They say the Masters is a "tradition unlike any other." It is a catchphrase that seeps into everything around this tournament. Almost every detail at Augusta National and the Masters is about tradition. There are so many parts of this week that have been done for many years and will be a part of this tournament for years to come. Here are some of the odd quirks and unique traditions at the Masters.
Over the years, little has changed about the food at Augusta. While overpriced sandwiches and super-expensive light beers have become the norm for PGA Tour concession stands, Augusta has always been different. A quick look at this year's concession stand prices shows us that it is still possible to get a sandwich and beer for less than $6.
And those sandwiches are as much a part of Augusta as the azaleas. Pimento cheese and egg salad sandwiches have been served for years, and you likely won't find them many other places on Tour.
The other food tradition at Augusta is the Champions Dinner. On the Tuesday before the Masters, the defending champion treats every other champion to a dinner of their choice. Usually, players will choose foods that are special to them. Angel Cabrera served Argentinian beef. Ben Crenshaw had Texas barbecue. And Sandy Lyle scared everyone by serving haggis. It is always a fun quirk of Masters week to see what the defending champion will serve for dinner.
Par 3 Contest
On the Wednesday before the Masters, a combination of competitors and past champions head to the par-3 course at Augusta National. This event is not about winning and losing, but rather spending time with friends and family and letting loose before the grind of the real tournament. Players often have their kids or wives caddy for them. And those caddies often steal the show. I mean, look at this kid.
A fun fact, or curse, for the Par-3 Contest: No one has won the contest and then gone on to win the Masters in the same year.
Each year since 1949, the winner of the Masters has received a green jacket. Only the reigning champion is allowed to take his jacket off the grounds. He can wear it wherever he pleases for that year. The green jacket is also what members of the club wear on the grounds of Augusta National during Masters week.
The iconic jacket is awarded after the final round by the previous year's champion, and it is quite possibly the most recognizable "trophy" in sports.
This might be one of the lesser-known Masters traditions, mainly because it happens behind the scenes. For various accomplishments throughout the tournament, players are awarded pieces of crystal. The player with the lowest daily score receives a crystal vase. A hole-in-one or albatross will get you a crystal bowl. You can also take home a bowl if you win the Par-3 Contest. Make an eagle, and you can take home a pair of crystal goblets.
Imagine how much crystal Tiger Woods has in his house.
The Chairs (and No Running)
This is perhaps my favorite tradition. When patrons (they are not called fans at the Masters) arrive on the grounds, there is a scramble to find a good spot on the course. And everyone will try and get to their perch quickly. The only catch is that there is no running allowed. It's just not done at Augusta National.
Once a patron arrives at his or her spot on the course, they may place a chair there. Then they can go wherever they want on the grounds. No one will touch or move their chair. That's just how things work, which is certainly unusual in sports.
Caddie Jump Suits
If you are new to the Masters, you may notice that the caddies this week will wear a white jump suit. As mandated by Augusta National, caddies must wear that suit, a green hat and white shoes. This is a departure from other tournaments on Tour where caddies are permitted to wear clothes of their choosing and simply slip a bib over their shirt.