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The History of the Masters Tournament

At Tap in Pub, it’s no secret that golf is our game. Of course, we love all sports, and can be caught watching just about every game and every sport played here in Chicago, but golf holds our heart. We even held our own long drive competition to honor the history of The Masters Tournament.

Four days. 72 holes. And, in 2019, 87 men competed for the Green Jacket and a spot in history.

What is it about The Masters that people love? What draws people in to watch, both in person and all over the world on TV, whether at home or in a bar like Tap in Pub? Well, there are some who enjoy the scenery - azaleas, flowering dogwood, and pine trees - and the slow, dignified pace.

There are a lot more, though, who tune in to see some of golf’s greatest moments. You don’t know what they will be, but you can be sure there will be plenty of them the first week of April every year when The Masters Tournament is played at Augusta National Golf Club in Augusta, Georgia.

Who Qualifies to Play?

This year’s field of 87 players was the smallest in two decades. They haven’t broken 100 since 1966 but came close in 2011 with a field of 99. Those eligible to play this year numbered an even 100, but 13 said they wouldn’t be teeing up for the event.

Have you ever wondered how the field for The Masters is chosen? According to Augusta National Golf Club, there are quite a few different ways to qualify. They include:

· Masters Tournament Champions (Lifetime)

· US Open, British Open, and PGA Champions (Honorary, non-competing after 5 years)

· Winners of The Players Championship (Three years)

· Current Olympic Gold Medalist (One year)

· Current US Amateur Champion (Honorary, non-competing after 1 year) and the runner-up to the current US Amateur Champion

· Current British Amateur Champion (Honorary, non-competing after 1 year), Asia-Pacific Amateur Champion, Latin America Amateur Champion, and US Mid-Amateur Champion

· The first 12 players in the previous year's Masters Tournament, including ties

· The first 4 players in the previous year’s US Open Championship, British Open Championship, and PGA Championship, including ties

· Winners of PGA Tour events that award a full-point allocation for the season-ending Tour Championship, from previous Masters to current Masters

· Those who qualified for the previous year's season-ending Tour Championship

· The 50 leaders on the Final Official World Golf Ranking from the previous calendar year

· The 50 leaders on the Official World Golf Ranking published the week prior to the current Masters Tournament

In addition to the above qualifications, The Masters Committee can also invite international players not otherwise qualified at their discretion.

How It Began

Augusta National Golf Club was founded by the legendary golfer Bobby Jones and Clifford Roberts, an investor from New York. Building a golf course had been Jones’ dream. A friend helped them find 365 acres (formerly known as Fruitland Nursery) in Augusta, Georgia, for $70,000. Jones and Roberts decided to establish a national membership for the club, and the course was built starting in 1931 and was opened in December 1932. Dr. Alister Mackenzie was hired to work with Jones in designing the golf course, and Louis Alphonse Berckmans, the son of one of the nursery founders, was brought in as a consultant for the landscaping.

Jones and Roberts agreed to host an annual event, the Augusta National Invitational Tournament. Five years later it was renamed The Masters Tournament as Jones had originally suggested, but Roberts had thought was ostentatious. The first event was played in 1934 by 60 pro and 12 amateur golfers. Horton Smith rose from the field to win with a score of 284. This was also the first golf event broadcast on national radio.

Come in, Play Augusta Here

If you’ve always dreamed of playing Augusta, you can do it, and you won’t even have to book a flight! Come to Tap in Pub in Naperville where you and your friends can play your own version of The Masters at Augusta on our HD golf simulators.

While you calculate your next stroke, be sure to enjoy a craft brew and some fantastic food. If you’re not into golf, but you love a great sports bar, pull up a barstool and watch the game. You might not know anyone when you walk in, but you won’t leave a stranger.