The Masters Golf Tournament: Lot of History

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In the picture above, Gene Sarazen (at right) putts out while Craig Wood looks on. Despite his two major championships, Wood is probably most well known as the victim of Gene Sarazen’s famous double eagle in the 1935 Augusta National Invitational (now known as the Masters Tournament). The shot left the two players tied at the end of regulation and Sarazen went on to victory in a 36-hole playoff.

Sarazen’s double eagle (“albatross”) was on the par 5 15th hole. It was called the “shot heard ‘round the world.” He holed out a 4 wood from 235 yards to a tough green well protected by a creek in front.

As a 20-year old he won the U.S. Open at Skokie in 1922, shooting a 68 in the final round, the first player to shoot under 70 to win. He added the PGA Championship at Oakmont later that year.  Repeating his victory in the PGA the next year, Sarazen won numerous tournaments in the ensuing years – his total eventually reaching 39 PGA Tour victories. In 1932,  he won the British Open at Sandwich, then the U.S. Open at Fresh Meadow, for a historic double in the world’s two major Open Championships. In 1933 he added a third PGA at Blue Mound in Wisconsin.

The 1935 Masters had a very strong field of 64. All four of the reigning U.S. national champions were entered – Olin Dutra, Open; Lawson Little, Amateur; Paul Runyon, PGA; and Charlie Yates, Intercollegiate (NCAA). There were also nine former National Open champs, including Bobby Jones, and two former British Open victors.

Wood went on to become a big name later. In 1941 he won the Masters becoming its first wire-to-wire champion with rounds of 66-71-71-72=280 and a three shot victory over Byron Nelson. He followed his Masters success by winning the 45th U.S. Open at The Colonial Club in Fort Worth, Texas. His score of 284 beat out another former nemesis Denny Shute by three. This was the first time someone had successfully captured the first two major championships of the year. In 1954, the Lake Placid Golf and Country Club changed its name to the Craig Wood Golf Course in honor of its native son.