The idea for Augusta National originated with Bobby Jones, who wanted to build a golf course after his retirement from the game. He sought advice from Clifford Roberts, who later became the chairman of the club. They came across a piece of land in Augusta, Georgia, of which Jones said: "Perfect! And to think this ground has been lying here all these years waiting for someone to come along and lay a golf course upon it." The land had been an indigo plantation in the early nineteenth century and a plant nursery since 1857. Jones hired Alister MacKenzie to help design the course, and work began in 1931. The course formally opened in 1933, but MacKenzie died before the first Masters Tournament was played.
The first "Augusta National Invitational" Tournament, as the Masters was originally known, began on March 22, 1934, and was won by Horton Smith. The present name was adopted in 1939. The first tournament was played with current holes 10 through 18 played as the first nine, and 1 through 9 as the second nine then reversed permanently to its present layout for the 1935 tournament.
Initially the Augusta National Invitational field was composed of Bobby Jones' close associates. Jones had petitioned the USGA to hold the U.S. Open at Augusta but the USGA denied the petition, noting that the hot Georgia summers would create difficult playing conditions.
Gene Sarazen hit the "shot heard 'round the world" in 1935, holing a shot from the fairway on the par 5 15th for a double eagle (albatross). This tied Sarazen with Craig Wood, and in the ensuing 36-hole playoff Sarazen was the victor by five strokes. The tournament was not played from 1943 to 1945, due to World War II. To assist the war effort, cattle and turkeys were raised on the Augusta National grounds.
The Big Three of Arnold Palmer, Gary Player, and Jack Nicklaus dominated the Masters from 1960 through 1978, winning the event 11 times among them during that span. After winning by one stroke in 1958, Palmer won by one stroke again in 1960 in memorable circumstances. Trailing Ken Venturi by one shot in the 1960 event, Palmer made birdies on the last two holes to prevail. Palmer would go on to win another two Masters in 1962 and 1964.
Jack Nicklaus emerged in the early 1960s, and served as a rival to the popular Palmer. Nicklaus won his first green jacket in 1963, defeating Tony Lema by one stroke. Two years later, he shot a then-course record of 271 (17 under par) for his second Masters win, leading Bobby Jones to say that Nicklaus played "a game with which I am not familiar." The next year, Nicklaus won his third green jacket in a grueling 18-hole playoff against Tommy Jacobs and Gay Brewer. This made Nicklaus the first player to win consecutive Masters. He won again in 1972 by three strokes. In 1975, Nicklaus won by one stroke in a close contest with Tom Weiskopf and Johnny Miller in one of the most exciting Masters to date.
Gary Player became the first non-American to win the Masters in 1961, beating Palmer, the defending champion. In 1974, he won again by two strokes. After not winning a tournament on the U.S. PGA tour for nearly four years, and at the age of 42, Player won his third and final Masters in 1978 by one stroke over three players. Player currently shares (with Fred Couples) the record of making 23 consecutive cuts, and has played in a record 52 Masters.
A controversial ending to the Masters occurred in 1968. Roberto De Vicenzo signed a scorecard (scored by playing partner Tommy Aaron) which incorrectly showed him as making a par 4 instead of a birdie 3 on the 17th hole of the final round. By the rules of golf, if a player signs a scorecard (thereby attesting to its veracity) that records a score on a hole higher than what he actually made on the hole, the player receives the higher score for that hole. This extra stroke cost De Vicenzo a chance to be in an 18-hole Monday playoff with Bob Goalby, who won the green jacket. De Vicenzo's mistake led to the famous quote, "What a stupid I am."
In 1975, Lee Elder became the first African American to play in the Masters, doing so 15 years before Augusta National admitted its first black member, Ron Townsend, as a result of the Shoal Creek Controversy.
Non-Americans collected 11 victories in 20 years in the 1980s and 1990s, by far the strongest run they have had in any of the three majors played in the United States since the early days of the U.S. Open. The first European to win the Masters was Seve Ballesteros in 1980. Nicklaus became the oldest player to win the Masters in 1986 when he won for the sixth time at age 46.
During this period, no golfer suffered from the pressure of competing at Augusta more than Greg Norman. In 1987, Norman lost a sudden-death playoff to Larry Mize when Mize holed out a remarkable 45-yard pitch shot to birdie the second playoff hole and win the Masters. In 1996, Norman tied the course record with an opening round 63, and had a six-stroke lead over Nick Faldo entering the final round. Norman shot a 78 while Faldo scored a 67 to win by five shots (for his third Masters championship). Norman also suffered in 1986 when after birdieing four straight holes, and needing only a par to tie Nicklaus for the lead and force a Monday playoff, he badly pushed his 4-iron approach on 18 and missed his par putt for a closing bogey.
In 1997, Tiger Woods won the Masters by twelve shots at age 21, in the process breaking the tournament four-day scoring record that had stood for 32 years. Woods completed his "Tiger Slam" by winning his fourth straight major championship at the Masters in 2001. He won again the following year, making him only the third player in history to win the tournament in consecutive years, as well as in 2005 when he defeated Chris DiMarco in a playoff for his first major championship win in almost three years.
The club was targeted by Martha Burk, who organized a failed protest at the 2003 Masters to pressure the club into accepting female members. Burk planned to protest at the front gates of Augusta National during the third day of the tournament, but her application for a permit to do so was denied. A court appeal was dismissed. In 2004, Burk stated that she had no further plans to protest against the club.
Augusta National Chairman Billy Payne himself made headlines in April 2010, however, when he commented (at the annual pre-Masters press conference) on Tiger Woods' off-the-course behavior. "It's not simply the degree of his conduct that is so egregious here," Payne said, in his opening speech. "It is the fact he disappointed all of us and more importantly our kids and grandkids."
The 2003 tournament was won by Mike Weir, who became the first Canadian to win a men's major championship, and the first left-hander to win the Masters. The following year, another left-hander, Phil Mickelson, won his first major championship by making a birdie on the final hole to beat Ernie Els by a stroke. Mickelson also won the tournament in 2006 and 2010. In 2011, the tournament was won by South African Charl Schwartzel, who birdied the final four holes to win by two strokes. In 2012, Bubba Watson won the tournament on the second playoff hole. Watson's win marked the fifth time that a left-hander won the Masters in the previous ten tournaments. Prior to 2003, no left-hander had ever won the Masters. The 2013 Masters was won by Adam Scott, the first Australian to win the tournament. Watson won the 2014 Masters by three strokes over Jordan Spieth and Jonas Blixt. It was his second Masters victory in three years. In 2015, Spieth would become the second-youngest winner in just his second Masters.
The total prize money for the 2014 tournament was $9,000,000, with $1,620,000 going to the winner. In the inaugural year of 1934, the winner Horton Smith received $1,500 out of a $5,000 purse. After Nicklaus's first win in 1963, he received $20,000, while after his final victory in 1986 he won $144,000. In recent years the purse has grown quickly. Between 2001 and 2014, the winner's share grew by $612,000, and the purse grew by $3,400,000.
In addition to a cash prize, the winner of the tournament is presented with a distinctive green jacket, formally awarded since 1949, and informally acquired by the champions for many years before that. The green sport coat is the official attire worn by members of Augusta National while on the club grounds; each Masters winner becomes an honorary member of the club. The recipient of the green jacket has it presented to him inside the Butler Cabin soon after the end of the tournament, and the presentation is then repeated outside near the 18th green in front of the spectators. Winners keep their jacket for the first year after their first victory, then return it to the club to wear whenever they visit. The tradition began in 1949, when Sam Snead won his first of three Masters titles.
The green jacket is only allowed to be removed from Augusta National by the reigning champion, after which it must remain at the club. Exceptions to this rule include Gary Player, who in his joy of winning mistakenly took his jacket home to South Africa after his 1961 victory (although he has always followed the spirit of the rule and has never worn the jacket); Seve Ballesteros who, in an interview with Peter Alliss from his home in Pedreña, showed one of his two green jackets in his trophy room; and Henry Picard, whose jacket was removed from the club before the tradition was well established, remained in his closet for a number of years, and is now on display at Canterbury Golf Club in Beachwood, Ohio, where he was the club professional for many years.
By tradition, the winner of the previous year's Masters Tournament puts the jacket on the current winner at the end of the tournament. In 1966, Jack Nicklaus became the first player to win in consecutive years and he donned the jacket himself. When Nick Faldo (in 1990) and Tiger Woods (in 2002) repeated as champions, the chairman of Augusta National put the jacket on them.
There are several awards presented to players who perform exceptional feats during the tournament. The player who has the daily lowest score receives a crystal vase, while players who score a hole-in-one or a double eagle win a large crystal bowl. For each eagle a player makes he receives a pair of crystal goblets.
In addition to the green jacket, winners of the tournament receive a gold medal. They have their names engraved on the actual silver Masters trophy, introduced in 1961, which depicts the clubhouse. This trophy remains at Augusta National; since 1993 winners have received a sterling silver replica. The runner-up receives a silver medal, introduced in 1951. Beginning in 1978, a silver salver was added as an award for the runner-up.
In 1952 the Masters began presenting an award, known as the Silver Cup, to the lowest scoring amateur to make the cut. In 1954 they began presenting an amateur silver medal to the low amateur runner-up.
The Par 3 Contest was first introduced in 1960, and was won that year by Snead. Since then it has traditionally been played on the Wednesday before the tournament starts. The par 3 course was built in 1958. It is a nine-hole course, with a par of 27, and measures 1,060 yards (970 m) in length.
There have been 94 holes-in-one in the history of the contest, with a record nine occurring in 2016. Camilo Villegas became the first player to card two holes-in-one in the same round during the 2015 Par 3 Contest. No par 3 contest winner has also won the Masters in the same year. There have been several repeat winners, including Pádraig Harrington, Sandy Lyle and Sam Snead. The former two won in successive years.
In this event, golfers may use their children as caddies, which helps to create a family-friendly atmosphere. In 2008, the event was televised for the first time by ESPN.
The winner of the par 3 competition, which is played the day before the tournament begins, wins a crystal bowl.
As with the other majors, winning the Masters gives a golfer several privileges which make his career more secure. Masters champions are automatically invited to play in the other three majors (the U.S. Open, The Open Championship, and the PGA Championship (except for amateur winners unless they turn pro within the five-year period)) for the next five years, and earn a lifetime invitation to the Masters. They also receive membership on the PGA Tour for the following five seasons and invitations to The Players Championship for five years.
Because the tournament was established by an amateur golfer, Bobby Jones, the Masters has a tradition of honoring amateur golf. It invites winners of the most prestigious amateur tournaments in the world. Also, the current U.S. Amateur champion always plays in the same group as the defending Masters champion for the first two days of the tournament.
Amateurs in the field are welcome to stay in the "Crow's Nest" atop the Augusta National clubhouse during the tournament. The Crow's Nest is 1,200 square feet and there is space for five people to lodge there during the competition.
Since 1963 the custom in most years has been to start the tournament with an honorary opening tee shot at the first hole, typically by one of golf's greatest players. The original honorary starters were Jock Hutchison and Fred McLeod; this twosome led off every tournament from 1963 until 1973, when poor health prevented Hutchison from swinging a club. McLeod continued on until his death in 1976. Byron Nelson and Gene Sarazen started in 1981, and were then joined by Sam Snead in 1984. This trio continued until 1999 when Sarazen died, while Nelson stopped in 2001. Snead hit his final opening tee shot in 2002, a little over a month before he died.
In 2007, Arnold Palmer took over as the honorary starter. Palmer also had the honor in 2008 and 2009. At the 2010 and 2011 Masters Tournaments, Jack Nicklaus joined Palmer as an honorary co-starter for the event. In 2012, Gary Player joined them. Palmer announced in March 2016 that a lingering shoulder issue would prevent him from partaking in the 2016 tee shot. The 2015 tee shot ultimately proved to be Palmer's last; he died in September 2016.
The Champions' Dinner is held each year on the Tuesday evening preceding Thursday's first round. The dinner was first held in 1952, hosted by defending champion Ben Hogan, to honor the past champions of the tournament. At that time 15 tournaments had been played, and the number of past champions was 11. Officially known as the "Masters Club", it includes only past winners of the Masters, although selected members of the Augusta National Golf Club have been included as honorary members, usually the chairman.
The defending champion, as host, selects the menu for the dinner. Frequently, Masters champions have served finely prepared cuisine by the Masters chef from their home regions. Notable examples have included haggis, served by Scotsman Sandy Lyle in 1989, and bobotie, a South African dish, served at the behest of 2008 champion Trevor Immelman. Other examples include German Bernhard Langer's 1986 Wiener schnitzel, Britain's Nick Faldo's fish and chips, Canadian Mike Weir's elk and wild boar, and Vijay Singh's seafood tom kah and chicken panang curry. In 1997, 1979 champion Fuzzy Zoeller created a media storm when he suggested that Tiger Woods refrain from serving collard greens and fried chicken, dishes commonly associated with Afro-American culture, at the dinner.
Until 1983, all players in the Masters were required to use the services of an Augusta National Club caddy, who by club tradition was always an African American man. Indeed, club co-founder Clifford Roberts is reputed to have said, "As long as I'm alive, golfers will be white, and caddies will be black." Since 1983, players have been allowed the option of bringing their own caddy to the tournament.
The Masters requires caddies to wear a uniform consisting of a white jumpsuit, a green Masters cap, and white tennis shoes. The surname, and sometimes first initial, of each player is found on the back of his caddie's uniform. The defending champion always receives caddy number "1": other golfers get their caddy numbers from the order in which they register for the tournament. The other majors and some PGA Tour events formerly had a similar policy concerning caddies well into the 1970s; the U.S. Open first allowed players to use their own caddies in 1976.
The day after the tournament closes, The Bobby Jones Scholars from The University of St Andrews in Scotland play a four-ball round on the course - the last people to do so before the greenkeepers start the process of repairing and restoring the course to pre-tournament standard.
The Masters is the first major championship of the year. Since 1948, its final round has been scheduled for the second Sunday of April, with several exceptions. It ended on the first Sunday four times (1952, 1957, 1958, 1959) and the 1979 and 1984 tournaments ended on April 15, the month's third Sunday. The first edition in 1934 was held in late March and the next ten were in early April, with only the 1942 event scheduled to end on the second Sunday.
Similar to the other majors, the tournament consists of four rounds at 18 holes each, Thursday through Sunday (when there are no delays). The Masters has a relatively small field of contenders, when compared with other golf tournaments, so the competitors play in groups of three for the first two rounds (36 holes) and the field is not split to start on the 1st and 10th tees, unless weather shortens the available playing time. The tournament is unique in that it is the only major tournament conducted by a private club rather than a national golf organization like the PGA.
After 36 holes of play, a cut-off score is calculated to reduce the size of the field for the weekend rounds. To "make the cut", players must be either in the top 50 places (ties counting), or within 10 strokes of the leader's score. These criteria have applied since 2013. From 1957 to 1960, the top 40 scores (including ties) and those within 10 strokes of the leader made the cut. From 1961 to 2012, it was the top 44 (and ties) or within 10 strokes of the lead. Before 1957, there was no 36-hole cut and all of the invitees played four rounds, if desired.
Following the cut, an additional 36 holes are played over the final two days. Should the fourth round fail to produce a winner, all players tied for the lead enter a sudden-death playoff. Play begins on the 18th hole, followed by the adjacent 10th, repeating until one player remains. Adopted in 1976, the sudden-death playoff was originally formatted to start on the first hole, but was not needed for the first three years. It was changed for 1979 to the inward (final) nine holes, starting at the tenth tee, where the television coverage began. First employed that same year, the Masters' first sudden-death playoff ended on the eleventh green. The current arrangement, beginning at the 18th tee, was amended for 2004 and first used the following year. Through 2016, the ten sudden-death playoffs have yet to advance past the second extra hole. Earlier playoffs were 18 holes on the following day, except for the first in 1935, which was 36 holes; the last 18 hole playoff was in 1970, and none of the full-round playoffs went to additional holes.
The golf course was formerly a plant nursery and each hole is named after the tree or shrub with which it has become associated.
The course layout in 2014:
Lengths of the course for the Masters at the start of each decade:
The course was lengthened to 7,445 yards (6,808 m) in 2006. The first hole was shortened
by 10 yards (9 m) in 2009, resulting in the current length of 7,435 yards (6,799 m).
As with many other courses, Augusta National's championship setup was lengthened in recent years. In 2001, the course measured 6,925 yards (6,332 m) and was extended to 7,270 yards (6,648 m) for 2002, and again in 2006 to 7,445 yards (6,808 m); 520 yards (475 m) longer than the 2001 course. The changes attracted many critics, including the most successful players in Masters history, Jack Nicklaus, Arnold Palmer, Gary Player and Tiger Woods. Woods claimed that the "shorter hitters are going to struggle." Augusta National chairman Hootie Johnson was unperturbed, stating, "We are comfortable with what we are doing with the golf course." After a practice round, Gary Player defended the changes, saying, "There have been a lot of criticisms, but I think unjustly so, now I've played it.... The guys are basically having to hit the same second shots that Jack Nicklaus had to hit (in his prime)".
Originally, the grass on the putting greens was the wide-bladed Bermuda. The greens lost speed, especially during the late 1970s, after the introduction of a healthier strain of narrow-bladed Bermuda, which thrived and grew thicker. In 1978, the greens on the par 3 course were reconstructed with bentgrass, a narrow-bladed species that could be mowed shorter, eliminating grain. After this test run, the greens on the main course were replaced with bentgrass in time for the 1981 Masters. The bentgrass resulted in significantly faster putting surfaces, which has required a reduction in some of the contours of the greens over time.
Just before the 1975 tournament, the common beige sand in the bunkers was replaced with the now-signature white feldspar. It is a quartz derivative of the mining of feldspar and is shipped in from North Carolina.
The Masters has the smallest field of the major championships with 90–100 players. Unlike other majors, there are no alternates or qualifying tournaments. It is an invitational event, with invitations largely issued on an automatic basis to players who meet published criteria. The top 50 players in the Official World Golf Ranking are all invited.
Past champions are always eligible, but since 2002 the Augusta National Golf Club has discouraged them from continuing to participate at an advanced age. Some will later become honorary starters.
Invitation categories: Categories 6–10 are honored provided the participants maintain their amateur status prior to the tournament.
- Masters Tournament Champions (lifetime)
- U.S. Open champions (five years)
- The Open champions (five years)
- PGA champions (five years)
- Winners of the Players Championship (three years)
- Current U.S. Amateur champion and runner-up
- Current British Amateur champion
- Current Asia-Pacific Amateur champion
- Current U.S. Mid-Amateur champion
- Current Latin America Amateur champion
- The first 12 players, including ties, in the previous year's Masters Tournament
- The first 4 players, including ties, in the previous year's U.S. Open
- The first 4 players, including ties, in the previous year's Open Championship
- The first 4 players, including ties, in the previous year's PGA Championship
- Winners of PGA Tour regular season and playoff events that award at least a full-point allocation for the FedEx Cup, starting with the RBC Heritage the week after the Masters to the Shell Houston Open the week beforehand.
- Those qualifying for the previous year's season-ending Tour Championship (top 30 in FedEx Cup prior to tournament)
- The 50 leaders on the Final Official World Golf Ranking for the previous calendar year
- The 50 leaders on the Official World Golf Ranking published during the week prior to the current Masters Tournament
Most of the top current players will meet the criteria of multiple categories for invitation. The Masters Committee, at its discretion, can also invite any golfer not otherwise qualified, although in practice these invitations are currently reserved for international players.
Changes for the 2014 tournament include invitations now being awarded to the autumn events in the PGA Tour, which now begin the wraparound season, tightening of qualifications (top 12 plus ties from the Masters, top 4 from the U.S. Open, Open Championship, and PGA Championship), and the top 30 on the PGA Tour now referencing the season-ending points before the Tour Championship, not the former annual money list. The 2015 Masters added the winner of the newly established Latin America Amateur Championship, which effectively replaced the exemption for the United States Amateur Public Links Championship, which ended after the 2014 tournament. (The final Public Links champion played in the 2015 Masters.)
The first winner of the Masters Tournament was Horton Smith in 1934. He repeated his win in 1936. The player with the most Masters victories is Jack Nicklaus, who won six times between 1963 and 1986. Arnold Palmer and Tiger Woods have each won four, and Jimmy Demaret, Gary Player, Sam Snead, Nick Faldo and Phil Mickelson have three titles to their name. Player also became the tournament's first overseas winner with his first victory in 1961. Other notable winners include Byron Nelson, Ben Hogan, Tom Watson, Seve Ballesteros, Bernhard Langer, Ben Crenshaw, José María Olazábal and Bubba Watson, who have all won the Masters twice.The sudden-death format was adopted in 1976, first used in 1979, and revised in 2004.None of the 10 sudden-death playoffs has advanced past the second hole; three were decided at the first hole, seven at the second.
Playoffs prior to 1976 were full 18-hole rounds, except for 1935, which was 36 holes.
None of the 6 full-round playoffs were tied at the end of the round; the closest margin was one stroke in 1942 and 1954.
The 1962 playoff included three players Arnold Palmer, Gary Player and Dow Finsterwald. Palmer won the playoff with a round of 68, Player finished 2nd with a 71 and Finsterwald finished 3rd with a 77.
The 1966 playoff included three players Jack Nicklaus, Tommy Jacobs and Gay Brewer. Nicklaus won the playoff with a round of 70, Jacobs finished 2nd with a 72 and Brewer finished 3rd with a 78.
In 1952 the Masters began presenting an award, known as the Silver Cup, to the lowest scoring amateur to make the cut. In 1954 they began presenting an amateur silver medal to the low amateur runner-up.
Jack Nicklaus has won the most Masters (six) and was 7009145873440000000♠46 years, 82 days old when he won in 1986, making him the oldest winner of the Masters. Nicklaus is the record holder for the most top tens, with 22, and the most cuts made, with 37. The youngest winner of the Masters is Tiger Woods, who was 7008671695200000000♠21 years, 104 days old when he won in 1997. In that year Woods also broke the records for the widest winning margin (12 strokes), and the lowest winning score, with 270 (−18). Jordan Spieth tied his score record in 2015.
In 2013, Guan Tianlang became the youngest player ever to compete in the Masters, at age 7008456321600000000♠14 years, 168 days on the opening day of the tournament; the following day, he became the youngest ever to make the cut at the Masters or any men's major championship.
Gary Player holds the record for most appearances, with 52. Player also holds the record for the number of consecutive cuts made, with 23 between 1959 and 1982 (Player did not compete in 1973 as he was recovering from recent surgery). He shares this record with Fred Couples, who made his consecutive cuts between 1983 and 2007, not competing in 1987 and 1994.
Nick Price and Greg Norman share the course record of 63, with their rounds coming in 1986 and 1996 respectively. This score is also a record for all men's major championships.
The highest winning score of 289 (+1) has occurred three times: Sam Snead in 1954, Jack Burke, Jr. in 1956, and Zach Johnson in 2007. Anthony Kim holds the record for most birdies in a round with 11 in 2009 during his second round.
There have been only four double eagles carded in the history of the Masters; the latest occurring in 2012 when South Africa's Louis Oosthuizen, using a 4 iron, holed a reported 260-yard shot on the course's second hole, called Pink Dogwood. The other two rare occurrences of this feat after Sarazen's double eagle on the fabled course's Fire Thorn hole in 1935: Bruce Devlin made double eagle from 248 yards out with a 4 wood at the eighth hole (Yellow Jasmine) in the first round of the 1967 tournament, while Jeff Maggert hit a 3-iron 222 yards at the 13th hole (Azalea) in the fourth round of the 1994 event.
Three players share the record for most runner-up finishes with four: Ben Hogan (1942, 1946, 1954, 1955), Tom Weiskopf (1969, 1972, 1974, 1975), Jack Nicklaus (1964, 1971, 1977, 1981)
CBS has televised the Masters in the United States every year since 1956, when it used six cameras and covered only the final four holes. Tournament coverage of the first eight holes did not begin until 1993 because of resistance from the tournament organizers, but by 2006, more than 50 cameras were used. In 1997, chairmen Jack Stephens stated that the organizers were worried that broadcasting the front nine of the course on television would cut down on attendance for the tournament. USA Network added first- and second-round coverage in 1982, which was also produced by the CBS production team. The Masters has been broadcast every year in high-definition television since 2000, one of the first golf tournaments to ever hold that distinction, and the early round coverage previously aired in that format on USA's sister network, Universal HD. In 2008, ESPN replaced USA and Universal as the weekday coverage provider.
In 2005, CBS broadcast the tournament with high-definition fixed and handheld wired cameras, as well as standard-definition wireless handheld cameras. In 2006, a webstream called "Amen Corner Live" began providing coverage of all players passing through holes 11, 12, and 13 through all four rounds. This was the first full tournament multi-hole webcast from a major championship. In 2007, CBS added "Masters Extra," an extra hour of full-field bonus coverage daily on the internet, preceding the television broadcasts. In 2008, CBS added full coverage of holes 15 and 16 live on the web. In 2011, "Masters Extra" was dropped after officials gave ESPN an extra hour each day on Thursday and Friday. In 2016, the Amen Corner feed was broadcast in 4K ultra high definition exclusively on DirecTV—as one of the first live U.S. sports telecasts in the format.
While Augusta National Golf Club has consistently chosen CBS as its U.S. broadcast partner, it has done so in successive one-year contracts. Due to the lack of long-term contractual security, as well as the club's limited dependence on broadcast rights fees (owing to its affluent membership), it is widely held that CBS allows Augusta National greater control over the content of the broadcast, or at least performs some form of self-censorship, in order to maintain future rights. The club, however, has insisted it does not make any demands with respect to the content of the broadcast. Despite this, announcers who have been deemed not to have acted with the decorum expected by the club have been removed, notably Jack Whitaker and Gary McCord, and there also tends to be a lack of discussion of any controversy involving Augusta National, such as the 2003 Martha Burk protests.
Coverage itself carries a more formal style than other golf telecasts; announcers refer to the gallery as patrons rather than as spectators or fans. Gallery itself is also used. The club also disallows promotions for other network programs, with the sole exception of an on-screen mention of 60 Minutes should the final round run long or right before the coverage ends, nor does it allow sponsored graphics or blimps. Significant restrictions have been placed on the tournament's broadcast hours compared to other major championships. Only in the 21st century did the tournament allow CBS to air 18-hole coverage of the leaders, a standard at the other three majors. Since 1982, CBS has used "Augusta" by Dave Loggins as the event telecast's distinctive theme music. Loggins originally came up with the song during his first trip to the Augusta course in 1981.
The club mandates minimal commercial interruption, currently limited to four minutes per hour (as opposed to the usual 12 or more); this is subsidized by selling exclusive sponsorship packages to three companies—in 2013, these "global sponsors" were IBM, ExxonMobil and AT&T. In 2014, ExxonMobil was replaced as a global sponsor by Mercedes-Benz. The club also sells separate sponsorship packages, which do not provide rights to air commercials on the U.S. telecasts, to two "international partners"; in 2014, those companies will be Rolex and UPS (the latter of which replaced Mercedes-Benz upon that company's elevation to "global sponsor" status). In the immediate aftermath of the Martha Burk controversy, there were no commercials during the 2003 and 2004 U.S. broadcasts.
WestwoodOne (previously Dial Global and CBS Radio) has provided live radio play-by-play coverage in the United States since 1956. This coverage can also be heard on the official Masters website. The network provides short two- or three-minute updates throughout the tournament, as well as longer three- and four-hour segments towards the end of the day.
The BBC has broadcast the Masters in the UK since 1986, and it also provides live radio commentary on the closing stages on Radio Five Live. With the 2007 launch of BBC HD, UK viewers can now watch the championship in that format. BBC Sport held the TV and radio rights through to 2010. The BBC's coverage airs without commercials because it is financed by a licence fee. From the 2011 Masters, Sky Sports began broadcasting all four days, as well as the par 3 contest in HD and, for the first time ever, in 3D. The BBC will only have highlights of the first two days' play but will go head to head with Sky Sports, with full live coverage on the final two days of play. In Ireland, from 2008 Setanta Ireland will broadcast all four rounds live having previously broadcast the opening two rounds with RTÉ broadcasting the weekend coverage.
In Canada, broadcast rights to the Masters are held by Bell Media, with coverage divided between TSN (cable), which carries live simulcasts and primetime encores of CBS and ESPN coverage for all four rounds, CTV (broadcast), which simulcasts CBS's coverage of the weekend rounds, and RDS, which carries French-language coverage. Prior to 2013, Canadian broadcast rights were held by a marketing company, Graham Sanborn Media, which in turn bought time on the Global Television Network, TSN, and RDS (except for 2012 when French-language coverage aired on TVA and TVA Sports) to air the broadcasts, also selling all of the advertising for the Canadian broadcasts. This was an unusual arrangement in Canadian sports broadcasting, as in most cases broadcasters acquire their rights directly from the event organizers or through partnerships with international rightsholders, such as ESPN International (ESPN owns a minority stake in TSN). In 2013, Global and TSN began selling advertising directly, and jointly produced their own preview and highlights shows for Canadian audiences (while still carrying ESPN/CBS coverage for the tournament itself).
On December 15, 2015, TSN parent company Bell Media announced that it had acquired exclusive Canadian rights to The Masters beginning 2016 under a multi-year deal. Broadcast television coverage will move to co-owned broadcast network CTV, while TSN uses its expanded five-channel service to carry supplemental feeds (including the Amen Corner feed and early coverage of each round) that were previously exclusive to digital platforms.
In most other countries, including much of Asia, Latin America, northern Africa, and the Middle East, broadcast rights for the entire tournament are held by the ESPN International networks.
Although tickets for the Masters are not expensive, they are very difficult to come by. Even the practice rounds can be difficult to get into. Applications for practice round tickets have to be made nearly a year in advance and the successful applicants are chosen by random ballot. Tickets to the actual tournament are sold only to members of a patrons list, which is closed. A waiting list for the patrons list was opened in 1972 and closed in 1978. It was reopened in 2000 and subsequently closed once again. In 2008, the Masters also began allowing children (between the ages of 8 and 16) to enter on tournament days free if they are accompanied by the patron who is the owner of his or her badge. The difficulty in acquiring Masters badges has made the tournament one of the largest events on the secondary ticket market. A majority of the badges for the Masters are delivered to the same group of patrons, fans, and members each year, and these perennial ticket holders sometimes decide to sell their badges through large ticket marketplaces such as StubHub, TicketCity, and VividSeats. Some of these marketplaces will allow fans to purchase a Masters badge for a single day, as opposed to the traditional 4-day pass.