The Masters Tournament, also known as The Masters (sometimes referred to as The U.S. Masters outside of the United States), is one of the four major championships in professional golf. Scheduled for the first full week of April, it is the first of the majors to be played each year. Unlike the other major championships, the Masters is held each year at the same location, Augusta National Golf Club, a private golf club in the city of Augusta, Georgia, USA. The Masters was started by Clifford Roberts and Bobby Jones. Jones designed Augusta National with course architect Alister MacKenzie. The tournament is an official money event on the PGA Tour, the PGA European Tour, and the Japan Golf Tour. The field of players is smaller than those of the other major championships because it is an invitational event, entry being controlled by the Augusta National Golf Club.
The tournament has a number of traditions. A green jacket has been awarded to the winner since 1949, which must be returned to the clubhouse after a year. The Champions dinner, inaugurated by Ben Hogan in 1952, is held on the Tuesday before each tournament, and is open only to past champions and certain board members of the Augusta National Golf Club. Beginning in 1963, legendary golfers, usually past champions, have hit an honorary tee shot on the morning of the first round. Such golfers have included Fred McLeod, Jock Hutchinson, Gene Sarazen, Sam Snead, Byron Nelson, Arnold Palmer, and Jack Nicklaus. Since 1960, a semi-social Par 3 Contest, on a par-3 course on Augusta National's grounds, has been played on the day before the first round of each Masters Tournament.
Nicklaus has won more Masters Tournaments than any other golfer, winning six times between 1963 and 1986. Other multiple winners include Palmer and Tiger Woods, with four each. Gary Player, from South Africa, was the first non-American player to win the tournament in 1961.
Since the course first opened in 1933, it has been modified many times by different architects. Among the changes: greens have been reshaped and occasionally rebuilt completely, bunkers have been added, water hazards have been extended, new tees have been built, hundreds of trees have been planted, and several mounds have been installed.