Augusta, the first time of the Masters in 1934

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Augusta, the first time of the Masters in 1934
Augusta, the first time of the Masters in 1934 (Provided by Tennis World USA)

Eighty-nine years ago, at 9.45am (local time), defending Miami Open champion Ralph Stonehouse took the first tee shot of what would become one of the most famous (and celebrated) tournaments in the world. From the Camellia tee, the current 10th hole, Stonehouse kicked off the Augusta National Invitation Tournament, the original name of the tournament.

The following year the order of the holes was reversed, thus establishing what is still followed today. The current name Masters Tournament, however, was adopted in 1939.

Augusta, history

Finally, in 1948, it was decided to move from the month of March to the first weekend of April.

But let's go back to 1934. On a brand new course, designed by the great Alister MacKenzie, on the 365 acres of Fruitland Nurseries, the estate purchased by Bobby Jones and Clifford Roberts, Missouri pro Horton Smith became the first Masters Champion in history.

Smith prevailed with 284 strokes, beating Craig Wood by one stroke (find the full ranking here). He cashed a first coin of $1,500, about $32,000 today, which was a very significant sum at the time, considering it was more than the U.S.

first prize amount. Open and the PGA Championship. The US player will repeat the Masters Tournament title in 1936. In 1990 he was inducted into the World Golf Hall of Fame. Horton did not have the pleasure of wearing the Green Jacket, as the tradition of handing the new Masters Champion the emerald blazer was established in 1949 (the first to wear it was Sam Snead).

But he still had the pleasure of playing with Bobby Jones who, on the occasion of the first tournament he so strongly desired, despite having officially retired from playing golf in 1930, took the field. He placed thirteenth in his last competition.

And he entered the legend of Augsburg forever. The Augusta National Golf Club, located in the North American city of Augusta, Georgia, is one of the most prestigious and exclusive golf clubs in the world. Founded by golfer Bobby Jones, and designed by Alister MacKenzie on the site of a former indigo plantation, the club opened in January 1933.

Since 1934 it has hosted the annual event The Masters, or better known as the Augusta Masters, one of the most important events in the men's individual calendar for golf professionals: it is one of the four majors. The winner of each edition of the Augusta Masters can wear a characteristic green jacket that, among many other figures in the history of golf, has been worn by the Spaniards Severiano Ballesteros and José María Olazábal, the Argentine Ángel Cabrera and the Spanish Sergio García, the last winner on year 2017.