Volume 97 Issue 9 Sports

2016 Masters have high hopes

by Dallas Huff

For most golf fans, April doesn’t mean spring time and rain. April means the Masters are underway once again, and another golfer will be awarded the prestigious green jacket. The Masters is an event strictly by invite only, meaning the best golfers in the world are competing to be the champion. This year will be the 80th annual Masters Tournament.

The Masters was originally named the Augusta National Invitation Tournament back in March of 1934 when the tournament originated. It was originally given this name because it takes place at the Augusta National Golf Club in Augusta, Georgia. The name was changed to The Masters Tournament five years later in 1939. The tournament was created by Bobby Jones and Clifford Roberts.

    In 2011, Augusta National Golf Club and Masters Tournament Chairman Billy Payne created the Masters Tournament Foundation. This foundation is a charitable extension of the Tournament that is designed to annually invest in the development of programs for golfing worldwide.

    As many as 200 countries throughout the world have the Masters Tournament broadcasted on television. The goal of the Masters is to engage and excite a global audience of golfers and fans of all ages.

    For this year’s tournament, some of the favorites include Jason Day, Jordan Spieth, Rory Mcllroy and Bubba Watson. These are just a few of the many extraordinary golfers participating in this year’s action.

    On April 1, four-time Masters champion, Tiger Woods, announced that he would not be competing in the tournament this year. “I’ve been hitting balls and training daily, but I’m not physically ready,” said Woods according to the Golf Channel. This will be the second Masters that Tiger Woods has missed in the past three years, finishing in a tie for 17th place last year.

    Jordan Spieth, defending champion at Augusta National, noted that this year’s contest is one of the most unpredictable. This is because so many top-ranked golfers competing are performing so well. This year’s contest could be the most competitive Masters Tournament in a long time. Any one of the top ten participants could potentially take the green jacket.

    The number one golfer in the world, Jason Day, has captured two straight tournament wins in the Arnold Palmer Invitational and the Dell March Play. Day has also been runner-up at Augusta two times. Also, the last person to win two straight tournaments going into the Masters was Tiger Woods in 2001.

    Another potential contestant for the green jacket is 45 year old Phil Mickelson, who in 2010 became the eighth player to win three Masters Championships. Mickelson has won an outstanding 42 events while on the PGA Tour, including five major championships, three Masters Titles, a PGA Championship and an Open Championship.

    Four of the six PGA Tour events leading up to the Masters have been won by either Adam Scott or Jason Day. However, despite the dominant play by Scott and Day, the potential Masters Champion is still up in the air.

    Past champions make up 18 players in this year’s tournament. However, there are only 89 players scheduled to participate in the tournament with Tiger Woods, Jose Maria Olazabal, and Jim Furyk are not competing due to injury. Also, Sangmoon Bae is in the middle of a mandatory two-year military service in South Korea. That makes for 89 players, the fewest amount of players since 2002.

    The main consideration of the Masters is to provide a first class golf course in as beautiful and nearly perfect condition as possible and to show all of the player guests every possible courtesy. Augusta offers a unique stage to golf and to sports in general.

    The winner of the tournament receives the prestigious green jacket, a gold medal, the Sterling Replica of Masters Trophy and their name engraved on the permanent Masters Trophy. The permanent Masters Trophy was introduced in 1961 and depicts the Clubhouse. The trophy consists of over 900 pieces of silver. The runner-up of the Masters receives a silver salver, a silver medal and their name engraved on the permanent Masters Trophy.

    There are various other prizes for things such as the Day’s Low Score, a hole-in-one and an eagle. These awards have been given ever since they originated in 1954. There is also a special award given to anyone that earns a double eagle throughout the contest. This award has been around since the 1967 tournament.

    The Masters Tournament began Wed. with the Par 3 Contest, and the first round of play takes place today. Playing will end around 7 p.m. on April 10.

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