Everything you need to know about the 2023 Masters Tournament

April 6, 2023
Men’s golf’s biggest event tees off today, so this newsletter has everything you need to know about the famed major — the good, the bad and the ugly.
Sports NewsGolf

⚙️ How it works

The Masters Tournament is the first of four majors in men’s golf and is typically held annually during the first full week of April.

  • Unlike other majors, which are held at different courses each year, the Augusta National Golf Club in Augusta, Georgia is the permanent host of the Masters and has been since its inception in 1934.
  • Augusta National was born out of a plant nursery, and is famous for its lush landscapes and rolling hills. Flowers like magnolias and azaleas are so synonymous with the course that 2017 Masters winner Sergio García named his daughter Azalea after the 13th hole.

There are 20 ways players qualify for the Masters, including winning other majors, being a previous Masters champ, winning Olympic gold and qualifying for the season-ending Tour Championship. This year, 88 golfers are expected to participate.

💚 The traditions

The Masters maintains some of the most steadfast traditions of any global sporting event.

The food: Golf fans can breathe a sigh of relief because the famed Georgia peach ice cream sandwiches are back on the menu this year. Plus, the iconic pimento cheese and egg salad sandwiches will only set you back $1.50 each. Phew.

  • And that’s not the only cost-effective snack: Food prices at Augusta are notoriously reasonable. Masters tickets are incredibly expensive and hard to come by, so the course strives to offer an affordable on-site experience.

The green jacket: Awarded to the tournament champ (along with an anticipated $2.7M check), the coveted outerwear is more than a fashion statement. The winner also walks away with a lifetime invitation to play in the Masters and an honorary membership at the super-exclusive Augusta Club.

The amateur connection: In honor of Bobby Jones, the legendary amateur who created the Masters, the tournament continues to highlight amateur golf. This year’s seven amateurs are invited to lodge at the course’s Crow’s Nest while competing, and the lowest-scoring amateur will be awarded the Silver Cup.

  • The reigning U.S. Amateur champ also plays his first two rounds with the defending Masters champ, meaning the 2022 U.S. Amateur winner Sam Bennett will tee off with 2022 Masters winner Scottie Scheffler. So special.

The Champions Dinner: Held the Tuesday night of Masters week, all previous Masters champs — and only previous Masters champs — gather at the course for a dinner chosen by the most recent winner.

🏌️‍♂️The contenders

🇺🇲 Scottie Scheffler, World No. 1: The reigning champ is, quite simply, on fire. At only 26-years-old, he’s already won a whopping six PGA tournaments since turning pro in 2018. You can’t bet against Scottie.

🇮🇪 Rory McIlroy, No. 2: To say McIlroy is the people’s champ would be an understatement. The lovable Northern Irishman is a four-time major winner, with only the Masters eluding him. He’ll be looking to improve upon last year’s second-place finish to finally don the green jacket and end his nine-year major drought.

🇪🇸 Jon Rahm, No. 3: Always in the mix, it feels like Rahm is on the precipice of Masters glory. That said, with only one major title to his name (the 2021 U.S. Open), many question if the fiery Spaniard can close out when it counts.

🇺🇲 Collin Morikawa, No. 12: The 26-year-old hyper-focused Morikawa has already won two majors, most recently hoisting The Open Championship trophy in 2021. He’s even been compared to the likes of superstar Tiger Woods. We’d say high praise but

🇺🇲 Tony Finau, No. 13: To be fair, Finau is more of a dark horse than a tried and true contender. However, over the last four years, he’s finished in the top-10 in all major tournaments at least once. His 6-foot-4 frame allows him to crush the ball, but it’ll be his approach shots that make or break him.

🇨🇦 Corey Conners, No. 28: Fresh off a big W at last weekend’s Valero Texas Open, the lone Canadian contender has momentum coming into the event. His putting game is always shaky, but if he can handle the dance floor, he may just shimmy his way to Canada’s second-ever Masters win.

👀 The major storyline

Expect drama, drama, drama because this is the first Masters since the Saudi Arabian–backed LIV Golf was formed, meaning it’ll be the first event of the season with LIV golfers teeing up alongside PGA athletes. And some people say golf is boring?

ICYMI: LIV Golf infamously launched last spring after poaching several high-profile players by promising a serious payday — for example, American Dustin Johnson (DJ) was reportedly paid $125M just for signing up. LIV’s golfers say they joined the breakaway tour as a “once-in-a-lifetime opportunity to shape the way the PGA Tour operates.”

  • The new tour is facing more than just warranted criticism, too. LIV’s currently in an antitrust lawsuit with the PGA Tour.

As for the athletes, LIV golfers are ineligible to compete in PGA Tour events (notably, majors are not PGA Tour events), and have been engaging in a war of words with PGA mainstays, including Tiger Woods and Rory McIlroy. No love lost here.

Eighteen LIV golfers will play this weekend, highlighted by former Masters champions DJ, Sergio García, Phil Mickelson and Bubba Watson, plus other big names like Brooks Koepka, Bryson DeChambeau and Cameron Smith.

  • The former LIV Masters winners also had a seat at Tuesday’s Champions Dinner. Oh, to be a fly on the wall.

Needless to say, PGA loyalists will be out to unequivocally show that the best athletes compete on their tour, while LIV golfers will try to prove themselves despite playing in fewer, shorter, less competitive and less meaningful tournaments.

😒 The good, the bad and the ugly

The history of the Masters is steeped in racism, sexism and classism. Since 2020, organizers have worked to address the tournament’s racist history and take steps toward reconciliation.

  • Augusta National also began funding two annual Lee Elder scholarships and a fully-funded women’s golf program at Paine College, an HBCU in Georgia, where Taya Buxton became the inaugural recipient of the women’s scholarship. It’s a start, but there’s still a long way to go.

📺 The first tee

The Masters swings into action at 8 a.m. ET this morning with coverage on CBS/ESPN in the U.S. and TSN2 in Canada. Check out the tee times and groupings here, and follow the leaderboard here. Tee it up.