Next week, the eyes of the golfing world will turn to the famous manicured fairways and greens of Augusta National.

Masters Week 2023 is here and with it, we will get to see players from all tours battling it out for the first Major of the new golf season.

There is no doubt that Augusta week is a special one in the golfing calendar but there are so many aspects to the week which make it that little extra special for the players, caddies and their families.

With bet365 Sport offering odds on the tournament and Scottie Scheffler their 17/2 favourite to retain the trophy that he won last year ahead of Jon Rahm and Rory McIlroy at 9/1, interest in the event with punters and sports fans is already huge.

So by way of a little preview of the tournament and its long history, here are our top ten things about The Masters which makes it such an incredible tournament and one that all golfers want to win.

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Let’s begin our countdown ot ten things that make The Masters most special with a look at perhaps one of the most obvious regulations of the event.

  1. The Masters Remains An Invitational Event

Augusta has always been an exclusive golf club and its signature tournament is equally as exclusive. While players can qualify for The Masters in a number of ways, such as being a previous winner of the event, the tournament still has its own rules and regulations regarding invitations.

For a start, The Masters field is always a lot smaller than other Major fields, which makes qualifying that little more difficult.

Secondly, the tournament also offers a number of places to qualifying amateur golfers (housing them in the Crows Nest above the Clubhouse for free for the duration of the tournament) which further waters down the opportunities for top pro golfers to qualify.

Players receive their official invitations to play in the tournament a couple of months before hand and that letter is one of the most eagerly awaited pieces of post a pro golfer will receive in their career.

  • The Par 3 Competition

Ahead of the start of The Masters tournament on Thursday, the fact that players families and friends are invited to come and watch, or even caddy, in the Par 3 tournament held on the Wednesday is a nice way to break the tension for players, while being a nice way to involve others in the week.

Nobody has ever won the Par 3 competition and then gone on to win the Masters the following weekend, but the friendly tournament is now very much part of Masters folklore.

  • The White Caddy Uniforms

It wasn’t that long ago that golfers were forced to use local caddies in The Masters tournament, however those rules changes a while back now and while players can use their usual caddies, they do have to adhere to the Augusta dress code.

That means Caddies have to wear white overalls, similar to boiler suits, with the player name on their back that they are caddying for.

It’s perhaps a little twee and harks back to the past, but it is the only tournament of the year where caddies are asked to dress in this way, which again makes it special.

  • Patrons

Want to be a spectator or a fan at the Masters tournament in person? Well you can’t. Even if you get a ticket to the event.

That is because Augusta does not have fans or spectators; instead they have patrons and they urge all coverage of the event to call those in attendance by that name rather than any other.

TV Networks and presenters have been scolded before for not adhering to this rule in their commentary and of course, patrons are expected to meet Augusta’s behaviour code on course too.

  • Rae’s Creek

One of the features of the course that meanders across a number of holes, most notably the 12th and 15th,  Rae’s Creek is a relatively thin, winding strip of water but it is one that has etched its name into Masters folklore.

The number of players who have seen their hopes of Masters glory sink when their ball finds this stretch of water is lengthy and new names are added to it every year. Yet for others, an incredible shot that clears it can be the boost to lift the trophy that they need.

  • Amen Corner

This universally difficult part of the course from the 11th fairway and green down to the 15th, signifies not just where golfers tend to turn back towards the clubhouse on the course, it signifies a stretch of holes that are amongst the toughest in golf.

More tournaments in the Masters are decided by what happens at Amen Corner than across any other holes on the course, including the 18th and on the final Sunday, with nerves kicking in, how a player plays this stretch can have a huge bearing on whether they win the tournament or not.

  • Flag Placement On The 16th Hole On The Final Day

There are not too many great chances of a birdie, or better, on the back nine at Augusta nowadays, but the 16th hole, a par 3 over water, is one of them and it is all because of where the pin is placed on the final day of action.

With a ridge at the back of the green, if players can hit the right shot then a birdie or even a hole-in-one eagle is possible. Hit a bad shot and the water, sand or rough beckons and a par becomes almost impossible to hit.

  • Green Jackets

The winner of the Masters not only receives the trophy, a replica of the club house, but a Green Jacket in recognition of their win. Furthermore, the winner of the previous year’s tournament presents the winner with their jacket in the aftermath of the final round being concluded.

However, a Green Jacket does not mean automatic membership of the club, as many people think, instead, it means that this player will have a guaranteed invitation every year to The Masters for life.

  • Champions Dinner

One of the tasks for the champion of the past year, is to select the menu for the Champions Dinner, which is served on Tuesday Night in Masters Week to a selected group of Augusta National members and former Masters Champions.

Given the cosmopolitan nature and various locations of the different winners over the years, there has been a wide range of menus selected including Roast Beef and Yorkshire Pudding, Hamburgers, Wagyu Beef Ribeye, and Braai, a South African barbecue (chosen by Charl Schwartel in 2012).

  1. The Honorary First Shot

What better way to honour the past and start the present tournament by asking iconic golfers from past eras to hit the first tee shots of the tournament to get things started. Last year Gary Player,  Tom Watson and Jack Nicklaus were the honorary starters for the event.

It’s a fitting way to start the first Major of the year and four days of golfing action which will see the winner earn that coveted Green Jacket and a place in golf history!