The little traditions that make the Masters special
It could be argued the Masters is golf’s most traditional tournament.
From the caddies outfits to the Champions Dinner, there are a number of institutions that make Augusta National and the Masters tournament what it is.
We take a look at the some of the best…
Caddies outfits: The famous white boiler suits
You’ll notice when watching the Masters that all caddies are wearing a white boiler suit.
They are required to wear these and the practice has carried on for decades. Originally, only caddies employed by the club could carry bags during the Masters.
That changed in 1983 but the tradition of players’ caddies wearing the distinctive white suits and green hats has continued.
Par 3 tournament
In a serene corner of Augusta National lies the famed par 3 course, which becomes the focus for spectators and a lot of the players on the eve of the tournament.
Many invite their families and friends out to walk the course and caddie for them in this curtain-raiser.
While a competition does take place, this is ultimately a light-hearted spectacle and, for many competitors, is their favourite part of the week.
No player has ever won the par 3 tournament and then gone on to claim the green jacket. Last year, Tom Watson, at the age of 68, won in an unlikely, but popular, victory.
Skipping balls across the water at 16
You’ll hear the refrain of ‘skip it’ from the patrons when the players reach the famous par 3 16th.
And once the initial tee-shots have been hit during the practice rounds, the real fun begins.
The players stand on the bank of the pond and attempt to skip a ball across the water and out the other side.
Every shot that makes the green is cheered and there has even been the odd hole out to savour. Vijay Singh did just that in 2009 and Martin Kaymer (2012) and Louis Oosthuzien (2016) have followed suit.
Each year, on Tuesday evening of Masters week, the past champions of Augusta sit down together for a celebratory meal.
The menu is designed by the defending champion and there are even traditions within this tradition, such as where people sit at the table.
It’s a very personal experience for the host, and we’ve spoken to many of them who have experienced it down the years to get the inside story.
Ceremonial opening tee shots
One of the nicest moments of Masters week is watching some legends of the game hit the first ceremonial shots to officially mark the start of the tournament.
Jack Nicklaus and Gary Player stood on the tee alongside the great Arnold Palmer for many years and they’ve followed the likes of Sam Snead, Gene Sarazen and Byron Nelson.
The tradition first began in 1963 with Jock Hutchison and Fred McLeod hitting away.
Nicklaus and Player carry it on today, after the passing of the King in 2016.
The use of electronic devices is prohibited
Mobile phones are prohibited throughout Masters week and anybody found using one could find themselves escorted from the grounds, never to return. They’re even banned for the players.
During practice days, the use of cameras is permitted. But, once the tournament begins, you won’t see a flash in sight.
Those attending the event must be referred to as ‘patrons’
If you’re watching the coverage on TV you will notice those attending the event are never referred to as ‘fans’ or ‘spectators’.
Broadcasters are required to refer to the attendees as ‘patrons’.
A brilliant aspect of the Masters is the food on offer to the patrons – and best of all it’s really well priced.
One thing on every golf enthusiast’s bucket list is to try one of the famous pimento cheese sandwiches and many tick that box each year.