The massive crowds, the pimento cheese sandwiches, the worldwide acclaim -- not even the green jacket was on the minds of those who conceived the Masters.
And it wasn't even called The Masters Tournament when the Augusta National Invitation Tournament began with far less fanfare than today in late March of 1934.
Bob Jones invited his friends, peers and former rivals in the game, and out of respect for him, most of them showed up at this out-of-the-way place in eastern Georgia that offered spectacular views and another opportunity to tee it up for a few dollars.
"Bob Jones was the best player in the world back in those days, and when he organized a tournament in Augusta, it was more or less an invitation from him to play," said Errie Ball, who tied for 38th in that first Masters. "It was beautiful, and the tournament was quite a difference from the one they just played in Phoenix [at TPC Scottsdale.] Entirely different.
"But as the years went by, it became big-time. But even then, it had prestige because of Bob Jones."
Ball is a Welshman who came to the United States and settled at Jones' East Lake in Atlanta, where he became an assistant golf pro. Now 100 and living in Stuart, Fla., he is the last living player of the 72 who began the 1934 tournament, won by Horton Smith.
Nobody dreamed it would become one of four major championships, a place where stars were born and legends made.
Augusta National founders Jones and Clifford Roberts at first sought a U.S. Open for their new course, and only upon learning that it would not happen anytime soon did they put in place more modest plans. And those plans were all but born out of desperation.
"They were broke," said Sidney Matthew, a Tallahassee, Fla., attorney and Jones biographer. "It was the height of the Depression; the economy was on its tail; and they were very much worried about trying to get more members and get the word out about the golf course.
"So Cliff thought that if they had a golf tournament and if Bob Jones invited you to come to his golf tournament, no one would say no. The reason it was successful was you couldn't say no to Bob Jones. It was such an honor to be invited to his tournament that you would go out of your way to honor that invitation. Part of that is just because he was the star of the era. And everybody respected him that much."
It also couldn't hurt if Jones played. He had retired from competition four years earlier after completing the 1930 Grand Slam that saw him capture the U.S. and British Open and U.S. and British Amateur.
At age 28, he had won 13 of the era's major championships, including four U.S. Opens and three British Opens.
Getting his golf club off the ground was one of his chief goals; playing before crowds wasn't. But Jones did it for the good of the gate and the club.
Augusta National/Getty ImagesCo-founder Bobby Jones putts on the 8th green at Augusta National during the first "Masters" -- as the tournament would eventually become known. Horton Smith, the winner of that opening event, looked on.
For all its financial woes, the Masters -- it became known as that in 1939 -- was innovative in many ways. It was the first 72-hole event to be scheduled over four days (instead of 36 holes that last day), the first to use bleachers, the first to be covered on nationwide radio, the first to rope fairways for gallery control.
And yet, it began so modestly. As David Owen wrote in "The Making of the Masters," Jones wished the field to be kept small so that members could play the course in the mornings, with tournament tee times scheduled for the afternoon. (The idea was later dropped).
Tickets were $2.20, with a series ticket for the week going for $5.50. (Today, there is no daily sale of tickets, with a tournament badge costing $200 and available only to "patrons" who buy them every year; practice round tickets are sold via lottery.)
To try to get publicity, the club hired sports writer Grantland Rice, who helped persuade many of his brethren covering spring training in Florida to stop off on their way back north and cover Jones' tournament in Augusta.
"It was genius because that's exactly what happened," Matthew said. "It was Bob's party, a who's-who that was invited. It was on the world's wonder inland golf course that was designed in part by Bob Jones. They created a sense of excitement."
Covering Jones' "comeback" was a big part of the story. There was much curiosity as to the state of his game. Many expected him to win the tournament, which was unrealistic given that Jones was more or less a recreational golfer by then.
Jones opened with a 76 and never contended, eventually settling for 13th place, his best finish in 12 appearances in the tournament. In 46 rounds in the event, Jones never broke par.
"That, together with the pressure of being the host of the tournament, sort of brought back to him all of the reasons why he quit," Matthew said. "I don't think he wanted to put the heat on himself to win his own tournament. He wanted to make a good show, but also was very interested in everybody else."
But much as fans today love to see Jack Nicklaus and Arnold Palmer, Jones found that spectators flocked to him despite his game falling short of his standards.
In the end, it was Horton Smith -- who would win the tournament again in 1936 -- prevailing with a birdie at the 17th hole to edge Craig Wood by a stroke.
That birdie came at what is now the par-5 eighth because the course's nines were reversed at the time -- meaning what is now known as Amen Corner was the second, third and fourth holes. A year later, the nines were changed to their current routing.
Smith collected $1,500 from a $5,000 purse that paid just 12 places -- a tie for 11th meant $100 for Mortie Dutra and Al Watrous. However, according to Owen's book, the tournament still lost money. Roberts had to "pass the hat" among members to be able to pay the purse.
Yet the tournament was a success because it produced its original intended goal -- new memberships. The infusion of cash for initiation fees and dues helped the club bridge an important early hurdle, even if financial concerns would be prevalent for years.
Roberts was a stickler for covering every detail, and because it was clear to him that Augusta National would have to attract spectators, customer service became the highest priority. He made it his mission to meet the needs of the "patrons" -- a mantra that remains -- although it took years for the tournament to gain the kind of traction that we take for granted today.
In fact, it was around the time that Ball played in his second and final Masters that the tournament began to flirt with popularity. It was 1957, a year before Palmer would win the first of his four green jackets. (The 23 years between Masters appearances for Ball remains a record.)
Ball, a lifelong club pro, missed the cut that year and has never been back. In his career, he qualified for 20 U.S. Opens and first played in the British Open at Royal Lytham in 1926 as a 15-year-old. He also played in 18 PGA Championships.
Among Ball's reasons for not returning is something that speaks to how far the tournament has come: "I can watch better on TV," he said. "The gallery is too big, and I'm too small."
Bob Harig covers golf for ESPN.com. He can be reached at BobHarig@gmail.com.