March 22

First Masters Tournament Begins

March 22, 1934 - Augusta

A Masters from Georgia. Not a degree in Athens –- a golf tournament in Augusta. And it was a hit off the first tee.

After golfer Bobby Jones retired, he and businessman Clifford Roberts developed a national landmark. Jones brought credibility, while Roberts had business savvy. Jones and noted golf course architect Alister Mackenzie designed the course on an abandoned 365-acre nursery called Fruitlands. It had been a plantation once.

Roberts and Jones wanted a major tournament at Augusta National, but when? Summer? Impossibly hot! But spring? Unbeatably beautiful! The flowers were in bloom and no other major tournament competed. They decided to stage an annual event hosted by Jones, who would come out of retirement once a year to play at what was first called the Augusta National Golf Club Invitation Tournament. Horton Smith won the first year. It officially became the Masters in 1939; the green jacket ceremony began in 1949.

One of the world’s iconic sporting events began on March 22, 1934, Today in Georgia History.