prize money, exemptions, and tour points will only strengthen his reputation. It would be fitting if he followed up his Hall of Fame induction by catching Nicklaus and winning a sixth Green Jacket. But only time will tell.