The British Masters was first introduced way back in 1946 as the Dunlop Masters, renamed when the sponsorship ended in 1984.
The very first tournament was tied by Scotsman Jimmy Adams and four-time Open Champion, South African Bobby Locke at Stoneham Golf Club in Southampton. Subsequently, the location usually changed from course to course each year, with iconic locations St. Andrews and Wentworth following soon after.
As the prestigious locations piled up, so did the illustrious list of golfers who took part. By the mid-1980’s, the tournament was regarded as one of the most distinguished of the year – and certainly one of the most lucrative, with prize money reaching as high as third in the world.
As a moment in history, perhaps the British Masters is best remembered for the 1967 tournament at Royal St George’s in Kent, where Tony Jacklin entered golfing folklore by hitting the very first televised hole-in-one on British TV.
Nick Faldo also made a piece of golfing history when he won the British Masters in 1989 with a then record-breaking score of 267, a full 21 shots under par!
As if that wasn’t spectacular enough, the record only lasted four years, as Peter Baker went one better in 1993 to triumph with 22 under par. His impressive outing included a second round 64 and final round 63 – a record that still stands today.
Plenty of the game’s greats have graced the competition. Golf Care’s very own ambassador Bernard Gallacher was twice a champion in consecutive years, at Ganton and St. Pierre, as was the late, great Seve Ballesteros.
Elsewhere on the honours board has been the Great White Shark himself, Greg Norman, Sandy Lyle, the aforementioned Nick Faldo and Sam Torrance to name but a few. A real who’s who of golf at a tournament that always proved a real highlight at the end of each year.
Things reached a low ebb after 2008, when the tournament was pulled from the European Tour schedule after failing to gather enough sponsorship. It would be seven long years before it was seen again – returning with a bang in 2015 as Ian Poulter played host at his home course and classic British Masters destination, Woburn Golf Club.
This year sees the British Masters, this time hosted by Luke Donald, take place at The Grove – a hugely popular course in the heart of Hertfordshire. Defending his title will be Matthew Fitzpatrick, fresh from his Ryder Cup debut, joined by Team Europe compatriots Danny Willett, Lee Westwood and Chris Wood. With Graeme McDowell, Alex Noren and the ever-popular Andrew ‘Beef’ Johnston also taking part, it promises to recapture the magic of the tournament’s heyday and establish it as a regular event for many years to come.