In honor of the annual Kickoff to Golf Season that is the Masters, I wanted to review a book that goes much deeper than any others into the history of Augusta National Golf Club and the Augusta National Invitational Tournament. The book by Curt Sampson, who also wrote “Hogan”, tells a slightly more serious tale of the club, the founders, chairmen, and the members – all of whom were under the leadership of co-founder and the first chairman Clifford Roberts.
It’s no secret that Augusta National is a tightly-run club with little to no tolerance for rule-breakers, and it all seems to have started with Mr. Roberts. Even as I type this I feel obligated to refer to members with Mister (and now Missus). Mr. Jones and Mr. Roberts collaborated to start Augusta National Golf Club and over the next several decades the two men played a game of good cop/bad cop in running both the club and it’s famous tournament. Mr. Jones had a public image as a southern gentleman and he surely was. That left Mr. Roberts with the role of bad cop and the responsibility of seeing that the club and tournament were run just as he and Mr. Jones saw fit. Members, players and patrons all learned to stay on Mr. Roberts’ good side or suffer the consequences . . . except for maybe Frank Stranahan, who got a lifetime ban from the tournament.
Everything about the Masters is special. From the green jackets, to the under-priced concessions, to the Patrons themselves . . . and this book is a special tale that every fan should read ahead of this year’s tournament. Even if you think you know everything, I guarantee you’ll learn something new here and at less than $15 it’s a steal. Only 20 days left till Toonamint time . . .