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The 8 Times Weather Mastered The Masters

Over the history of its 82 events, The Masters has endured thunderstorms, hail, fog, flooding, high winds, and tornado warnings.

The Masters Tournament at Augusta National Golf Club takes place with the reverence of a sacred ceremony. “It’s a tradition unlike any other,” broadcaster Jim Nantz intones, and head bows knowingly.

Officials at Augusta National, the keepers of the shrine, piously uphold strict rules for the course. No running, no coolers, no phones, no cameras — even, per an edict in 2018, no shouting, “Dilly, dilly!”

And while golfers and “patrons” — as fans at the course are called — follow the rules, there is one rebel without a clue: Mother Nature can’t be controlled by officials at Augusta National.

The Masters has weathered thunderstorms, hail, fog, flooding, gusty winds, and tornado warnings over the course of its 82 tournaments. In 2018, the possibility of rain existed for the third round and former world No. 1 Dustin Johnson said simply, “Whatever the weather is tomorrow, we’ve got to play in it.”

This year’s Masters runs from April 6 to the 9th and AccuWeather forecasters are calling for some disruptive thunderstorms throughout much of the tournament. After temperatures settle in the mid-80s Fahrenheit on Thursday, it will become cooler by the weekend. Saturday’s high temperature is forecast to settle in the mid-50s F while Sunday’s high temperature is only expected to reach the low 60s F.

Justin Thomas of the United States plays his shot from the ninth tee during the Par 3 contest prior to the 2023 Masters Tournament at Augusta National Golf Club on April 05, 2023, in Augusta, Georgia. In the 82 tournaments that The Masters has held, it has endured thunderstorms, hail, fog, flooding, high winds, and tornado warnings. CHRISTIAN PETERSON/GETTY IMAGES

With that in mind, here are eight occasions when weather mastered the Masters.

Three of the first six Masters tournaments featured significant weather woes. The 1936, 1938 and 1939 Masters all included a postponed round with multiple rounds then being played on a subsequent day.

How much of a different time was it? The winner received $1,500 for each of those tournaments, the equivalent of about $28,000 in 2019. Last year’s winner, Scottie Scheffler, received $2.7 million.

Jack Nicklaus was a 21-year-old amateur who had his first of 22 top-10 finishes in 1961, but the heavy rains and flooding of several greens were the story at the time. Sunday’s final round was halted before 4 p.m. and all the day’s scores were erased, even though 10 players had already finished.

In the final round Monday, Gary Player beat Arnold Palmer and amateur Charles Coe by one stroke to become the first international Masters champion.

Heavy rain Saturday that led to postponement also forced the final round of the 1973 Masters to be played on Monday when Tommy Aaron won his only major.

Rain on Friday washed out play at the 1983 Masters, but unfavorable weather provided an advantage for one player. Originally, 36 holes were scheduled for Sunday to finish the tournament, but a 34-minute rain delay Saturday and impending darkness changed the plans and tournament organizers decided to push the final round to Monday.

The delay meant 53-year-old Arnold Palmer wouldn’t have to play 36 holes in one day; as a result, he made the cut at the Masters for the final time in his career.

”Certainly, this helps my chances,” Palmer said after Saturday’s round. ”I didn’t have any Pennzoil, and the old parts were getting stiff out there.”

Palmer called it the wettest Masters round he’d ever played. “At times it was unplayable,” he said. ”It’s so difficult under those conditions.”

Following four days of heavy rain, the first round of the 2003 Masters was postponed for the first time since 1939. Players scrambled to make up rounds on Friday and Saturday before Mike Weir became the first left-hander to win the Masters on Sunday.

”I told friends last year, ‘I’ve never seen it like this. You’ll never see it like this again.’ I was wrong,” Lee Janzen said. ”It’s worse this year.”

Rain was a factor all week in 2005, and the first round was delayed by more than five hours due to heavy morning rain. Eventual champion Tiger Woods, who rallied from a rough first round, finished his third round Sunday morning and roared back later Sunday in the final round to beat Chris DiMarco in a playoff.

“That was a hard-fought week with the rain delays,” said Woods, 29 at the time. “I didn’t get off to the greatest of starts.” That win would serve as Woods’s fourth Masters title. He won his fifth in 2019.

From 2002 through 2008, seven straight Masters were affected by either rain postponements or suspensions, fog delays, or gusting winds of up to 33 mph.

Produced in association with AccuWeather

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