A tradition unlike any other returns to its traditional spot on the April calendar for the 85th edition.
The Masters Tournament will be the third major of the season but the second consecutive one hosted by Augusta National Golf Club. For the first time in history the Masters will be played twice in five months.
So we have that going for us. Which is nice.
The return to spring will also return the course conditions to its traditional playability.
A-1 Penn Bentgrass greens, measuring almost 6,500 square feet on average, will be in peak condition and conditioned to run at the famous “tournament speed”. Ryegrass fairways and the second cut will meander up and down the hilly terrain providing lies of all sorts, except those that are perfectly level. Experienced players know which shots to take on and which shots to take their medicine.
Only 44 sand bunkers impede tee to green but only a few are for decoration only. The six water hazards lend their watery mystique to the proceedings on the back nine and will affect shot-making on holes Nos. 11, 12, 13, 15 and 16. As the saying goes, the tournament usually begins on the back nine on Sunday because of chances to score and also the chance of danger looming on those five holes if shots are not properly execute under stressful conditions.
Dr. Alistair MacKenzie, with help from Bobby Jones and more recently Tom Fazio, converted Fruitland Nurseries into this playing paradise in 1932. The Masters has been played every year since 1934 with the exception of the pause of World War II from 1943-1945. The most recent modification was the addition of a new tee box, and 40 more yards, to Hole No. 5 for the 2019 event.
Augusta National has four Par-5 holes, four Par-3 holes and plays to Par-72 at 7,475 yards. Nick Price (1986) and Greg Norman (1996) share the course record of 63. Neither player won.
As we return to spring, the field will consist of 88 players still pursuing the famous green jacket, trophy and 600 FedExCup points for the winner. Looking back to fall, the prize pool, yet to be announced, was $11.5 million with winner Dustin Johnson taking home $2.07 million for his first victory at Augusta National Golf Club.