There are a million ways to look at the Masters and Augusta National. There’s so much history. There have been so many incredulous moments. You could take a purely statistical approach and look at how all the numbers throughout the last 80 years stack up. You could take an anecdotal approach and tell story after story. You could look at the traditions or how the place was forged or what happened on a handful of those magical Sunday afternoons.
I tried to pull bits and pieces of each of those from a variety of sources. From Curt Sampson’s book to the historical archives at Augusta National, I’ve compiled a list of 27 facts that will help you follow along with this year’s Masters tournament.
1. The average age of a Masters winner is 32.55: Notables in the field this week who are either 32 or 33 years old include Webb Simpson, Billy Horschel and Keegan Bradley.
2. The price of badges: As recently as 1960, the cost to get into the Masters — for the entire week — was $12.50 (or $106 in 2019 dollars), which I guess was nothing compared to the late 1930s when it was $2.20 for a day. In 1970, it was still a paltry $20.
3. The top five all time in scoring average (minimum 25 rounds): Tiger Woods’ scoring average at Augusta is still, incredibly, more than a stroke under par. (Jack Nicklaus’s average is 71.98, but that is no doubt deflated by his last few tournaments there.)
- Tiger Woods — 70.93
- Phil Mickelson — 71.30
- Jason Day — 71.55
- Rory McIlroy — 71.61
- Justin Rose — 71.73
4. Green jackets are produced using materials from three different states (and are made by a company in a fourth state). They (allegedly) take more than two months to construct. The first jacket was awarded to a winner in 1949.
5. The original annual dues for members were $60.
6. There have been four albatrosses in Masters history: You probably remember (or have heard of) at least two of them.
- Louis Oosthuizen (2012) — No. 2
- Jeff Maggert (1994) — No. 13
- Bruce Devlin (1967) — No. 8
- Gene Sarazen (1935) — No. 15
7. Cattle and turkeys used to graze the fairways and greens at Augusta National during World War II. Augusta National needed the revenue. True story!
8. Cut number by total (numbers only since 1957): The most common has been 4-over 148. The highest ever is 154, and the lowest is 145.
- 145: 6
- 146: 5
- 147: 5
- 148: 14
- 149: 12
- 150: 10
- 151: 5
- 152: 2
- 153: 1
- 154: 1
9. Tight finishes: In 57 of the first 82 Masters, the tournament came down to either a single stroke or went into a playoff. That’s right at 70 percent, which is 15 percentage points higher than a normal PGA Tour event.
10. Jack Nicklaus’ crazy run: He unsurprisingly holds the record for most cuts made at 37. That’s not the crazy part. The crazy part is that this number is seven more (!) than Gary Player’s runner-up number of 30. Seven! Also, one of the best talking points for the GOAT debate (especially at Augusta) is pulling Nicklaus’s major finishes from his Wikipedia page. It’s astonishing.
11. The fourth hole has had just once ace in its history — a 4-iron from 213 yards by Jeff Sluman in 1992. He finished T4 that year.
12. First-time winners: A player has won in every number of try from 1-15, but nobody has won in their 16th, 17th or 18th try. Sergio Garcia holds the record for most tries before his first win at 19. The most popular one is three and four tries (eight winners each). This will be Rory McIlroy’s 11th try. Only eight golfers have won their first in their 11th (or higher) try. Phil Mickelson and Adam Scott both won in try No. 12.
13. Average Sunday finish: How about these average finishes over the last 10 years? It’s not a perfect stat for myriad reasons (most notably is that it doesn’t include missed cuts), but it does give a pretty interesting picture of who has dominated Augusta (whether they’ve won or not) over the last decade.
Best avg. Masters finish when making the cut in last 10 Masters (min. 5 made cuts).
Spieth: 3.8 (lol)
Casey: 14.8 (👀)
Couples (!): 17.4
— Kyle Porter (@KylePorterCBS) March 20, 2019
14. Back to those ticket prices: In the mid-1940s, Clifford Roberts raised the number from $3 a pop to $5. Here’s what Curt Sampson said Roberts noted about the price:
As a member of the tournament improvements committee, Byron Nelson remembers the impassioned speech Cliff delivered when the subject of admission revenue came up: “We went to New York recently to watch Beau Jack fight. We had ringside seats to watch just two men fight. Here, you’ve got a field of the best golfers in the world, and the people are paying just three dollars while we paid fifty dollars for those ringside seats. That’s ridiculous.”
15. Nicklaus’s greatest performance might not have been a win: One of the great non-wins in Masters history was Nicklaus shooting a 5-under 283 in 1998, the year after Tiger Woods burned everything to the ground. Woods that year? He shot a 3-under 285. Rick Reilly wrote about it for .
Out he came, Old Saint Nicklaus on Easter morning, birdieing four of the first seven holes and tilting the course so much his way that everybody else was left with MCI galleries–friends and family. In the group ahead of him, Tiger Woods was learning what it’s like playing next to a tornado. “There were so many roars, we had to back off, like, every shot,” Woods said after Sunday’s round. Imagine that.
16. The luckiest number: Caddie numbers are assigned by the order in which players arrive at Augusta. The only exception is that last year’s champ gets No. 1 for his caddie. One interesting note is that the No. 89 has won this tournament three times in the last 33 years. In 10 of those years, the field wasn’t even 89 players deep (it wasn’t last year, and it isn’t this year).
17. The whole dang book: Nicklaus holds the record for wins (6), top fives (15), top 10s (22) and top 15s (29). The runners up in those categories in order are Palmer and Woods (wins), Mickelson and Woods (top fives), Ben Hogan (top 10s) and Sam Snead (top 15s). Whether one believes Nicklaus is G.O.A.T., he’s certainly the Augusta G.O.A.T.
18. Rounds in the 60s: It took me far too long to figure out this number, but here are your golfers who have the highest percentage of rounds in the 60s since 2005.
Since 2005, here are the leaders in percentage of rounds in the 60s at Augusta National (min. 20 rounds).
Spieth — 35%
Casey — 34%
Hoffman — 30%
Phil — 27%
Rory — 26%
Rose — 25%
Tiger — 25%
Bubba — 24%
Rickie — 23%
Kuchar — 22%
Poulter — 22%
Day — 21%
Immelman — 20%
— Kyle Porter (@KylePorterCBS) March 21, 2019
19. Three of the best ever? The career, tournament and single-round birdie leader numbers are about as perfect as it gets. I clipped a shot of Anthony Kim’s final round card from that 2009 Masters.
Most birdies at the Masters in a …
Career: Jack Nicklaus (506)
Single tournament: Jordan Spieth (28)
Single round: Anthony Kim (11)
— Kyle Porter (@KylePorterCBS) March 29, 2019
20. A clean (if hefty) scorecard: On four separate occasions, the same score has been shot in all four rounds. None of them have been particularly great.
- Walter Hagen (1939): Four 76s
- Lew Worsham (1954): Four 74s
- Kenny Knox (1987): Four 75s
- George Archer (1989): Four 75s
21. On Bobby Jones and Jack Nicklaus: According to Sampson, Jones’ frustration with the general golf world openly rooting against a young Nicklaus led to this note, which ended up on badges on every patron who entered the Masters grounds.
Most distressing to those who love the game of golf is the applauding or cheering of misplays or misfortunes of a player. Such occurrences have been rare at the Masters, but we must eliminate them entirely if our patrons are to continue to merit their reputation as the most knowledgeable in the world.
22. About that 1997 win: Tiger shot the lowest four-day second nine score in Masters history in 1997. He went 30-32-33-33 en route to the win. The 30 on Thursday, of course, came just after his 40 on the first nine. He still won by 12.
23. There have only been three fields of 100 or more golfers: The biggest was in 1962 when 109 players teed it up for a green jacket. The smallest fields, unsurprisingly, came around World War II as both the 1938 and 1942 fields only had 42 golfers. This year’s field of 87 is the smallest since last year, but that number ties the smallest since it was 86 in 1997 when Woods won his first.
24. All the strokes: Only six golfers have taken 10,000 or more strokes in tournament play at Augusta National. Player leads them all with 12,061. Nicklaus and Palmer are in the 11,000 club. Snead, Raymond Floyd and Ben Crenshaw all took over 10,000.
25. The highest score to ever win the Masters is 1-over 289. It’s happened three times: Snead in 1954, Jack Burke Jr. in 1956, Zach Johnson in 2007.
26. A house on No. 1? The indefatigable Bama Bearcat on Twitter has been dropping gems about Augusta’s history for the past few months. One that I had no idea about is that Augusta National used to have a house (!) behind the first green.
I’ve posted this before, but for the new followers: Augusta was supposed to have houses on the course. Pictured here is one that was built behind the first (then 10th) green pic.twitter.com/XZkXrYPqpK
— Michael Wolf (@bamabearcat) March 4, 2019
27. With the jacket on the line: As much as it gets talked about among players, only four golfers have ever birdied the final hole in regulation to win the Masters: Palmer in 1960, Sandy Lyle in 1988, Mark O’Meara in 1998 and Mickelson (of course) in 2004.