7 Interesting Rules and Traditions of the Masters
People from all over the country are flocking to Augusta, Georgia to witness one of the most prestigious sports tournaments in the nation. The Masters golf tournament begins this week at Augusta National Golf Club. The tournament has been around for nearly a century and most of the rituals and practices have remained unchanged in that time. Some of those customs are a bit quirky — so quirky, we have to share them. Here are 7 interesting rules and traditions of the Masters.
No Electronics This is one of the newer rules, but it’s strictly enforced. No cell phones, tablets, walkie-talkies or anything that makes noise or buzzes is allowed on the course. Cameras are allowed on the grounds, but only during practice rounds. But that doesn’t mean the Masters hasn’t adapted with the times — it does have its own smartphone app.
Prim & Proper Reporting Sportscasters who are selected must stick to strict reporting of the tournament — no sugar-coating, off-beat metaphors or colorful language is accepted. In fact, if a sportscaster deviates at all from straight-reporting, he will be removed from his position. In 1966, Jack Whitaker was banned from announcing at the Masters for five years for referring to a crowd as a “mob.” Nearly 30 years later, tournament officials were as strict with Gary McCord when he likened the 17th green to a smooth bikini wax. He was also banned for five years.
Patrons There are no spectators or fans at the Masters, only “patrons.” It kind of makes sense to elevate the name of a spectator since the badges (not tickets) are nearly impossible to come by. Patrons who already have badges renew them each year and then they’re passed down from generation to generation — the club has not sold a new badge in almost five decades. The club kept waiting lists for brief periods, but the people who want badges each year outnumber the badges the club can provide.
Keep It Classy Patrons are scolded for any number of reasons — leaning too far back, bare feet, running, taking someone’s spot or lawn chair in the patron viewing area. If you go to the tournament, your behavior should match your behavior at church.
Membership Membership at Augusta National is different than being a patron. It’s very exclusive — members are senators, billionaires, CEOs of Fortune 500 companies — not your everyday golfers. But it’s that way by design — membership is only granted with an invitation. How to get that invitation is anyone’s guess, but it helps to be aloof. Bill Gates did not make his desire to be a member a secret — in the 1990s, he hobnobbed and golfed with those who have pull, but it wasn’t until the early 2000s that the club extended an invitation. And, up until a few years ago, it was an all-male club. The first female members — former Secretary of State Condoleezza Rice and Darla Moore — were admitted in 2012.
Green Jackets The Masters is known for the green jacket that is awarded to the winner every year, and even that comes with rules. The winner can take it off the club grounds, but he has to return it within the year. After that, he can wear it whenever he wants as long as it’s worn on club grounds.
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