For golf fans and casual sports fans tuning into the Masters Tournament, the massive leaderboards around Augusta National Golf Club are impossible to miss. That’s by design. They’re located at strategic viewing points on the course to let patrons and players know exactly where all the action stands.
However, if you’re not an avid golf fan or someone who follows golf closely, you may not understand what all the red and black numbers mean next to each player’s name on the Masters leaderboard. Let us explain it for you.
What do the red and black numbers mean next to a player’s name on the Masters leaderboard?
At Augusta National, the Masters (and Augusta National Women’s Amateur) leaderboard utilizes what’s called the over-under method of displaying scoring. That means they a player’s starting score relative to par to the left of their name. Then, they show how a player progresses through their round by showing their cumulative tournament score relative to par on each successive hole.
For example, if Player A started their round at 2-under total, that would be the first number to the left of their name. If they made a birdie on the first hole, then the number next to their name under the 1 column would be a red 3. (Red numbers are used because it’s a way to distinguish players that are under par compared to those that are over par, for which black numbers are used.) A player’s cumulative score to par is placed subsequently after each hole under the column for that hole, giving a picture of gained and lost shots against par throughout the day.
CBS Sports producer Frank Chirkinian came up with the idea of showing golfers’ scores on TV against par so it was easier for fans to understand scoring and compare players that were through different portions of their rounds. The Masters scoreboard — which is used at other events and major championships, like the US Open and PGA Championship — set the standard for helping golf fans understand where a field stands.