Following an unprecedented Masters last November due to a COVID-19 delay, the illustrious golf tournament will return to its traditional April slot next week. Tournament week begins on Monday, April 5 with a practice round in each of the first three days at the beautiful golf course in Augusta, Georgia. The legendary tournament, with its loaded pool of talent, will officially begin on Thursday, April 8.
The Masters is a tournament unlike any other, and its traditions are special.
The green jacket is the most notable tradition. Beginning in 1949, Augusta National began awarding a unique green jacket to the winner of the championship each year. With this prestigious jacket comes a lifetime of perks, benefits, and honor, including a lifelong membership within the exclusive golf club. Though the champion must return the jacket to Augusta after a year, they may wear it whenever they visit. Masters champions also receive a permanent locker in the Champions Locker Room, an area visitors—and even regular, non-tournament-winning members—are restricted from.
The previous winner is also responsible for hosting the Champions Dinner each year on the Tuesday evening before the Masters main event on Thursday. According to the tradition, defending champions plan the menu as a host to honor the previous champions. Usually, they plan a cuisine from their home region, which is cooked by a group of Masters’ Chefs from that region. As part of the tradition, the winner from the previous year also presents the jacket to the present winner when play concludes on Sunday.
This year, that man is defending champion Dustin Johnson from Columbia, South Carolina. It’s no surprise that DJ is the odds-on favorite to reclaim the green jacket. Besides becoming the first player in Masters history to card multiple rounds of 65 strokes or better, he’s the current 1-ranked player in the world and has been on a tear of late. In his past nine events, he hasn’t missed a cut, has won twice, been a runner-up, has four top-10 finishes, and has five top-25 finishes.
Fan favorite Jordan Spieth is also a strong contender, and he’s currently playing his best golf in years. In his past five PGA starts, he has three top-five finishes and a 15-overall finish on the back of some great ball striking to go along with his consistently elite short game. He also has a fantastic course record at Augusta, compiling a win, two runner-ups, and a third in seven career starts at the Masters.
Rory McIlroy, always a fierce competitor, also has plenty of motivation. The winner of four total major tournaments, he’s captured trophies at the U.S. Open (2011), the PGA Championship (2012, 2014), and the British Open (2014). The Master’s is the only major that’s eluded him, and he’s still one of the best players in the world. Watch out for McIlroy to complete the Grand Slam.
CBS and ESPN are the broadcasters of the tournament. While ESPN holds the rights for early-round coverage, CBS will cover the main event. If you wish to stream golf on the go, download the CBS app and log in using your TDS credentials.
By Garrett Seymour, TDS Communications Intern