On this Week March 18-24: The Masters is born

Eurosport - Tue, 16 Mar 15:51:00 2010

On this Week looks back at the first ever playing of golf's opening Major of the season.

Bobby Jones, creator of US Masters - 0

1934: First Masters tournament gets underway in Augusta - March 22

Before there was Tiger Woods there was Jack Nicklaus; before there was Nicklaus there was Ben Hogan; and before there was Hogan there was Bobby Jones, indisputably one of the greatest players ever to pick up a golf club.

The lawyer from Atlanta had spent the 1920s conquering golf, beating amateurs and professionals alike as in 1930 he won the Grand Slam of its day - the Open and Amateur championships of Britain and America in a single calendar year, then known as the 'Impregnable Quadrilateral'.

Like Alexander surveying the last of his conquered lands, Jones decided there was nothing left for him to prove and retired from the game - but while he hung up his clubs, he had not finished making his mark on golf.

Instead he went into partnership with fellow Atlanta resident Clifford Roberts, building the famous Augusta National Golf Club an hour or two down the road.

As the Great Depression hit, however, the club struggled for members; so to put it on the map Jones and Roberts created a tournament. Jones agreed to play, his first foray into competitive golf since completing the Grand Slam.

The tournament was originally called the Augusta National Invitation Tournament, but was unofficially dubbed The Masters (Roberts's preferred name for the event) from day one, and the name was officially changed in 1939.

And on March 22, 1934 the first tournament got underway, eventually won by Horton Smith.

1966: The World Cup is stolen - March 20

England's World Cup-winning campaign of 1966 got off to an appalling start before the tournament even began: a week after the reigning champions Brazil had handed the Jules Rimet trophy over to England, it was stolen while on exhibition at Central Hall in Westminster.

Brazil were understandably furious, claiming that such an incident would never have happened in their country, where football was seen as too important for thieves to target the iconic trophy.

Luckily, an unlikely saviour arrived in the form of a dog called Pickles, who swooped in to track down the trophy in the nick of time. Pickles discovered it discarded at the bottom of a hedge, presumably while looking for a suitable place to cock his leg.

The rest is history: Bobby Moore led England to summer glory, and Brazil won it for keeps in 1970 after their third triumph.

Ironically, the trophy was stolen again in 1983 - in Brazil - and has not been seen since. No doubt the English responded by saying it would never have happened in their country.

1980: US announce boycott of Moscow Olympics - March 21

After several years of thaw the Cold War stepped up a gear once again in 1979 as the Soviet Union sent troops into Afghanistan.

US President Jimmy Carter was not happy, and issued an ultimatum threatening a boycott of the Moscow Olympics if the USSR troops did not withdraw by February 20th, 1980.

The Soviets held their ground, and 29 days later the US announced that the boycott would go ahead. A number of other countries joined the USA's boycott, including Japan, West Germany, China and Canada.

Several European nations were more pragmatic, however, with countries including the UK, France and Greece officially supporting the boycott but still allowing their athletes to compete if they wished.

And America's loss turned out to be Scotland's gain: Edinburgh sprinter Alan Wells capitalised on the absence of the world's best sprinters to pick up 100m gold and 200m silver.

But it wasn't all bad news for Team USA: four years later the USSR responded by boycotting the 1984 Games in Los Angeles, leaving the way clear for the US to pick up a record 83 gold medals - a mark that is now likely to stand for the rest of Olympic history.

1995: Michael Jordan announces return - March 18

Never has a two-worded press release caused such excitement. It was on this week back in 1995 that Michael Jordan simply informed the press in a statement: "I'm back".

The greatest basketball player of all retired in 1993 after leading the Chicago Bulls to three championships. Eighteen months later the Bulls really needed him as they were struggling to reach the play-offs; however, Jordan's return changed everything and he helped them make the Eastern Conference semi-finals before they lost to the Orlando Magic.

Things really took off the following season with Jordan inspiring the Bulls to another title. Chicago would go on to 'three-peat' again before Jordan retired once more.

There would be another less successful comeback, this time with the Washington Wizards, before 'His Airness' finally called it quits in 2003.

1877: Australia beat England in first Test match - March 19

The first Test match was completed on this week in Melbourne back in 1877 with Australia beating England by 45 runs. The key innings came from Kent-born Australian opener Charles Bannerman, who scored 165 before retiring hurt.

Coincidentally, the Aussies won the centenary Test in 1977 by the same margin.

1913: Netherlands beat England at football for first time - March 24

A famous day in Dutch football came on this week a whopping 95 years ago when they beat England for the first time with a 2-1 victory in a friendly. There were two heroes for Holland on the day: Huug de Groot because he scored both the goals, and coach Edgar Chadwick, an Englishman who had a long and distinguished career with Everton during the 1890s.

That's right: there was a time when other countries used to call upon English coaches and not the other way around!

Sean Fay/Toby Keel / Eurosport

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