The Masters Tournament began for the 85th time Thursday. After COVID-19 messed around with its 2020 season by playing last year’s tourney in November, the Masters is back in its normal April slot. Although there will be one familiar face in Tiger Woods missing this year, the familiarity of golfers battling for that prestigious green jacket at Augusta National in the spring has returned. Has the Masters always taken place at Augusta National?
The 85th Masters tees off as Tiger Woods sits out
Dustin Johnson is the favorite to capture the 2021 Masters, according to a report by CBS Sports. He enters as a 9-1 favorite, ahead of Jordan Spieth and Justin Thomas, who are both 10-1. Should Johnson pull out the victory, it would be his second straight Masters title after shooting a record 268 last year.
The 2021 Masters is a loaded field even without one of golf’s fiercest and most talented competitors. Tiger Woods is still recovering from his February automobile accident and will be sidelined indefinitely. Woods’ friend and Masters participant, Rory McIlroy, said he recently visited Woods and said he’s hopeful Tiger could return for the 2022 event.
“Broken bones heal, and he’s just got to take it step by step,” McIlroy said, according to Golf.com. “But I know he’d love to be here, and I’m sure he’s going to put everything he has into trying to be ready to play here next year.”
Does Augusta National host the Masters every year?
The Masters Tournament first began play in 1934 with Horton Smith winning by two strokes. World War II canceled the event from 1943-45. When the Masters teed off Thursday, it was the 85th running of the tournament.
Back in 1932, Bobby Jones and Clifford Roberts founded Augusta National Golf Club. In 1934, the duo decided to host an annual tournament, originally called the Augusta National Invitation Tournament. According to The Golf Channel, Roberts suggested the tournament be called the Masters because of the “masters of golf” who played in it. In 1939, Roberts got his wish.
Since that initial tournament in 1934, Augusta National has always been the host. According to Business Insider, there is no incentive to change it. It’s the only one of the majors that plays on the same course each year. The others majors are run by larger organizations — the USGA, the PGA, and The R&A oversee the U.S. Open, the PGA Championship, and The Open Championship, respectively. Those organizations have connections with several other courses and have financial reasons to use them.
How long is the course at Augusta?
Augusta National is a par-72 course and it has grown quite a bit in recent years. It has been lengthened to 7,475 yards, according to Golf Digest. The course was founded by Bobby Jones and Clifford Roberts, but Jones and Alister MacKenzie designed it.
In 2009, Golf Digest named Augusta National tops among its list of 100 greatest golf courses. Augusta National operated as a for-profit organization, unlike many of the other private clubs. According to The New Yorker, nobody know how much money it makes or it has. Judging by the course, the physical plant, and the expansion of real-estate holdings, it’s quite a bit of money.