10 April 2019: The Masters is an experience enriched by long-held traditions, protected for several decades and preserved for the benefit of the game and its grateful patrons.
Here are five great traditions that make the Masters such a special celebration of golf –
- No mobiles anywhere on the grounds. Not even for the players. If you need a detox, this is the place to be. Augusta takes it upon itself that no phone is ever used on the grounds. In the event that you sneak one in, prepare to be escorted out unceremoniously, blacklisted never to return again.
Cameras are allowed through Wednesday. And you will find several patrons walking the grounds starry eyed and willing to light up the flash at the drop of a hat. There are obviously so many timeless sights that you want to capture and carry with you. But then, come Thursday morning, the only cameras on the grounds are those of the licensed media, permitted through an accreditation process.
- The long white boiler suits of the Caddies – this is a tradition that has been carried forward from the archaic times when only black men were offered up to caddie at the Augusta National Golf Club. The members wanted the caddies to be uniformly presentable, leading to the white overall and the green cap. The tradition lives on to the day and even if coloured caddies are a thing of the past, the professionals that caddie at Augusta need to slip into one before they hit the ground.
- On the Friday leading into the Masters in 1952, defending champion Ben Hogan proposed and held a dinner for all his fellow champions. The tradition took hold and is one of the most awaited events every Masters week. Only the Champions Dinner is now held on the Tuesday of the tournament week. Patrick Reed hosted the champions and the chairman of the club last night.
- The Par-3 contest in the afternoon on Wednesday is a grand celebration of golf with friends and family. All the participants and any past champions not playing the week are invited. Many of them bring along their friends and families to walk the course with them decked in the Masters caddie suits. The event is played over nine holes on a layout just adjacent to the actual competition course.
- Skipping 16 is another fun tradition at the Masters. Soon as the players reach the tee box of the iconic par-3, patrons start crying in unison – skip, skip, skip. After playing off the tee, players normally walk to the edge of the pond, from where they try to send the ball to green skipping off the pond.