At the Masters, champions of the past, present and future

This past week marks seventy-five years since Sam Snead won the Masters Tournament and became the first champion to receive one of the green jackets at Augusta National Golf Club.

Until his death in 2002, he wore the jacket every time he returned to Augusta. Today, it’s a sartorial symbol of how Augusta National, beyond its storied history and beautiful azaleas, geopolitical machinations and gallery roar that ripples from Amen Corner to the clubhouse, is more enchanted by champions than most places.

Since the beginning of the month, Lottie Woad has captured the Augusta National Women’s Amateur. Eight children were named champions of a junior golf competition after playing at Augusta. More than 30 past Masters winners gathered for a dinner in honor of last year’s champion Jon Rahm, and Jack Nicklaus, Gary Player and Tom Watson hit the tee shots to kick off this year’s tournament. Many of their brothers played afterwards, because they were allowed to do so for life. On Sunday, Scottie Scheffler, who was already familiar with the locker room reserved for former champions, won the 88th Masters.

There is perhaps no place in men’s golf where hope, dazzle and ambition abound as much as at Augusta.

But this past week, all the possibilities seemed to be greater than normal. There was the solar eclipse on Monday, when fans looked to the sky just as Ben Crenshaw and Nick Faldo did here. Later, Tiger Woods, 48 ​​years old and two years removed from the last time he made a major tournament, made his record 24 consecutive Masters cut. But he faded on Saturday.

Higher up the leaderboard in the third round, players like Ludvig Aberg, Nicolai Hojgaard, Max Homa and Xander Schauffele were gunning for their debut major title, while Bryson DeChambeau, Collin Morikawa and Cameron Smith looked to build on the magic that had recently made them champions elsewhere. Scheffler stumbled at times, but on Sunday he dominated to claim his second Masters victory before the birth of his first child.

Golf enthusiasts often consider a trip to the Masters as something they dream about. It certainly is for players. The Masters is a chance to become one of those champions who are written in history, with the green vests and the chance to enchant Augusta forever.

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