The GIST - Special Edition: Fore a good time call

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Special Edition
From The GIST Team

Fore!

Happy Masters Thursday to all who celebrate. Men’s golf’s biggest event tees off today, so we’re sharing everything you need to know to enjoy the famed (and often dramatic) major. Prep your golf clap and scroll on.

Quote of The Day
Quote You still have to go out and execute, but there's a lot of knowledge that goes into understanding how to play [Augusta National].
Tiger Woods smiles during his practice around ahead of the Masters.

— Legendary golfer and current world No. 959 Tiger Woods, during his Tuesday press conference ahead of the Masters. Can he win the whole thing? Only Tiger knows.

The Breakdown

⚙️ How it works

Jon Rahm of Spain tees off on the 18th hole during the final round of the 2023 Masters Tournament at Augusta National Golf Club on April 09, 2023 in Augusta, Georgia.
Source: David Cannon via Getty Images

The Masters Tournament, the first of four majors in men’s golf, is typically held 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.
  • Born out of a plant nursery, Augusta National 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 can 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, 106 amateurs and pros received invitations to play, with 89 golfers expected to participate.

💚 The traditions

The infamous Georgia peach ice cream sandwiches are pictured, along with a napkin featuring the Masters logo and azaleas from Augusta National golf course.
Source: TheMasters/X

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

The food: Food prices at Augusta are famously reasonable. Masters tickets are expensive and hard to come by, so the course strives to offer an affordable on-site experience.

  • The famed Georgia peach ice cream sandwiches (as pictured) are a perennial crowd pleaser and thankfully back on the menu to stay. Plus, the iconic pimento cheese and egg salad sandwiches will only set you back $1.50 each. Phew.

The green jacket: Awarded to the tournament champ (along with an anticipated $3.24M check), the coveted outwear 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 five 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 2023 U.S. Amateur winner Nick Dunlap will tee off with 2023 Masters winner Jon Rahm. 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.

👀 A brief history on PGA vs. LIV

A bed of flowers shaped to resemble the Masters logo: a yellow silhouette of the United States with a green outline.
Source: TheMasters/X

This is the second Masters since the Saudi Arabian–backed LIV Golf was formed, but the tea is still piping hot. Last year was the first time LIV and PGA members would be reunited since the tenuous split, and everyone was curious to see how the LIV golfers would perform at the Masters, given that they play fewer rounds per tournament at less competitive courses.

For some context, LIV Golf infamously launched in June 2022 after poaching several high-profile players by promising a serious payday. For example, American Dustin Johnson 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.”

As for the athletes, LIV golfers are ineligible to compete in PGA Tour events (notably, majors like the Masters don’t fall into this category), and they have been engaging in a war of words with PGA mainstays, including Tiger Woods and Rory McIlroy. No love lost here.

  • After all that, like two toxic exes, the PGA Tour and LIV are getting back together…maybe. The details of the merger have dragged beyond the proposed December deadline but the framework is there. Watch this space.

Thirteen LIV golfers will play this weekend, highlighted by reigning champ Rahm and former Masters champions Dustin Johnson, Sergio García, Phil Mickelson, and Bubba Watson to name a few, plus other big names like Brooks Koepka and Bryson DeChambeau.

🏌️‍♂️ The contenders

A golfer and his caddie walk over the Hogan Bridge at Augusta National golf course.
Source: TheMasters/X

🇺🇸 Scottie Scheffler, World No. 1: The 2022 champ is, quite simply, on fire heading into “golf’s Super Bowl,” and his recent play is reminiscent of how he looked prior to winning his only Masters. From Vegas odds to expert picks, fan-favorite Scottie is the undeniable front-runner.

♥️ 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, but he needs a victory here to complete the golf career grand slam.

  • He’ll be looking to forget last year’s performance, when he failed to make the cut, and hopefully don the green jacket to end his ten-year (!!!) major drought. No pressure, no diamonds.

🇪🇸 Jon Rahm, No. 3: Always in the mix, Rahm will be looking to run it back at Augusta National. LIV critics will be keeping an eye out to see if the shorter tournaments of the Death Star LIV Golf impact Rahm’s game. Karma might just be a 54-hole tourney.

🇺🇸 Brooks Koepka, No. 33: Koepka has a history of showing out at major tournaments and has unfinished business at the Masters. He finished tied for second last year and went on to become the first active LIV golfer to win a major when he took home the PGA Championship last May.

🇺🇸 Wyndham Clark, No. 4: Clark had a 2023 to remember, winning his first major title at the U.S. Open, beating the aforementioned McIlroy by one stroke. His current form on the PGA Tour has bettors feeling hopeful after he finished tied for second at THE PLAYERS Championship and runner-up at the Arnold Palmer Invitational.

📺 How to watch

Golf fans walk between holes in the days preceding the 2024 Masters.
Source: TheMasters/X

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

Giveaway Alert

Spring is in full bloom, with flowers growing and birds chirping. And that means it's the perfect time to elevate your fitness routine by bringing it to the great outdoors.

  • Enter this contest today for a chance to win a $500 gift card to your preferred sporting goods store.
  • With it, you can invest in essential health accessories such as quality shoes, comfortable leggings, the ideal water bottle, and more. Carpe that diem.
The GIST's Picks

Here’s what has The GIST team currently hyped:

📺 What to watch

Full Swing. The Netflix docuseries giving a behind-the-scenes look at the PGA Tour is more dramatic than Vanderpump Rules.

🎤 Who to listen to

Verne Lundquist, the voice of the Masters for 40 years, is hanging ‘em up after this tournament. Take in the rich voice of “Uncle Verne” one last time on Sunday.

🍑 What to eat

Become the master of snacks with dishes inspired by Augusta National’s iconic fare. The shippable kits are sold out, but a little inspo never hurt anybody.

🔎 What to bookmark

The GIST’s guide, glossary, and FAQ on golf. Here to help.

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