Augusta National Golf Club and The Masters was created in 1934 by Bobby Jones (one of the greatest players in history and the only Grand Slam golf player) and his partner Clifford Roberts. Roberts ended up committing suicide and legend has it that he shot himself with a pistol that appeared years later in one of the lakes on the par-3 course.
The course was designed by Alister Mackenzie, an English designer who was a war surgeon and created other great courses such as Cypress Point and Royal Melbourne. Augusta National is considered to be his masterpiece.
The famous Green Jacket is one of the symbols of the tournament. It is the prize that distinguishes the winner and the garment worn by the members. Bower Roebuck, a company with more than a century of history in the county of West Yorkshire is in charge of making the aforementioned jackets with a special pantone colour; the Augusta green.
It is the most exclusive course and tournament in the world. Only around 300 members can play on the course on a regular basis. Although some names have been revealed, their identity is hidden, as is the amount they pay to access the most elite club in the world. Although, according to them, it is not a question of money but of prestige. Augusta National chooses its members and invites them to join.
Emilio Botín was denied membership for many years and Bill Gates tried unsuccessfully to become a member of the club, until Augusta finally decided to invite him. Ana Patricia Botín is the only Spanish member and is one of only four women in the elite green jacket club.
All Augusta National employees sign a confidentiality agreement not to disclose details about the maintenance of the course or the organisation of the tournament. The contract includes a clause that maintains confidentiality for up to 15 years after leaving their professional job at Augusta.
Until the mid-1980s, all caddies at Augusta National had to be black and it took until 1992 to see the first black member. Tiger Woods‘ victory in 1997 was a real upheaval in the tournament, which is played in one of the most racist states in the world, Georgia. On that Sunday, the hundreds of black employees of the club celebrated Woods’ first major as more than just a triumph.
The traditions of The Masters
Every year the rules of conduct at the Augusta Masters remain as rigid as they were at the beginning of the tournament. The event maintains its traditions, there are no electronic scoreboards (everything is written by hand), the public cannot display flags or any kind of symbolism, it is forbidden to run, shout or even wear a cap backwards. It is also the only tournament where the use of mobile phones is strictly forbidden. The fans who attend each year are called patrons.
Although there are no official figures, it is estimated that the Augusta Masters merchandising shop, which is only open during the week of the tournament, turns over around 40 million dollars in seven days alone. The high prices of Augusta-branded products contrast with the popular prices of food and drink on the course. The legendary pimento cheese sandwich costs just a dollar and a half.
Three Spaniards have worn the Green Jacket; Seve Ballesteros (1980 and 1983), Jose María Olazábal (1994 and 1999), Sergio García (2017). The first Spaniard to play in the Masters was Angel Miguel in 1959 and Ramón Sota finished sixth in 1965.