What Is The Masters Golf Tournament?

masters golf tournament

The Masters Tournament in golf is a major championship that is played at Augusta National Golf Club in Augusta, Georgia. The Masters has been played yearly since 1934 and is famous for its beautiful course, dramatic finishes, and the green jackets worn by the victors. Let’s dive into the tournament a bit deeper.

Overview of The Masters

The Masters Tournament in golf has been held yearly since 1934 after the former golfer Bobby Jones opened Augusta National in 1933. The tournament was originally called the Augusta National Invitation Tournament, but the name changed before the 1939 event. The Masters has always been played at Augusta National and has featured many of the most historic moments in the sport. Tiger Woods won his first major at the 1997 Masters, and Gene Sarazen made one of the greatest shots of all time when he sunk a double-eagle in 1935. The Masters is widely regarded as the most exciting tournament in golf due to its beautiful course and tricky holes.

One of the most recognizable Masters traditions is the green jacket winners are given, which began in 1949 after Sam Snead won the tournament. Every year since, the winner has been presented with a green jacket by the winner of the previous year’s tournament.

Tournament Format

The Masters is the first major tournament played in professional golf each year. The tournament is over the span of four days, with each golfer playing a round of eighteen holes each of those days. Competitors play the course in groups of three for the first two rounds, then switch to groups of two should they reach the final two rounds by shooting under the cut-off score. 

Unlike other tournaments, players always start on the 1st hole of the course instead of splitting between starting on the 1st or 10th hole to allow more players to participate. The player with the lowest score at the end of 72 holes wins the tournament. Should two or more players be tied, they will all go to a playoff until one is named the winner.

Women’s Amateur Tournament Format

While there is not a professional Masters Tournament for female golfers, the Masters have held a women’s amateur competition since 2018. This tournament normally takes place during the month of April, and hosts 72 amateur golfers over 54 holes of play. After the first 36 holes, the top 30 golfers advance to the final round. The winner of the tournament will receive an invitation to the event the following year, as well as invitations to other prominent golf events.

Awards and Trophies

The winner of the Masters Tournament will receive a green Masters jacket, a Masters trophy, and an allotted amount of prize money. In 2021, the winner’s prize pool sat at $11.5 million. The winner of the tournament was allotted over $2 million, with second place receiving $1.24 million. In 2019, the golfer in 52nd place received over $28 thousand, showing that even lower performers in the tournament have a chance to make some money.

Notable Champions

There have been many strong competitors and champions over the years since the Masters Tournament was created. Here are some of the most notable champions with the year(s) they won:

  • Jack Nicklaus (1963, 1965, 1966, 1972, 1975, 1986)
  • Arnold Palmer (1958, 1960, 1962, 1964)
  • Tiger Woods (1997, 2001, 2002, 2005, 2019)
  • Phil Mickelson (2004, 2006, 2010)
  • Sam Snead (1949, 1952, 1954)
  • Gary Player (1961, 1974, 1978)
  • Tom Watson (1977, 1981)
  • Byron Nelson (1937, 1942)
  • Ben Hogan (1951, 1953)
  • Ben Crenshaw (1984, 1995)


When does the Masters take place?

Traditionally, the Masters is played early in April so that the final round can be played on the second Sunday of the month. The tournament starts on Thursday, with all golfers teeing off throughout the day. They continue to play on Friday before the cut-off decides who is able to play on Saturday and Sunday. In 2020, the Masters Tournament took place in November for the first time in the tournament’s history due to the Covid-19 pandemic.

Where is the Masters played?

The Masters has always been played at Augusta National Golf Club in Augusta, Georgia. This is a private golf club founded in 1933 by legendary golfer Bobby Jones. Unlike the other golf majors, the Masters is never played at another golf course. This ensures that all of those legendary Masters moments happen each year on Augusta’s illustrious course.  

Who plays in the Masters?

The Masters consists of the best professional and amateur men’s golfers, but it has strict rules on who can participate. Professionals in the World Top-50 rankings, players who won the Players’ Championship within three years, winners of the U.S. Open, British Open, and PGA Championship within the past five years, former Masters winners, and top performers from the majors are all invited. Amateurs who won that year’s U.S. Amateur, British Amateur, U.S. Amateur Public Links, Asian Amateur, and U.S. Mid-Amateur are also invited.

Who has won the most Masters tournaments?

The golfer with the most Masters wins is Jack Nicklaus, who won six times throughout his career. He won the tournament in 1963, 1965, 1966, 1972, 1975, and 1986. With all of these wins, he accumulated a total of $269,000 across his six victories. While this number may be small compared to the prizes won today, this was a large sum of money when Nicklaus was competing.

What do golfers get for winning the Masters?

Winners at the Masters receive the largest allotment of the prize money out of all competitors, a green Masters jacket, and a trophy that looks like Augusta National’s clubhouse. In 2021, the winner took home $2 million and an invitation to every Masters Tournament for the rest of their playing career.