What Was the Original Name of the Masters Tournament?

Postcard showing the Augusta National clubhouse, circa 1935
A circa 1935 postcard showing the Augusta National clubhouse, at a time when The Masters was still known by its original name. The Print Collector/Print Collector/Getty Images

Did you know that the Masters Tournament was not always called "The Masters"? It had a different name altogether when the tournament debuted in 1934. What was that original name?

The Masters Was Originally 'Augusta National Invitation'

When The Masters tournament was first played in 1934, its name was "Augusta National Invitation Tournament." On the cover of the tournament program for the first one, the words "First Annual Invitation Tournament" appeared above the Augusta National Golf Club's logo.

Bobby Jones was the cofounder of Augusta National Golf Club with Clifford Roberts. Roberts was more the mover-and-shaker, the money man, while Jones was more the public face, although theirs was a shared vision.

After failing to land a U.S. Open for their new club, Jones and Roberts decided to hold their own tournament - what we now know as The Masters. This was during the Great Depression, remember, and new golf clubs were scarce - successful ones rare. A tournament hosted by Jones and celebrating his ideals in the game of golf would create great fanfare - and, perhaps, new business - for Augusta National.

But they disagreed from the start over what to call the tournament.

Roberts wanted to call it "The Masters" from the get-go. Jones, however, demurred, believing that name too presumptuous, too immodest. Jones prevailed in the short term, and in 1934 the tournament debuted as the Augusta National Invitation Tournament.

Re-Naming It to The Masters

"Augusta National Invitation Tournament" was the event's name in 1934, 1935, 1936, 1937 and 1938.

But very quickly after the event was announced in 1934, according to Masters.com, the tournament starting being called "The Masters" informally, by both golfers and fans. Over the next couple years, Jones' opposition to that name was worn down.

And finally, in 1939, with Jones'  blessing, the tournament name was formally changed to The Masters Tournament.