Archive - April 7, 2015

1
The Man Who Made the Masters, Part I
2
The Man Who Made the Masters, Part II
3
The Man Who Made the Masters, Part III
4
The Man Who Made the Masters (Conclusion)

The Man Who Made the Masters, Part I

The Man Who Made the Masters This is the first in a series on Clifford Roberts, the co-founder of Augusta National Golf Club and the chairman of the Masters Tournament from 1934 to 1976. By John Coyne FROM THE HILLSIDE AT AUGUSTA NATIONAL one looks into a natural amphitheater and across a landscape of interlacing fairways and greens, golden sand and blue-green stately pines. The old Berckman’s nursery fills smooth valleys and soft hills to the far edges of Amen Corner with a maze of color: azalea, dogwood, and redbud. In so many ways, this ancient acreage and southern plantation club house still has the look, code and culture of those antebellum times. It is, also, a very modern golf course, as architect Robert Trent Jones defined it in The Complete Golfer. Jones wrote, “The Augusta National is the epitome of the type of course which appeals most keenly to the . . .

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The Man Who Made the Masters, Part II

The Man Who Made the Masters, Part II This is the second part of a series on Clifford Roberts, the co-founder of Augusta National Golf Club and the chairman of the Masters Tournament from 1934 to 1976. By John Coyne CLIFFORD ROBERTS WAS BORN IN MORNING SUN, Iowa, in 1894 and reared in small towns in Iowa and Texas. He never attended college and didn’t graduate from high school. He left in the ninth grade after a fight with the principal. His family life was troubled; his father couldn’t keep a job; his mother was suicidal. And yet Roberts became one of the most iconic figures in the world of golf. At the age of 19, Roberts, a traveling salesman of men’s suits, was on the road in the Midwest when he heard his mother had taken her own life. “It was a tragic event,” writes Steve Eubanks in his . . .

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The Man Who Made the Masters, Part III

The Man Who Made the Masters, Part III By John Coyne CLIFFORD ROBERTS IS OFTEN REMEMBERED (and quoted) for saying about Augusta National Golf Club and the Masters Tournament, “As long as I’m alive, golfers will be white and caddies will be black.” Today, however, it is difficult to find an African-American caddie looping at the Masters as all the pros (and amateurs) bring their own caddies, and they are, almost exclusively, Caucasian. (The first full-time white Augusta National caddie, around 1986, was Tripp Bowden who writes about it in his book Freddie & Me, Augusta National Legendary Caddy Master). In a 1997 article in Sports Illustrated  Rick Reilly would write, “Someday Eldrick (Tiger) Woods, a mixed-race kid with a middle-class background who grew up on a municipal course in the sprawl of Los Angeles, may be hailed as the greatest golfer who ever lived, but it’s likely that his . . .

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The Man Who Made the Masters (Conclusion)

The Man Who Made the Masters (Conclusion) This is the final part of a series on Clifford Roberts, the co-founder of Augusta National Golf Club and the chairman of the Masters Tournament from 1934 to 1976. By John Coyne ONE MIGHT SAY SUICIDE RAN in Clifford Roberts’ family. His mother, suffering from back pains and depression, killed herself with a shotgun in 1913, and his father, who had health issues of his own, in 1921 walked in front of a train and was killed. No note was left, but it had the markings of another family suicide. Now how would Clifford end his life? Roberts’s final day is well told in David Owen’s book, The Making of the Masters, a history of Augusta National written with the help and cooperation of the club, to combat negative accounts of life at Augusta National. Owen, a New Yorker staff writer, gives a . . .

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