The Masters a Great Opportunity for Young Golfers

Matthew Fitzpatrick at The Masters

Photo: Harry How Getty Images

The 78th Masters is underway at Augusta National Golf Club in Augusta, Georgia with Round One beginning today. While Tiger Woods had to withdraw with a back injury, 19 past champions will see if they can add another Master’s title to their resume. Expectations for these athletes is high, which leaves newcomer and youngest player in the field Matthew Fitzpatrick, 19, an opportunity to fly under the radar for a Masters title. He’s hardly the youngest to have played in Augusta though. Let’s look back at the past five years and see where the bar is set for the youngest golfers in Augusta.

2009 – Ryo Ishikawa, Japan, 17 years old

Ryo Ishikawa received a special invitation to play at The Masters in 2009. As the only professional golfer at the time of his debut of the five youngsters in the list, he was the only one who failed to make the cut. He’s played every year since his debut, tying for 38th in 2013 and tying for 20th in 2011 – his best result to date. Ishikawa will not be participating in 2014.

2010 – Matteo Manassero, Italy, 16 years old

At the time, Matteo Manassero was the youngest player to ever compete in the Masters. He received his invitation by winning the 2009 Amateur Championship. Just a few months after the Masters, Manassero turned professional. He’s competed last year in Augusta, but failed to make he cut. He’ll try again this year to see if he can improve on his debut performance.

2011 – Hideki Matsuyama, 19 years old

After winning the 2010 Asian Amateur, Matsuyama received his invitation to play in the 2011 Masters tournament. Setting himself at the top of this list, Matsuyama had the highest finish in his maiden Masters with a tie for 27th place. Unlike most of the others on this list, Matsuyama waited until 2013 to finally go pro, almost two full years after his debut in Augusta. He’ll be back this year trying to best his 27th place finish from 2011.

2012 – Patrick Cantlay, 20 years old

The oldest on the list, Cantlay made his debut in Augusta after finishing runner-up in the 2011 US Amateur Championship. He finished tied for 47th place. Just a few months after the Masters, and a very successful Amateur career, Cantlay turned pro. Since his turn to professional golf, he has not returned to the Masters and will not be competing in 2014.

2013 – Tianlang Guan, 14 years old

The most recent young gun to make his debut is also the youngest ever to play the Masters. Guan earned his invitation by winning the 2012 Asia-Pacific Amateur Championship. He placed 58th in Augusta and has decided, for now anyway, to remain an amateur. He will not be competing in 2014.

So what can we expect from Matthew Fitzpatrick in his debut at the Masters? There’s certainly a precedent for him to make the cut and there’s definitely an opportunity for him to finish higher than his five predecessors. He’s currently playing golf at Northwestern University, but if he has a good showing at the Masters, US Open or Open Championship, you’d have to imagine he’ll go pro soon enough.

Celebrating 80 Years of the Masters [Infographic]

81 years ago, retired golfer Bobby Jones decided to create the golf course of his dreams in Augusta, Georgia. The Augusta National Invitation Tournament, which would later be known as the Masters Tournament, was introduced the year after the course’s opening.  What started as an event that not even the New York Times felt necessary to cover has flourished into one of the premiere sporting events in the world.

Since the tournament began in 1934, the Masters has succeeded in maintaining its honor and prestige. This week, all eyes are once again on Augusta for the 2014 Masters Tournament. With this year marking the 80th anniversary of the first tournament, we’ve produced an infographic of Masters firsts. We hope you enjoy this look back on golf’s greatest event!

golf-info-graph

Tickets to the Masters? Here’s what you need to know for 2014.

Masters is just around the corner and it seems everyone in our office is already buzzing about Augusta.  Having never attended the Masters myself, I wanted to get some first-hand insight into what everyone was talking about. I sat down with our COO Zach and VP of Sales Caroline, who have both attended the Masters in years prior (Caroline holds an impressive number of tournaments under her belt). During our discussion, I learned a lot about this iconic event.

Augusta National tournament

Augusta National tournament

Everyone talks about waking up at the crack of dawn for the Masters. What time should I actually plan to arrive at the course?

Caroline: 7:30 am-9 am is when traffic is at its heaviest, so be prepared!

Zach: You should also your day around what you really want to check out. When you’re going to a music festival, you want to make absolutely sure that you get to see your favorite band play – even if that means getting there earlier and sacrificing seeing another band. Same goes for the Masters! Planning is key.

Once I’m done planning my day and beating traffic, what should I know about actually being at the Masters?

Zach: Once you get inside the grounds, you can set your chair anywhere and not one person will sit in it or move it. This is great because you can freely walk the entire course without having to worry. Everyone is expected to be respectful. This is what makes The Masters so unique.

Caroline: Chairs have to be foldable and armless or else you can’t bring them onto the grounds. Also, cell phones are never allowed and pictures cannot be taken during tournament days.

Augusta National sees tons of famous figures walk through its doors. What are some of your experiences with celebrities at the Masters?

Caroline: You’re not supposed to ask for the players’ autographs. At one point I was standing right next to Tiger Woods’ mom. It’s best to just keep your cool.

Zach: I’ve eaten dinner at the same restaurants as some great golfers and been in the same vicinity as Fuzzy Zoeller while at the Masters. Like Caroline said, keep your cool. Be respectful.

Par 3 tournament

Par 3 tournament

I’ve heard tons about how unbelievably inexpensive the food is at the Masters. What’s your favorite concession stand item?

Caroline: I really love the pimento cheese sandwich.

Zach: Keep in mind that the pimento cheese sandwich is a distinctively Southern thing, so it might not be for everyone. I like the Masters club sandwich.

What about outside of the Masters? Where are some cool places to check out?

Caroline: The steakhouse TBonz is an awesome place to grab a place to eat. It’s also a “see and be seen” kind of place. Lots of golfers and celebrities tend to eat there. There’s a bar called Somewhere in Augusta that I really like as well. They have live bands playing on the weekends.

Zach: Calvert’s Restaurant is great. It’s definitely an old school fine dining place. Augusta doesn’t have a huge nightlife, but the Hooters off of Washington Road is good fun. John Daly was there once just to meet his fans. This is definitely an appropriate situation to ask for a picture or autograph, but you should still keep your cool of course.

 

We hope we’ve provided some helpful tips on the mystical golf wonderland that is Augusta National! If you have any Masters tips of your own, feel free to drop them in the comments section!

Memorable Moments at the Masters

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