Looking to provide a service to the game, Bobby Jones and Clifford Roberts decided to host an annual tournament at Augusta National, the Club they co-founded in 1933. They made the final decision at a meeting in New York at the office of Club member W. Alton Jones. Roberts proposed that the event be called the Masters Tournament, but Jones objected, considering it presumptuous. The name Augusta National Invitation Tournament was adopted, and the title was used for five years until 1939 when Jones relented and the name was officially changed to the Masters. Another early issue was whether Jones would play in the Tournament or serve as an official. Jones preferred not to compete, but the Club's members persuaded him to join the field. In the 12 Masters he played, his best finish was 13th in 1934.
Many innovative policies Jones and Roberts started early on remain in place today. These include: playing 18 holes on each of four days instead of 36 holes on the third and final day, as was standard at the time; eliminating qualifying rounds; and denying permission for anyone except players and caddies to be inside the playing area. Also, the Club provided a complimentary pairing sheet and a spectator booklet, and limited commercialization of the Tournament in any form.
The first Masters began on March 22, 1934, and was won by Horton Smith. In the fall of that year, the course's two nines were reversed. Beginning in 1940, the Masters was scheduled each year during the first full week in April. The most famous shot ever made at the Masters happened in 1935 when Gene Sarazen holed a four-wood approach from 235 yards out for a double eagle on the par-five 15th hole. Sarazen went on to tie Craig Wood and force a 36-hole playoff the following day, which Sarazen won by five strokes. In 1942, Byron Nelson defeated Ben Hogan, 69-70, in an 18-hole playoff. The Masters was not played the following three years during the war. To assist the war effort, cattle and turkeys were raised on the Augusta National grounds.
The 1950s brought two victories by Ben Hogan, and the first of four for Arnold Palmer. Palmer's 1958 win began the tradition of Amen Corner. In 1960, the Par 3 Contest was begun, and in 1966 Jack Nicklaus became the first Masters champion to defend his title successfully. During the 1970s, the two founders of the Masters Tournament passed away. Both Jones and Roberts left indelible impressions on the Masters and on the world of golf. The following decade, Spaniard Seve Ballesteros won twice and Tom Watson prevailed for his second title. In 1986, at age 46, Nicklaus surged to his record sixth Green Jacket. And in 1997, Tiger Woods broke the Tournament's four-day scoring record, which had stood for 32 years. At the 2001 Masters, Woods won his fourth consecutive professional major, and in 2002 he became only the third player to win consecutive Masters titles, after Nicklaus and Nick Faldo. In 2005, Woods became the third person to win at least four Masters