Looking ahead to the 2019 Masters Tournament? Our comprehensive guide will make sure you know everything there is to know about the upcoming event.
When Bobby Jones retired from competitive golf after winning the Grand Slam in 1930, he set his sights on building his dream course. Aided by his friend, New York investment banker Clifford Roberts, the perfect site was found in Augusta, Ga., on a former tree nursery. “It seemed that this land had been lying here for years just waiting for someone to lay a golf course upon it,” Jones later wrote.
Jones collaborated with architect Alister MacKenzie on the design of Augusta National Golf Club, building a strategic layout that was immediately acclaimed upon opening in 1932. There was some discussion with the USGA of holding a U.S. Open there, but that didn’t work out since the club was closed during the summer months. So Roberts came up with the idea of holding an invitation tournament in the spring, hosted by the legendary Jones.
With Jones interrupting his retirement to play in the event, the inaugural Augusta National Invitation Tournament (as it was then named) in 1934 drew more press coverage than any tournament outside of the U.S. Open. By the time Gene Sarazen won in 1935 in spectacular fashion, fueled by a double eagle on the 15th hole, the tournament (which would officially become the Masters in 1939) had already become a rite of spring.
Sarazen’s victory was only one example of Augusta National bringing out the best in the game’s greatest players, as it has continued to do throughout Masters history. Byron Nelson won his first major there in 1937 and added another Masters in 1942. Sam Snead and Ben Hogan claimed five of the six Masters from 1949 to 1954, Snead three and Hogan two.
Arnold Palmer, with his swashbuckling style, used Augusta National as his main stage, becoming the first to win the Masters four times—1958, 1960, 1962 and 1964. Jack Nicklaus came along and did Palmer two better, claiming six green jackets from 1963 to 1986. South Africa’s Gary Player also made a mark with Masters titles in 1961, 1974 and 1978. He heralded the rise of international players in golf, and especially in the Masters. England’s Nick Faldo, with three titles (1989, 1990, 1996) led a vanguard of Europeans who captured 11 Masters from 1980 to 1999.
Just before the turn of the century, the game’s next dominant player arrives, and like Palmer and Nicklaus before him he made his mark on Augusta National. In his first professional season, 1997, Tiger Woods broke Nicklaus’ Masters scoring record with an 18-under 270, and ran his green jacket total to four with wins in 2001, 2002 and 2005.
Recently, left-handers have had a strong run, Phil Mickelson winning three times (2004, 2006, 2010) and Bubba Watson two (2012, 2014). Then along came Jordan Spieth, who sandwiched T2 finishes in 2014 and 2016 around a record-tying 72-hole performance in a 2015 victory.
These events take place on a course that is designed for high drama. The second nine, in particular, often produces large swings on the leaderboard as it can yield low scores to outstanding play but also can deal harshly with a player whose game is faltering or who tries to produce heroic golf but is slightly off. A few examples: Player and Nicklaus shooting 30 on the closing nine to win in 1978 and 1986; Greg Norman (1996), Rory McIlroy (2011) and Spieth (2016) letting it slip away with closing nines of 40 or higher.
With the 2019 Masters Tournament just around the corner, here’s everything you need to know, from course information to last year’s winner.
When and where?
April 11-14, 2019 in Augusta, Ga, at the Augusta National Golf Club.
Augusta National Golf Club was designed by Alister MacKenzie and Bobby Jones, opening in 1932. Laid out on the site of a former tree nursery, the course features elevation changes, large undulating greens and relatively few but strategically placed bunkers. The course has undergone changes throughout its history to continue to provide a strong test for Masters competitors.
7,435; par 72
For information, visit online at www.masters.com.
How Patrick Reed won in 2018
Patrick Reed opened with rounds of 69-66-67 for a 202 total that was two off the Masters 54-hole record. It gave him a three-stroke lead over Rory McIlroy with no one else closer than five strokes, but Reed still had to withstand heavy pressure in the final round to come away with the victory.
— Masters Tournament (@TheMasters) April 8, 2018
McIlroy quickly pulled within one stroke after two holes on Sunday, thanks to a birdie on the second hole after a Reed bogey on the first. It wasn’t McIlroy’s day, though, as he would fall back with a 74 in the final round. The 27-year-old Reed, competing in the town where he played collegiately for Augusta State, had two birdies and two bogeys for an even-par 36 on the front nine to make the turn with a four-stroke advantage, but on the back nine a couple of challengers materialized.
Jordan Spieth began the final round nine strokes back and pulled within four thanks to a 31 on the front nine. The 2015 Masters champion proceeded to birdie Nos. 12, 13, 15 and 16 to tie Reed for the lead at 14-under and threaten the course record of 63. However, Spieth’s drive on 18 clipped a tree, setting up a bogey that gave him a 64.
Reed, meanwhile, after making a bogey on 11 to go 1-over for the round, birdied the 12th and 14th to get to 15-under and nose ahead even before Spieth’s closing bogey. Then it was Rickie Fowler’s turn to make a run with birdies on four of the last seven holes, including the 18th, to shoot a 67 and finish at 14-under. That forced Reed to par the last four holes for a 71 and the victory, accomplishing it with a two-putt from 25 feet on 18. It was his sixth career victory and first in a major, a runner-up finish at the 2017 PGA Championship his only previous major top-10.
- Reed had four streaks of three consecutive birdies in the first two rounds, on Nos. 13-15 in the opening round and Nos. 1-3, 7-9 and 13-15 in the second round. On top of that, he had an eagle-par-eagle streak on Nos. 13-15 in the third round.
- Reed was 13-under par on the 12 par 5s he played in the first three rounds, but settled for pars on all four of them in the final round. He still ranked first in Par 5 Scoring Average.
- Reed had 22 birdies and two eagles on the week to rank first in Par Breakers, offsetting 11 bogeys.
- Reed had 104 putts on the week to rank first in Putts Per Round.
- Reed ranked third in Total Driving, as he was sixth in Driving Distance and T13 in Driving Accuracy Percentage.
- If Spieth had emerged with a victory from nine strokes behind he would have set a tournament record for largest final-round comeback. Jack Burke won from eight strokes back in 1956.
Things weren’t looking good for Patrick Reed when he bogeyed the 11th hole in Sunday’s final round. His four-stroke lead had disappeared quickly with Jordan Spieth on fire up ahead, catching Reed at 13-under with his third birdie in four holes on No. 15. Reed stepped to the tee on the dangerous par-3 12th, where so many Masters dreams have drowned in Rae’s Creek in front of the green, and played a safe shot 22 feet past the hole. He proceeded to hole the putt to regain the lead.
The drama wasn’t over, as Spieth birdied the 16th to pull into a tie for first at 14-under. Reed failed to birdie the par-5 13th, in fact catching a break when his second shot hung up on the bank of the hazard in front of the green. Reed steadied himself with drive on the par-4 14th to the middle of the fairway and a 161-yard approach that settled eight feet from the hole. He drilled the putt to regain the lead, this time for good.
Spieth dropped out with a bogey on 18, but Rickie Fowler assured that the stretch run would be nerve-wracking for Reed. At about the same time Reed was holing a five-foot par putt on 17, Fowler birdied 18 to pull within one. Now Reed needed a par on the finishing hole, not guaranteed after his approach finished 25 feet above the hole, leaving a slick downhill putt. That one rolled three feet past, but Reed holed it for a hard-earned green jacket.
This article first appeared in the PGA TOUR December 2018-May 2019 issue, which can be read here.