The Masters Pre-Game: 5 Great Stories To Consume

The 85th edition of the Masters will officially get underway in less than 24 hours when Jack Nicklaus, Gary Player, and Lee Elder tee off on Augusta National Golf Club’s iconic first hole.

To begin the hype of a “tradition unlike any other,” here are five fantastic feature stories leading into the 2021 Masters Tournament.


1. Patience and Perseverance

Narrated By Jimmy Roberts, Masters.com

Jordan Spieth Masters Augusta National
Jordan Spieth plays a shot from a bunker on the 10th hole during a practice round prior to the Masters at Augusta National Golf Club on April 06, 2021 in Augusta, GA. (Photo by Kevin C. Cox/Getty Images)

Jordan Spieth arrived in professional golf as a phenom. By the time he was 24 he had 11 wins, three of them majors,” Jimmy Roberts narrates, over b-roll video of Spieth.

“But then came a long winless drought.”

“I just got further off than normally professionals get, and so it’s been a climb back,” says Spieth in the Masters Interview Room, before the video cuts to b-roll again.

Watch at Masters.com


2. Confident Thomas Misses Tiger at Augusta

By Bill Fields, Masters.com

Justin Thomas Tiger Woods 2020 U.S. Open Practice at Winged Foot U.S. Open Winged Foot
Justin Thomas plays a tee shot as Tiger Woods looks on during a practice round prior to the 120th U.S. Open Championship on September 15, 2020 at Winged Foot Golf Club in Mamaroneck, New York. (Photo by Jamie Squire/Getty Images)

Something is missing for Justin Thomas at the 2021 Masters.

Yes, at least some patrons are back, assuring a more normal vibe than the gallery-free edition, for pandemic safety reasons, last November. The No. 2-ranked player in the world, Thomas is on a short list of favorites as often has been the case in his very successful tour career.

What he won’t experience this week is the customary practice rounds with champions Tiger Woods and Fred Couples, occasions of equal parts needling and knowledge with Thomas, 27, soaking it all in.

“I’m very, very lucky that I somehow got thrown into that practice-round group with Tiger and Freddie the last four years or whatever it is, especially around this place,” Thomas said. “I just follow them around like a puppy dog. Wherever they go, that’s where I go. If they hit chips from somewhere, I go hit chips from there.”

Read at Masters.com


3. Jones’ Legacy Lives On in Many Areas

By John Steinbreder, Masters.com

Bobby Jones Ben Hogan 1951 Masters
Bobby Jones (2nd L) presents the Winner’s Plaque to Ben Hogan (2nd R) as Clifford Roberts (R) and runner-up Skee Riegel (L) look on during the Presentation Ceremony at the 1951 Masters Tournament at Augusta National Golf Club on April 8, 1951 in Augusta, Georgia. (Photo by Augusta National via Getty Images)

A half century ago, Bobby Jones died after a long battle with the spinal disease syringomyelia, at the age of 69. But while it has been decades since he passed, his legacy at Augusta National and the Masters remains quite strong.

The Club and the Tournament he established with Clifford Roberts are the most obvious vestiges of the great golfer’s life. And it is unlikely that even in his most optimistic moods, Jones could have imagined the lofty stature they both enjoy today. Augusta National is regarded as among the finest clubs in golf, while the Masters is among the best run and most popular sports events on the planet.

The repute of the Augusta National golf course, which Jones designed in the early 1930s with Dr. Alister MacKenzie, is just as robust. “It is an idea very dear to my heart to see in reality a golf course embodying the finest holes of all the great courses on which I have played,” Jones once said of his creation.

Read at Masters.com


4. Made For the Big Stage

Narrated By Jimmy Roberts, Masters.com

Justin Thomas Masters Augusta National
Justin Thomas looks on from the 15th hole during a practice round prior to the Masters at Augusta National Golf Club on April 06, 2021 in Augusta, GA. (Photo by Mike Ehrmann/Getty Images)

“Majors. World Golf Championships. The big events,” Jimmy Roberts narrates, over b-roll video of Justin Thomas.

“Justin Thomas has a history of playing well when the most chips are on the table.”

“It’s just different. And I hate to say it, because you should treat every tournament the same but it’s different,” says Thomas over b-roll of himself.

“I wish I could say I flip the switch when its a major or a WGC or whatever it is and I play better. Because I think I would permanently leave the switch on.”

Watch at Masters.com


5. Conquering the Test of Time

By Bill Fields, Masters.com

Bobby Jones with Alister W. MacKenzie
Bobby Jones tries out his “perfect course” in the making. Here’s a rear view of the King of Golfers, Bobby Jones, testing shots on his new (Augusta) National Golf Course, which will be completed next December. With Bobby Jones are Dr. Alister W. MacKenzie, noted Scottish Golf architect who has collaborated with Jones, and Clifford Roberts, Wall Street financier. (Photo by Bettmann/Getty Images)

The 18 holes at Augusta National Golf Club have been part of the game’s fabric so long that their origin can be overshadowed by the indelible memories that have come since.

But what stimulates, fascinates or simply pleases in the 21st century would not do so if Club co-Founder Bobby Jones and noted course architect Dr. Alister MacKenzie had not gotten so much right when creating the course in the early 1930s. Their design — strategic, resourceful and strikingly scenic — reflected each man’s philosophy that “less can be more” in golf architecture and that a proper test of one’s game should cause as much flexing of the mind as the muscles.

“The expert who tries for subpar scores,” MacKenzie wrote about Augusta National, “will find himself confronted with sporting problems that will require the maximum in strategy as well as skill.”

Read at Masters.com



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