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The Masters: The Best Sporting Event in the World?

By Todd Wolff

The eyes of the sporting world will be firmly fixed on the lush greens of Augusta National on April 6, where the 81st running of one of the world's most famous sporting events gets underway.

Whether you are a fan of golf or not, there can be no denying the Masters is one event that everyone takes at least a parting interest in; more avid golf fans claim it to be just behind the Ryder Cup as the most major of all sporting tournaments.

However, biased opinions are rife in sport, with everyone claiming the upper echelons of their favored sport as the bigger events around the globe. So, to continue that trend: with horse racing's Grand National occurring on the same weekend as the Augusta event, how does it match up to the Masters?

When you consider the Masters tournament lasts five days (including the legendary Par 3 Contest the day before the competition starts) and the Grand National can last anywhere between 9 - 12 minutes, it is difficult to make a direct comparison, however, as there are some stark differences between the two.


"Horse racing" (CC BY 2.0) by Paolo Camer

At least from a betting perspective, these two competitions are barely comparable.

Such is the size of the field in the Masters and the way it is structured, there are unarguably a lot more betting opportunities in Augusta. Outrights, three balls and "who will land a hole in one" are all enjoyable betting markets but perhaps don't match up to the enormity of backing who will reach the finish line first in the Grand National.

Such is its popularity in the UK alone, a multi-million-pound industry has been created by companies creating Grand National betting tips for you and I, and the buzz it creates for such a comparably shorter event is phenomenal.

Even the most average of golfers are all but guaranteed to make at least six figures every season they retain their tour card, but win just one event and you're an instant millionaire.

England's Danny Willett took home a cool $1.8 million for winning the Masters in 2016. The winner of the Grand National claimed £561,300, meanwhile, so both events handsomely reward the victor.

That is where the niceties end, however. Only the top ten actually secure a share of the purse at the Grand National, with the total shared prize fund standing at £1 million ($1.24 million).

That pails into insignificance when you realize the total prize fund for the Masters Tournament stands at $10 million.

When you realize that means that even 57th placed Thongchai Jaidee still picked up a healthy cheque of $23,000 for coming last of the players who made the cut, suddenly the money on offer in golf is a lot more appealing.

Golf has always been a lucrative and more accessible sport for many, despite the often stiffly priced golf club memberships.

However, even golf's arguably biggest event was surpassed in the purse stakes by the Grand National's richer counterpart, the Pegasus World Cup in January of this year.


"Horse Racing" (CC BY 2.0) by Paolo Camer

The nine-furlong race for thoroughbreds aged four years and upwards carries a purse of $12 million, with the race winner picking up a staggering $7 million for just one minute, 46 seconds of actual racing.

That may sound impressive - because it is - but the Grand National and the Masters have a combined history of 253 years.

The Grand National has a slight feel of the gimmick about it whereas golf and in particular, the Masters Tournament, is a way of life.

To emerge victorious in any of golf's four majors requires real attention to detail, skill, luck and an ability to mix psychological torment with successful elation almost shot by shot.

Golf is unique and without doubt, given the choice, most people would rather be Masters Champion than the winning jockey at the Grand National.


Revised: 04/06/2017 - Article Viewed 1,202 Times

About: Todd Wolff

Todd Wolff Todd Wolff is a well traveled freelance writer on golf, beer and travel. In 2005, Todd joined as the first contributor. When he is not on the links, Todd is brewing his legendary craft beers. In addition, to golf writing he is a world renowned graphic artist who has won numerous industry awards in logo design and product packaging.

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