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The Masters: A-Z in photos

The Masters, AugustaThe opening major of the golf season is the Masters from Augusta, Georgia every April. It’s a spring rite, steeped in tradition and layered in rich sporting history and drama. It’s an event that attracts even non-golfers because of the sublime beauty of the course. Click through the gallery for an A-Z of the Masters.

The Masters: A-Z in photos

A is for Augusta NationalThe revered course has hosted the year’s opening major — and the only one of the big four events to be played at the same course every year — since 1934. A is also for the azaleas which traditionally blossom during Masters week and for Amen Corner, the infamous stretch of holes incorporating the 11th, the treacherous short 12th and the tee shot on the par-five 13th.

The Masters: A-Z in photos

B is for BeautyThe Georgian greensward is an oasis among the urban landscape of Augusta, Georgia’s second city on the banks of the Savannah River. The bars, burger joints and shopping malls of neighboring Washington Road are in stark contrast to the golfing dreamscape over the fence. B is also for Seve Ballesteros, the Spaniard who opened the European floodgates with wins in 1980 and 1983.

The Masters: A-Z in photos

C is for CaddiesAugusta’s caddies are instantly recognizable by their white jump suits. Before 1983, players had to use a club caddie, all of whom were local black men. Since then players have used their usual tour caddies, but they must still don the white suit and green cap.

The Masters: A-Z in photos

D is for Dos and Don’tsThe hallowed property is governed by its own strict rules such as no running or cell phones, but on the flip side traditions exist such as the practice of placing your green Masters chair at your preferred spot and being able to return to your vacant seat hours later.

The Masters: A-Z in photos

E is for EisenhowerFormer US President Dwight D. Eisenhower was a member of Augusta National and several landmarks of his era remain, including Ike’s Pond, the fishing lake he championed that is the focal point of the Par-3 Contest. Eisenhower’s white cabin also sits near the clubhouse.

The Masters: A-Z in photos

F is for Fans (make that Patrons)Visitors to Augusta National are known as patrons — not fans or spectators or the crowd. Tickets are like gold dust, but a limited number of practice round tickets and tournament days are available through a yearly ballot. The waiting list for weekly tournament badges closed years ago.

The Masters: A-Z in photos

G is for Grand SlamRory McIlroy just needs the Masters to complete the Grand Slam of all four of golf’s major titles. The Northern Irishman blew a four-shot lead at Augusta in 2011, but having won four majors in the meantime returns for his fifth shot at the Grand Slam this week. Only five others have achieved the feat — Gene Sarazen, Ben Hogan, Gary Player, Jack Nicklaus and Tiger Woods. G is also for greens — the slick, sloping putting surfaces are infamous.

The Masters: A-Z in photos

H is for HistoryAugusta National was created by Scottish golf course architect Dr. Alister Mackenzie and co-founder Bobby Jones and opened in 1933 on land that was once the site of Fruitlands Nursery. During World War II the land was briefly given over to turkey and cattle farming.

The Masters: A-Z in photos

I is for InternationalsSouth African Gary Player — pictured here in 2014 with Jack Nicklaus (left) and the late Arnold Palmer — was the first international champion in 1961. Since then the Masters has been won 21 times by overseas players. The US counts for 60 wins from 37 different players.

The Masters: A-Z in photos

J is for Jacket, as in greenThe tropical-weight emerald blazer is worn by only Augusta National members and Masters champions. It was first introduced for members in 1937 and ordered from Brooks Uniform Company in New York. Sam Snead was the first winner to receive a jacket and honorary membership in 1949. The reigning Masters champion can take it home for a year, then it must be kept at the club.

The Masters: A-Z in photos

K is for Key holesThe saying goes the Masters doesn’t begin until the back nine on Sunday. It starts with one of the hardest holes on the course in the 10th and then enters Amen Corner with the equally tough 11th and then the booby trap of the short 12th. But the long 15th (pictured) is key — big moves can be made with eagles here. Anything less than a birdie and you will likely go backwards.

The Masters: A-Z in photos

L is for Lane, as in Magnolia LaneThe exclusive driveway to Augusta’s historic clubhouse is framed by dozens of magnolia trees. Only members and Masters competitors are allowed to access this revered entrance which gives on to the Founder’s Circle and then the whitewashed concrete clubhouse, built in 1854.

The Masters: A-Z in photos

M is for MickelsonPopular left-hander Phil Mickelson is one of 17 players to have won multiple Masters titles. The three-time champion won the first of his five major titles at Augusta in 2004 after three straight third places. Even at 48, Mickelson remains a Masters threat.

The Masters: A-Z in photos

N is for Nicklaus, as in Jack The most successful player at the Masters is Jack Nicklaus, whose six Green Jackets remains the record. The 79-year-old is now an honorary starter along with Gary Player, following the death of four-time champion Arnold Palmer in 2016.

The Masters: A-Z in photos

O is for Oak treeThe famous old oak tree on the course side of the clubhouse is an iconic landmark and the traditional meeting place for the game’s movers and shakers and media types with the correct credential. A familiar refrain of Masters week is: “Meet you under the tree.”

The Masters: A-Z in photos

P is for Par 3s, notably the 12th Perhaps the most famous short hole in golf, the par-3 12th sits at the heart of Amen Corner. Like a wolf in sheep’s clothing, it is just 155 yards long, but Rae’s Creek looms large in front and a devilish wind always swirling around the trees makes club selection tricky.

The Masters: A-Z in photos

Q is for Quonset HutModern media are housed in a recently built state-of-the-art facility at the far end of the practice range, but in days gone by the stories from Augusta were crafted in a corrugated metal Quonset Hut.

The Masters: A-Z in photos

R is for RoarsWhen the excitement rises on a Sunday afternoon and the patrons reach fever pitch, the roars reverberate around the towering pines which act like a giant organ reflecting the noise all over the course. A Phil Mickelson roar stands out, but a roar for Tiger Woods is like no other.

The Masters: A-Z in photos

S is for SpiethJordan Spieth was on a fast track to being crowned the new king of Augusta following his wire-to-wire victory in 2015 and dominance for three rounds in 2016. He was still clear with nine holes to play before famously self destructing with two balls in the water on 12. The American has struggled of late and is down to 33rd in the world, but in five Masters appearances he has won, finished second twice, come third and 11th.

The Masters: A-Z in photos

T is for TraditionThe Masters is forward looking but rooted in tradition, such as the pre-tournament Par-3 Contest, in which friends and family members caddie for the players and hit the occasional shot. Jack Nicklaus’ grandson Gary made a hole in one last year. Other traditions include the Champions Dinner, in which the holder chooses the menu and hosts the evening on the Tuesday of Masters week

The Masters: A-Z in photos

U is for Under parWhen Jordan Spieth won in 2015 he equaled Tiger Woods’ 1997 record for the lowest winning score at 18 under par.

The Masters: A-Z in photos

V is for ViewsAugusta’s vistas are consistently spell-binding with the pines framing the holes and the lush grass, ice white of the bunkers and explosions of color from the flowers and patrons adding to the allure.

The Masters: A-Z in photos

W is for WoodsWho else? Tiger Woods changed golf when he won his first major by a record 12 shots in 1997. He went on to win three further Green Jackets, the last of which came in 2005 after a famous chip-in on the 16th. The 43-year-old is fit again after multiple back surgeries, and among the widely tipped contenders.

The Masters: A-Z in photos

X is for X-factorWinning the Masters requires a game in mint condition and a bit of something special. Think Tiger Woods’ chip-in on the 16th in 2005, or Phil Mickelson’s shot threaded through trees on the 13th in 2010. Or what about Bubba Watson’s banana ball from the woods on the 10th to clinch a play off in 2012 (pictured)?

The Masters: A-Z in photos

Y is for Youngest winnerTiger Woods’ 1997 win for the first of 14 majors so far made him the youngest Masters champion at the age of 21.

The Masters: A-Z in photos

Z is for ZenithFor many players, winning the Masters represents the zenith of their career. Phil Mickelson’s jump for joy in 2004 at his 11th attempt kick started an era which yielded further victories in 2006 and 2010.

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