Masters 1958, the birth of the Amen Corner

Sixty-six years ago, the twenty-second edition of the Masters Tournament concluded in the first week of April

by Andrea Gussoni
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Masters 1958, the birth of the Amen Corner
© Getty Images Sport - Patrick Smith / Staff

Sixty-six years ago, the twenty-second edition of the Masters Tournament concluded in the first week of April. The inaugural tournament took place in 1934, but the Second World War imposed a hiatus of three years. The 1958 edition of the Masters was marked by events that would go down in Masters history.

Augusta, history

Before the tournament, a ceremony was held to dedicate the two famous stone bridges that span Rae’s Creek. The bridge leading to the 12th green was named the Ben Hogan Bridge, commemorating his 1953 victory with a then-record score of -14, which stood until 1965.

Conversely, the bridge connecting the 12th green to the 13th tee became the Nelson Bridge, honoring the Texan's performance in 1937. Nelson clinched his first Masters victory with a two-stroke lead over Ralph Guldahl, thanks to a stunning sequence: a birdie on the 12th and an eagle on the 13th.

But 1958 also saw the first triumph at Augusta by a young professional, the twenty-eight-year-old Arnold Palmer. However, it was not a victory without drama, due to a ruling regarding a plugged ball behind the 12th green that initially penalized Palmer (who, fortunately, decided to play a second ball), but was later corrected several holes later.

The most significant contribution of the twenty-second edition to Masters history will forever remain the baptism of the three holes where the tournament's fate is often decided, just as it was in 1958. Herbert Warren Wind, a seasoned journalist with Sports Illustrated specializing in golf history, witnessed the heated discussion between Palmer and the officials regarding the ruling on the 12th hole.

Warren decided to coin a term that would aptly convey the drama of that Sunday, capturing the difficulty of that stretch of three holes, considering their rich history of events. Besides being a skilled journalist, Warren was also a jazz aficionado, drawing inspiration from that world and choosing the tune "Shoutin’ in the Amen Corner." Perhaps unknowingly (and I say perhaps), Warren had made history. The Amen Corner was born. In 1958.

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