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  Monday, 2 April, 2001, 16:29 GMT 17:29 UK
The history of the Masters
The Augusta clubhouse surrounded by blue sky
The Augusta clubhouse was constructed in 1932
BBC Sport Online's Pranav Soneji looks at the history of one of golf's most prestigious events - The Masters.

It is staggering to think that one of the world's most famous and beautiful golf courses was nothing more than 365 acres of farming land not so long ago.

But thanks to the foresight of two men, Bob Jones and Clifford Roberts, Fruitlands Nurseries, purchased for the grand total $70,000 in 1931, is now home to the Augusta National golf course.

After completion, both men came up with the idea of organising an annual tournament drawing all the best players from across the country.

Initially, for the first five years of the tournament, it was called the Augusta National Invitation Tournament because Jones believed the name "The Masters" sounded too "preposterous".

However, he eventually relented and in 1939, the name changed to The Masters - and has since stood proud for 61 years.

Gene Sarazen dressed in shirt and tie in 1931
Gene Sarazen won the second ever US Masters
The duo insisted on only the player and his caddy being allowed access to the playing area and pairing the field instead of playing in threesomes.

And after successfully negotiating all the necessary paperwork, the inaugural tournament was hosted on 22 March 1934 - won by Horton Smith with a one-stroke lead over Craig Wood.

Jones, who was persuaded to enter as a player, finished in 13th place - his best finish in the nine pre-war tournaments.

The following Masters was remembered for Gene Sarazen's double eagle on the par five 15th, often described as "the shot heard round the world".

It was his remarkable feat on the 15th that forced Craig Woods into a 36-hole play-off, which Sarazen won by five shots.

Already, the Masters was causing headlines and only into its second year.

But the Second World War abruptly brought the excitement to a temporary end for three years between 1943-1945.

But in 1946, The Masters was back in full swing when Herman Keiser held off Ben Hogan for a one-stroke victory.

One year of particular significance was 1958 where Arnold Palmer won the first of his four Masters titles - becoming the youngest winner of the Green Jacket since Keiser in 1946.

Jack Nicklaus celebrates his sixth Masters victory
Jack Nicklaus is part of Augusta history
Three years later, South African Gary Player became the first oversees player to break the American stranglehold, holding on for a one-stroke victory over Palmer and Charles Roe.

Then in 1965 and 1966, Jack Nicklaus etched his name forever in Masters history.

'The Golden Bear' became the first golfer to successfully defend his title at Augusta.

He also holds the holds the record for the most titles won at Augusta with six, his last coming in 1986.

The 1970s saw the Americans dominate save for Player, who won in 1974 and 1978.

But that trend began to reverse during the late 1980s and early 1990s, where the Green Jacket was hogged by the Europeans.

Scotland's Sandy Lyle won in 1988, followed by Nick Faldo, who joined Nicklaus in the history books as only the second player ever to successfully defend his title at Augusta in 1989 and 1990.

Ian Woosnam then took the mantle in 1991, before Fred Couples put the title - albeit briefly - back in American hands.

Vijay Singh receives his green jacket from Jose Marie Olazabal
Everyone will be trying to prise the jacket off Vijay Singh
Germany's Bernhard Langer then became only the fourth international player ever to win multiple Masters titles in 1993, his first coming in 1985.

Spain's Jose Maria Olazabal then followed his Ryder Cup team-mate by winning the next year, a feat he repeated in 1999.

Then, in 1997, the world suddenly sat up and paid attention when a phenomenally talented 21-year-old became the youngest player ever to win the title.

Although it remains Tiger Woods' only Masters victory, it is not likely to be his last.

Recently, the Americans have not been nearly as successful as in previous years at Augusta, with only Ben Crenshaw (1995) and Mark O'Meara (1998) donning the Green Jacket.

And this point will no doubt motivate the home golfers to claim the title back from reigning champion Vijay Singh.

No doubt Jones and Roberts would wholeheartedly approve.


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02 Apr 01 | US Masters
02 Apr 01 | US Masters
02 Apr 01 | US Masters
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