The Masters tournament

In 1934, a tradition unlike any other began with the first annual Masters tournament. The first of four professional golf majors of the season, The Masters was founded by legendary amateur champion Bobby Jones and investment banker Clifford Roberts.

Architect Alister MacKenzie helped design the event location, Augusta National, one of the most famous golf courses in the world.

Below is a guide to the essential facts and figures of The Masters to get you ready for the prestige, beauty and excitement of golf’s springtime major.  

When is the Masters?

The Masters is a four-day competition held annually in April, with the dates scheduled so that the tournament concludes on the second Sunday of that month.

Dating back to 1963, one or more “Honorary Starters”—often legendary players of the game—kick off the Masters on Thursday, the first day of competition, with a ceremonial opening tee shot at the first hole. In 2019, Jack Nicklaus and Gary Player served in that role.

Where is the Masters?

Unlike the three other majors (the PGA Championship, U.S. Open, and Open Championship) the Masters is played at the same location every year.

The 72-par, 7,768-yard course at Augusta National Golf Club in Augusta, Georgia has been home to The Masters since the major’s inception. 

The course is built upon a former plant nursery, with each hole named after a tree or shrub. For example, the par-4 Hole 1 is called Tea Olive, while the par-3 Hole 16 is known as Redbud. 2019 Open Championship winner Shane Lowrey sank a hole in one on the latter in 2016.

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A view of the 12th green during the practice round for the 2015 Masters Tournament at the Augusta National Golf Club in Augusta, Georgia. (Cliff Welch/Icon Sportswire)

What is Amen Corner?  

One of the most difficult stretches of Augusta National, “Amen Corner” is comprised of the 11th (White Dogwood), 12th (Golden Bell), and 13th (Azalea) holes.

Herbert Warren Wind first coined the term in a Sports Illustrated article to label the part of the course where some of the most exciting golf is known to happen. The author found inspiration from the song “Shoutin’ in that Amen Corner” when searching for an appropriate moniker.

What is the Masters tournament format?

The Masters is a stroke-play tournament in which the player who used the least number of strokes to complete the course is named the victor. There are four rounds, played Thursday through Sunday, with each round made up of 18 holes.

Each hole is given a par, or the number of strokes it should take to get the ball in the hole, and scores are determined by how many strokes over or under par the golfer went.

After the second round on Friday, the top 50 scores advance to compete on Saturday and Sunday. The rest of the field is cut.

Who is playing in the Masters?

The Masters is an invitational, so its field is relatively small compared to other golf tournaments.

A player can receive an invite under one, or several, criteria. For example, a past Masters champion is eligible to compete in any Masters tournament going forward during his lifetime. The winner of The Players Championship qualifies for the Masters for the next three years following his win, while the U.S. Open and British Open champions are granted entry for the next five years.

The top 50 golfers in the Official World Golf Ranking from the previous calendar year, plus anyone in the top 50 the week prior to the Masters, also secures an invite.    

Who has won the Masters?

YearWinnerTotal scoreTo par
2010
Phil Mickelson, United States
272
-16
2011
Charl Schwartzel, South Africa
274
-14
2012
Bubba Watson, United States
278
-10
2013
Adam Scott, Australia
279
-9
2014
Bubba Watson, United States
280
-8
2015
Jordan Spieth, United States
270
-18
2016
Danny Willett, England
283
-5
2017
Sergio Garcia, Spain
279
-9
2018
Patrick Reed, United States
273
-15
2019
Tiger Woods, United States
275
-13

The Golden Bear Jack Nicklaus is the all-time winner of the most Masters, with six, from 1963 to 1986. Following 2019's surprise victory, Tiger Woods claimed his fifth title at the age of 43. Golf legend Arnold Palmer earned four green jackets, while Jimmy Demaret, Sam Snead, Gary Player, Nick Faldo and Phil Mickelson have each won three.

What is the purse for the Masters?

The total prize money available to each contender has changed throughout time, but in 2019, Tiger Woods took home $2,070,000 for landing first on the leaderboard. Dustin Johnson, Xander Schauffele, and Brooks Koepka ended in a three-way tie for second and each collected $858,667.

In all, $11.5 million was available in the prize pool. Any player who missed the cut received $10,000, while amateur golfers are not permitted any cash prize. 

Why does the Masters winner get a green jacket?

Since 1949, the Masters champion has been gifted with a green sport coat inside Butler Cabin after the tournament's conclusion. The green jacket is the official attire worn by members of Augusta National.

Masters champions hold onto their jacket for the first year after their win, then return it to the club or wear it whenever they visit.  

How much are Masters tickets?

Attending the Masters is a bucket-list item for many people across the world, and for that reason, admission comes with a hefty price. In 2019, the average cost of a weekly badge was $9,911.

Practice round tickets for Monday, Tuesday, or Wednesday are much more affordable at $75. To obtain an individual daily ticket (about $115), you must submit an application online to enter a lottery for the chance to buy a pass. 

How can I watch the Masters?

CBS and ESPN will broadcast the Masters tournament in 2020. ESPN will cover the early rounds, while CBS is responsible for the main event. You can also view the Masters via live stream at Masters.com or on a variety of other streaming services.