The Masters Tournament: Your Complete Guide
The 85th edition of The Masters Tournament takes place in Augusta on Thursday 8th April 2021 just 21 weeks on from Dustin Johnson’s winning putt on the green last November.
Ahead of this year’s action we have put together your ultimate guide to the tournament so that you can impress your friends with your knowledge during the action and perhaps take advantage of the current odds to win the Masters, offered by sportsbooks.
Read on to find out everything you need to know about Golf’s biggest singles tournament.
Where is it?
The Masters Tournament has been held at the Augusta National Golf Club since it was created in 1933 by legendary amateur golfer Bobby Jones and financier Clifford Roberts.
The course, which was designed by British surgeon and golf course architect Alister MacKenzie in 1927 is one of the finest and most pristine courses on the planet. It’s notoriously difficult to master holes and the natural beauty that surrounds the course has made it impossible for tournament organisers to imagine considering any other venue.
What is the ‘Green Jacket’?
The Green Jacket is a literal jacket that is awarded to the winning player who can keep it for a year before returning it ahead of the next tournament. This became a tradition in 1949 when Sam Snead won the tournament.
Prior to then, Augusta National Members had worn green sports coats so that they could be recognised by fans and members of the press. Therefore winning the Masters automatically grants winner’s membership to the Augusta National Golf Club.
Why are the holes named after flowers?
When you watch the tournament on the TV you might notice the commentators referring to Azalia, Chinese Fir and Magnolia. That’s because the holes at Augusta are named after the flowers that can be found around the course.
This is an homage to the site’s history, as prior to being a golf course it was a nursery for thousands of flowering plants and trees imported from all over the world. In fact, flowers are so important to Augusta that organisers try to schedule the tournament to coincide with the relatively short flowering period of the site’s famous Azalia plants.
The 11th, 12th and 13th holes at Augusta are nicknamed ‘Amen Corner’ after Sports Illustrated writer Herbert Warren Wind christened them as such in homage to the miraculous way in which Arnold Palmer negotiated them
Who won the 2020 Masters?
As a result of the pandemic the 2020 incarnation of The Masters was reschedule for the winter, being held in the middle of November. Behind closed doors, American golfer Dustin Johnson rose to the top with a record score of 268 (20 under par).
Johnson finished four strokes ahead of South Korean Im Sung-jae and Australian Cameron Smith who finished second and third respectively
Who are the favourites for the 2021 tournament?
It is always tempting to the current holders of the Green Jacket and back them to romp to success yet again at Augusta. However, there hasn’t been a back-to-back winner of The Masters since 2002, when Tiger Woods scooped two successive Green Jackets.
In fact, traditionally the winners of the previous tournament perform terribly when trying to defend their crown. In the past 15 years, only Jordan Spieth and Tiger Woods have finished in the top 10 when defending the title.
Last year, Woods finished 38th and the year prior the 2018 winner Patrick Reed finished in 36th place. The fact that Johnson still remains favourite for this year’s tournament with the
Rory McIlroy: The Northern Irish golfer has had quite the career to date but there is still one title missing from his collection – The Masters. Victory at Augusta would secure him a career Grand Slam, making him only the sixth player in history to have won every major.
He comes into this year’s tournament ranked eleventh in the world and armed with a driver swing that makes him dangerous in Augusta. However, if you are thinking of backing McIlroy to win this year’s tournament beware of his ‘Augusta curse’.
Time and time again when placed well, McIlroy has crumbled under the pressure at Augusta, going to pieces when it really matters. Although the reduced spectator numbers at this year’s tournament could suit McIlroy well, reducing the noise and external pressure and thus allowing him to focus on his game.
Justin Thomas: Aside from Dustin Johnson, there is no one else on the planet playing golf as good as Justin Thomas. Since last year’s tournament, Thomas has risen from third to second in the world rankings and looks in good shape to excel in Augusta.
He recently held off DeChambeau and Westwood to win the Players Championship to ensure that he goes into The Masters in good form. The 28-year-old is obsessed with improving his game and you can bet that he has been working thinking about The Masters ever since the last tournament finished in November of last year.
Jon Rahm: 26-year-old Spaniard Jon Rahm has risen to prominence in recent years with a number of impressive performances at Majors. Unfortunately though, he has come up short when it matters on a number of occasions – finishing third at the U.S. Open in 2019 and fourth at The Masters the year before.
2020 however was a landmark year for Rahm as he rose to world number 1 in July before slipping down to third in the rankings recently. His star is rising though and bookmakers perhaps highlights that most ordinary betters are unaware of the Augusta curse of defending champions.
If as history suggests, Johnson fails to retain his Green Jacket, who else can step up to the fore and win the tournament? Here are three of the main contenders:
winning The Masters would be some way to announce himself on the world stage.
Outside of those names there are a number of players who will feel confident of navigating Augusta well enough to be in the final reckoning. Regardless of who wins though, The Masters will be a treat for viewing fans who will get the chance to see all of the world’s greats on one stage.