The Masters - Get Your Tickets to the Green

By: Anna Woodward

Golf's popularity has been on the rise the last few years, especially now that young players have opened the game to a wider audience. These days, you can catch golf tournaments on TV as easily as football or basketball playoffs. But why sit at home when you can get tickets? Via a reliable on-line ticket provider, you too can watch as your favorites play for that coveted jacket.

Throughout the year, golfers compete in various tournaments around the globe. For the best players, the ultimate goal is to qualify for The Masters, one of the four major men's competitions. The Masters, an invitation only competition, is played first each year, offering the year's high performers a chance to challenge each other for the coveted Green Jacket. Additionally, the winner of The Masters is automatically qualified for the other three major contests.

The Masters is one of the oldest major tournaments. Its first annual match was held in 1934. It also has the distinction of being the only major tournament held at the same course every year - the Augusta National Golf Club in Georgia. Getting to the Augusta National sidelines is simple for any golf fan.

Each year, during the first full week of April, competitors bring their best to Augusta. The first three days are reserved for practice rounds, and on Wednesday, the Par 3 Contest is held. The Par 3 contest is a separate competition, made up of nine holes played over DeSoto Springs Pond and Ike's Pond.

Tournament golfers, non-competing past champs and Honorary Invitees are the only players allowed to compete. Oddly, no one has ever won the Par 3 contest and The Masters Championship in the same year.

For the remainder of the week, the players are engaged in four rounds - one eighteen hole round per day, instead of thirty-six rounds on the third day. This schedule eliminates the necessity for qualifying rounds. You can get tickets for events on all seven days, even if the tournament providers are out.

The Masters has a long and colorful tradition that is appreciated by players and spectators alike. As part of that tradition, the golfers and fans maintain the dignified and sportsmanlike conduct that its founders, Bobby Jones and Clifford Roberts, prized. The Green Jacket tradition began in 1937, but the first green jacket wasn't actually awarded until 1949, to Sam Snead, that year's winner.

In 1958, commentator Warren Wind coined the term "Amen Corner" to describe the high difficulty of holes 11, 12 and 13. Every golfer to play the Augusta course knows the pitfalls of those three holes and has his very own "Amen" story to tell. Many of those stories we've seen, whether we watched on TV or lived the anxiety there on the sidelines.

Without fail, someone posts amazing stats or breaks a record, whether it's a personal best or a tournament record. To date, Jack Nicklaus holds the record for most victories with six. Arnold Palmer and Tiger Woods are tied with four wins each. Jack's sixth victory in 1986 made him the oldest champion at forty-six. Tiger's win in 1997, at 21, made him the youngest golfer to win the tournament.

Other interesting records include the best comebacks, by Nick Faldo in 1990 with seven strokes and Tiger Woods also with seven strokes in 2005. The 2007 winner, Zach Johnson, made three attempts before winning his first green jacket. According to tradition, last year's winner, in Zach's case Phil Mickelson, offers the distinctive jacket to the new champion. Nick Faldo (1989 & 1990), Jack Nicklaus (1965 & 1966) and Tiger Woods (2001 & 2002) are the only three golfers to successfully defend their titles. Come April, Zach Johnson will play for the chance to join this select group.

With so many talented players vying for a Masters green jacket, the tournament promises to be interesting. Getting there, however, is much easier than hitting a hole in one. If you're a golf fan, The Masters is a can't miss event.

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