A friend of mine once said if he had to choose between his good paying job and a grounds pass to the Masters, he would tell the boss to go take a hike. He meant it, and he still does.

The Masters is that kind of golf tournament. Augusta National is that kind of place. It’s more than a major.

With the Masters teeing off Thursday, I asked the PGA professionals at JC Golf what the Masters tradition means to them.

It is the only major that is played at the same course every year and is in my opinion the biggest and most prestigious golf tournament of the year.  When you have a course designed by Bobby Jones and Alister MacKenzie, finishes like Jack Nicklaus in 1986 and the Big Three of Palmer, Player, and Nicklaus dominating the Masters from 1960 through 1978, winning the event twelve times among them during that span, you have a tradition unlike any other.

–Brandon Delgado, Carmel Mountain Ranch

 

It can simply be summed up by one of its founders, Mr. Bobby Jones:

“I shall never forget my first visit to the property which is now Augusta National.

The long lane of magnolias through which we approached was beautiful.

The old manor house with its cupola and walls of masonry two feet thick was charming.

The rare trees and shrubs of the old nursery were enchanting.

But when I walked out on the grass terrace under the big trees behind the house and looked down over the property, the experience was unforgettable.

It seemed that this land had been lying here for years just waiting for someone to lay a golf course upon it.”

–Blake Dodson, Encinitas Ranch

The course is pristine. I love the amateur players. It always gets the best field of any tournament. All the special events are cool. The tradition is in the most exclusive club in America. The drama is always with the best players. We are all familiar with the course and it is exquisite. Can’t wait to watch!
–Lloyd Porter, Oaks North

 

In my opinion, it is the best week in golf – the tradition, Augusta and all the historic memories. The Masters is special. It is unique, as it is played at the same location every year.

You look at the Greg Norman days…the ultimate collapse and opportunities missed throughout his playing days. It kills me to think about the chip shot Larry Mize hit to once again break Norman’s heart. Then you got Tiger in 1997 setting the tone for the next 10 years and of course Nicklaus and Palmer giving us a benchmark of how great you really have to be to compete at Augusta.

It truly is a special week and is my favorite time of the year and tournament in golf.

–Bryon Penfield, Rancho Bernardo Inn

Dogwoods, magnolias, perfect conditions, southern hospitality, Bobby Jones, same course year after year that everyone knows by heart and only a couple of commercials the whole day. Need I say more?

–John Mason, Encinitas Ranch

It’s my favorite tournament to watch every year. There’s no question it’s an amazing tournament and a beautiful place. I love the Masters but I just wish Norman would have won it once.

–Garett Dagg, Cathedral Canyon

The Masters is a tradition unlike any other because of all the traditions. Here’s my top 11:

  1. Par 3 contest
  2. Past Champions Dinner
  3. Only major played on the same course every year
  4. Former Champions are paired together
  5. Last year’s winner is paired with the US Amateur Champion
  6. Butler Cabin
  7. Green Jacket
  8. Honorary Starters
  9. Amen Corner
  10. Rae’s Creek
  11. Drive, Chip, & Putt National Finals — How many kids get to play at Yankee Stadium, Lambeau Field, or Madison Square Garden?

–Grant Strobel, Woods Valley

Marc Figueroa is a freelance writer who has been covering golf in San Diego for more than 20 years