Extraordinary Runner-Up Prize from the Inaugural Masters!1934 Masters Tournament Silver Medal Presented to Craig Wood. The Masters golf tournament, first played in 1934, was the brain child of the great Bobby Jones. Jones envisioned creating the finest golf tournament in the world played on the finest golf course in the world. Most would say that he succeeded. From 1934 through 1937, the event was officially called the Augusta National Invitational Tournament until taking on the title of The Masters by popular proclamation. Horton Smith won the inaugural contest by one stroke over Craig Wood with a four under par score of 284. In 1935, Craig Wood again finished as a runner-up. Wood finally did get a Masters victory six years later in 1941.
There is some uncertainty today over what kind of trophies or awards were given out in the early years of the Masters Tournament. Even the official Masters website is not entirely authoritative when it comes to the Masters' early history, especially concerning the awarding of prizes. Although it is certain that the awarding of the Green Jacket to the Champion began in 1949 and that the awarding of the miniature Silver Clubhouse began in 1993, some researchers report that prior to 1961 the official Masters Trophy was a gold cup, and that at least in some years the winners received a plaque instead of a gold medal. The same research also indicates that medals were not awarded at all until 1951, at which time the winner began receiving a gold medal and the runner-up a silver medal, each of the same size and each with the same markings on the front and back. At that time, prior winners and runners-up were permitted to buy medals to commemorate their past achievements. Not all of the champions and runners-up were willing to foot the bill for a medal, most especially in the case of the winners because the cost of a gold medal was much higher than the cost of a silver medal. Over the years, the design of the Masters Medal has changed only once. The modern version has a sharper strike than the original version and the driveway in front of the clubhouse now appears in the modern version.
Offered here is Craig Wood's Runner-up Silver Medal representing his second place finish in the 1934 Masters Tournament. This medal has "Augusta National Golf Club" stamped on the front along with the image of the clubhouse (no driveway). Thus, it definitely is the early version. Presumably, Craig Wood chose to buy both his 1934 and 1935 silver medals (as well as his 1941 winners gold medal) when given the opportunity because his runner-up medal for 1935 is on display at the PGA World Golf Hall of fame in Florida. On the reverse of the offered medal is stamped "Masters Tournament" along with the well-known logo of the United States map with flag inserted. The back of the medal medal is engraved "Craig Wood Runner Up 1934" and the medal comes in its original green leather case. It measures 1.75 inches in diameter and weighs 1.3 ounces. Condition is Mint.
Our consignor obtained the medal for his private golf museum about twelve years ago through his acquisitions agent. The agent had procured it from a golf collectibles dealer, who in turn had acquired it from a golf professional, who had gotten it from a close friend of Craig Wood himself. Very few Masters medals have ever surfaced for sale. Most of the players have kept their awards. A few reside in museums. And, because some of the pre-1951 winners never bought their medals, some were never issued at all. It has been reported that Craig Wood's 1941 Masters Gold Medal sold a few years ago for "well into five figures." Although this offered medal is a Silver Runner-Up example, it does represent the inaugural 1934 event, and as all collectors know, the first of anything carries a special significance. At this time, it is not known by Heritage if a 1934 Gold Masters Medal was ever issued to the winner Horton Smith. So, this silver medal may stand alone.
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