- Every year the best golfers in the world gather at Augusta National to compete in the Masters.
- Since the tournament began in 1934, the Masters has developed a tradition all its own, with iconic moments in the history of the sport happening on every corner of the course.
- Taking a closer look at Augusta National, it becomes clear that every hole holds its own story that has gone on to become golf lore.
- Read all of Business Insider’s Masters coverage here.
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The Masters truly is a tradition unlike any other.
As one of golf’s four majors, the tournament brings together the best in the world every year to compete, and as the only major to be played at the same course every year, the event has built a history, mythos, and yes, tradition, that is unmatched in sports.
Every hole at Augusta National carries the weight of history. Dramatic turns of fortune have happened in every corner of the course, from lucky bounces to brilliant slices to one of the greatest collapses in the history of sports.
Take a look as we go walk through history at Augusta National and break down the most iconic moment at every hole on the course.
No. 1: Tea Olive — Lee Elder makes history (1975)
The history of Augusta National is not all golf and glory.
For years, African Americans were barred from playing the course, but that all change when Lee Elder stepped to the first tee at the 1975 Masters. Elder’s breaking of the colour barrier was not easy – he rented two houses in the area and moved between them, afraid to stay in one spot for too long.
Elder did not make the cut at the 1975 Masters, but he came back two years later with a top-20 finish.
More importantly, his first swing at the Masters was an important step in the history of the course and the sport.
No. 2: Pink Dogwood — Louis Oosthuizen holes out an albatross (2012)
Just four albatrosses have been hit in the history of the Masters.
The most recent one came from Louis Oosthuizen in 2012, when he sank his second shot on the par-5 No. 2 on Sunday right in the hole. It dropped three strokes from his score and moved him to the top of the leaderboard.
The 243-yard 4-iron was incredible to watch, bouncing onto the green well short of the pin, but rolling the entire length of the green and right into the hole.
“Bubba [Watson] said later he felt like running over and giving me a high-five,” Oosthuizen said at the time. “I wish he had; that would have been fun.”
Oosthuizen would wind up losing to Watson in a playoff.
No. 3: Flowering Peach — Charl Schwartzel eagles en route to victory (2011)
Charl Schwartzel entered the final round of the 2011 Masters four strokes off the lead but finished the day with the green jacket. The first major win of his career came thanks to a wild comeback that kickstarted with an eagle on the par-4 Flowering Peach.
The eagle dropped tied Schwartzel with Rory McIlroy, who had led the tournament wire-to-wire up until that point.
McIlroy would go on to collapse on No. 10 and around Amen Corner. Schwartzel held at 10-under until hitting birdies on the final four holes of the tournament to take home the green jacket in miraculous fashion.
No. 4: Flowering Crab Apple — Jeff Sluman hits his ace (1992)
Golfers have hit 27 holes-in-one at the Masters since the tournament began in 1934, but just one of them came at No. 4 Flowering Crab Apple, hit by Jeff Sluman in 1992.
Sluman finished the weekend tied for fourth – the best Masters finish of his career, but his ace at No. 4 has still not been matched.
No. 5: Magnolia — Jack Nicklaus eagles twice in three days (1995)
By 1995, Jack Nicklaus was well past his days of dominating at the majors, but at the par-4 No. 5, The Golden Bear showed he still had a bit of magic in him when playing at Augusta.
On Thursday, Nicklaus holed a 5-iron from 180 yards out for an unlikely eagle. Then, on Saturday, he miraculously did it again, this time with a 7-iron from 163 yards.
In the history of the Masters leading up to that moment, 14,732 rounds had been played, and just four eagles had been hit on No. 5. Nicklaus did it twice in three days and gave patrons in attendance a memory they will never forget.
No. 6: Juniper — Amateur Billy Joe Patton hits a hole-in-one (1954)
The Masters always welcomes some of the top amateurs in the country to play alongside the best players in the world, but in 1954, amateur Billy Joe Patton gave the pros a real run for their money.
He hit the best shot of his round on No. 6, one of just five aces that have been hit at Juniper in the history of the tournament. Patton would finish his final round just one stroke behind leaders Sam Snead and Ben Hogan, just one swing from joining them in the playoff.
No. 7: Pampas — Byron Nelson drives the green (1937)
Years before the idea of lengthening courses to increase their difficulty or “Tiger-proofing” took hold with Woods’ dominance, Byron Nelson shattered course expectations when he drove the green on the par-4 No. 7 in 1937.
Nelson would go on to birdie the hole, win the tournament. The next year, Augusta moved the green 20 yards back and surrounded it with bunkers to prevent Nelson from getting another shot at an easy birdie.
No. 8: Yellow Jasmine — Bruce Devlin hits his albatross (1967)
Bruce Devlin is another member of the exclusive albatross club at Augusta National, sinking his second shot on the par-5 No. 8 Yellow Jasmine in 1967.
Devlin hit a 4-wood for his second shot from 248 yards, and watched it roll in, calling it a “perfect golf shot.”
“It hit on the front of the green, rolled right around the corner and went right in the hole,” Devlin said. “I could understand it if the flag was in the middle of the green, but it’s almost impossible to get a wedge up there.”
No. 9: Carolina Cherry — Tiger Woods gets aggressive (2010)
Phil Mickelson won the 2010 Masters, but in the first round, it was Tiger Woods who hit one of the most impressive shots of the tournament that wasn’t from Lefty.
Lining up from an impossible angle but still looking for a shot at a birdie, Woods snapped a wild hook around the trees that line the fairway on No. 9 to get the ball on the green in two.
No. 10: Camellia — Bubba Watson escapes the forest (2012)
Maybe the most memorable shot at Augusta National of the past decade was Bubba Watson’s impossible shot out of the pine needles on No. 10.
After 72 holes, Watson and Louis Oosthuizen were tied for the lead, heading to a playoff. Both players began the playoff with a par on No. 18, sending the contest to No. 10, with both struggling off the tee.
When Watson found his ball, it seemed like he had little chance of finding the green, but he hit a massive slice to put himself in position to win.
No. 11: White Dogwood — Larry Mize chips in to win (1987)
At the 1987 Masters, Larry Mize found himself in a playoff with Greg Norman and Seve Ballesteros.
No. 11 was the second playoff hole, and Mize decided he wanted to end things then and there, holing out from 140 feet with an incredible chip to take the green jacket.
No. 12: Golden Bell — Jordan Spieth crumbles (2016)
A year after announcing his arrival as the next big thing in golf with a wire-to-wire win at Augusta, Jordan Spieth looked poised to become just the fourth person to ever win the Masters in back-to-back years.
Heading into the back nine of the final round, Spieth held a five-stroke lead on the field, looking likely to coast to his second straight green jacket.
But after bogeys on No. 10 and No. 11, Spieth collapsed on No. 12, putting two balls into the water on the par-3 to post a quadruple bogey. Spieth plummeted out of first place and gave Danny Willett a lead that he would not give up.
Making matters worse, as the reigning champion, it was Spieth’s responsibility to don Willett with the green jacket that just hours before had seemed almost certainly his.
No. 13: Azalea — Phil Mickelson goes through the trees (2010)
Phil Mickelson entered the final round in 2010 just a stroke off the lead, his eyes set on a third green jacket.
On the par-5 No. 13, Mickelson hit one of the most memorable shots of his career. Pinned between trees in a position that would force most other golfers to opt for a more cautious approach, Mickelson went for broke, splitting his shot between the trees and landing it just four feet from the hole.
Mickelson missed the eagle opportunity but sank the birdie and went on to win the tournament.
No. 14: Chinese Fir — Mickelson holes out for eagle (2010)
One day before his gutsy decision on No. 13, Mickelson rode a superb stretch of golf to shoot to the top of the leaderboard.
After an eagle at No.13, Mickelson holed out his approach shot on the par-4 No. 14 to drop four strokes in just two holes. He was just the third player in Masters history to hit back-to-back eagles at Augusta.
No. 15: Firethorn — Gene Sarazen hits “the shot heard ’round the world” (1935)
The first member of the Augusta albatross club was probably the most important. In 1935, the second year of the tournament’s existence, Gene Sarazen trailed Craig Wood by three strokes with four holes left to play, needing a miracle to come back and win the tournament.
He would get everything he needed in one swing, hitting what was dubbed “the shot heard ’round the world” when he holed out on the par-5 No. 15 with a 4-wood from 235 yards out.
Sarazen’s albatross jumped him into a tie with Wood, and after playing the final three holes at par, Sarazen was able to beat Wood in the playoff to claim one of the most unlikely victories in Augusta’s history.
No. 16: Redbud — Tiger Woods chips in, films a Nike commercial in real time (2005)
Woods’ chip-in at the 2005 Masters might be the most iconic shot in all of golf, so it’s no surprise that it’s the greatest shot in the history of No. 16.
It’s a near-impossible shot that only Woods could sink, and was a key part in his run at the fourth green jacket of his career.
When people remember the dominance of Woods, and his ability to make almost any shot the course demanded of him, this is the moment that immediately springs to mind.
No. 17: Nandina — Jack Nicklaus wins his final major (1986)
The final major win of Jack Nicklaus’ career came in 1986.
With his son caddying, Nicklaus stormed his way up the leaderboard in the final round, playing the final 10 holes of the tournament at seven-under to become the oldest man to ever win the Masters and add a sixth green jacket to his closet.
The tournament-winning moment came on the 17th green when Nicklaus and his son read a tricky 20-foot putt that broke twice. After taking his putt, Nicklaus followed the ball with his body and celebrated its way into the hole as patrons at Augusta rejoiced.
The birdie gave Nicklaus a one-stroke lead that would be enough to secure his final major.
No 18: Holly — Phil Mickelson finally breaks through at major (2004)
Heading into the 2004 Masters, Phil Mickelson was known to be one of the greatest golfers in the world but had up until that point had always fallen short at the majors.
Despite 17 top-10 major finishes, including three straight third-place finishes at Augusta, Mickelson had never climbed the mountain, but in 2004, he was set to finally make his mark.
Mickelson entered the final day with a share of the lead, and after storming through the back nine, made it to the 18th tee tied with Ernie Els at the top of the leaderboard.
Two shots later, all that stood between Mickelson and his first major victory was a tough, but makeable birdie attempt. He sank it, sending the patrons at Augusta into hysterics.
“Is it his time? YES! At long last!” said Jim Nantz, calling the tournament for CBS.
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