Incredible Never-Before-Seen Masters Photographs

Here at Golf Digest, we recently discovered an unknown box of black-and-white film negatives made at the Masters from the 1950s through the 1970s by some of our magazine's earliest editors. These photographs reveal golf stars and galleries of the Madman Age and Augusta National Golf Club looking nothing like the highly manicured course it is today.

Released on 4/5/2019

Transcript

00:01
[Narrator] In the years after World War II,
00:03
with President Eisenhower in the White House
00:05
and television coming of age,
00:07
golf began to surge across America.
00:09
In 1950, three Chicago golfers,
00:12
fresh out of Northwestern University
00:14
founded a magazine called Golf Digest.
00:17
Co-founder Howard Gill, cameras around his neck,
00:20
routinely doubled as photographer and reporter
00:22
at tour events,
00:24
especially the Masters.
00:25
The years first major played annually
00:27
at Augusta National Golf Club.
00:30
The classic pictures of the Masters in this collection
00:32
have never been published before.
00:35
They were found in an unopened, unmarked box,
00:37
in the Golf Digest headquarters at One World Trade Center
00:40
in New York.
00:41
Ranging from the mid-50s through the early 70s,
00:45
they show golf stars and galleries of the mad men age.
00:48
Pictures taken by editors of Golf Digest,
00:51
like John P. May equally facile
00:53
at writing instruction articles
00:55
and shooting tournament photography.
00:57
The Masters was growing in stature.
01:01
A Memphis dynast, Cary Middlecoff
01:03
won the green jacket one year
01:05
and an ex-marine from Texas, Jackie Burke won it the next.
01:10
Leader boards and scoring were a nascent art.
01:13
Caddies in white overalls covered their players,
01:16
rain or shine.
01:18
It was an era that personified style
01:20
with the colorful Jimmy Demaret,
01:23
the impossibly young Gary Player,
01:27
the always old Gene Sarazen,
01:30
and the ageless Sam Snead.
01:34
Ben Hogan was still a contender.
01:38
And it came as no surprise
01:40
when five time British Open champion,
01:42
Peter Thomson would compete in the morning
01:44
and then file a tournament report in the afternoon.
01:48
Chi-Chi Rodríguez first entertained the crowds
01:50
by tossing his hat over the hole.
01:53
So a birdie wouldn't fly away.
01:55
Okay, it was a simpler time.
01:58
The head of the USGA himself, Joe Dey,
02:01
would oversee a ball drop on the course.
02:04
Augusta National Chairman Cliff Roberts
02:06
would bring the runner up Ken Venturi to meet the press.
02:10
The course was scruffier, the water came right up
02:13
to the edge of the 12th green at Augusta National.
02:16
And there weren't even flowers up the slope.
02:20
No corporate logos on the shirts,
02:22
players would hang around to watch each other play.
02:26
They actually liked signing autographs.
02:29
And galleries resembled the aunts and uncles
02:32
of bygone holiday dinners.
02:35
These pictures gave us the first glimpses
02:37
of the merry mix, Lee Trevino,
02:40
a precocious amateur, Lanny Wadkins,
02:44
and the rakish ladies man, Raymond Floyd.
02:47
We saw tour fathers, like Deacon Palmer,
02:49
and tour wives, like Winnie Palmer,
02:52
that set the mold for generations to come.
02:55
And after the tournaments were over,
02:57
Jack Nicklaus would sit on a couch in the press room
03:00
with Doc Giffin and tell us how he did it.
03:04
But even in those long ago days,
03:06
maybe especially in those days,
03:08
you knew a hero when you saw one.
03:12
Whether he was taking a divot on 18,
03:14
or sharing a smoke with the writers,
03:16
or lunching with Bob Drum,
03:19
or just looking cool on the course,
03:22
like the one and only Arnie.
03:24
This collection of lost and found images,
03:26
bring back the memories of heroes and heroics,
03:30
not to be forgotten.
03:32
[gentle jazz music]
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