O.K., I’ll admit it----I’m a Masters junkie. My own personal passion for the game of golf transcends to this single tournament every year---it’s the superbowl of professional golf---and I rarely miss a single shot, from the Wednesday final practice round to the final pairing walking up to the eighteenth green on Sunday. Just ask any man still walking on these hallowed grounds on Sunday, (or a few who missed the cut), which major tournament they covet more than any other, and most of them will tell you it’s the Masters. And, they all dream of slipping on that Green Jacket while joining the immortality of the title, and the heroes of the game that walked the same grounds, hit the historical shots, and inhaled the echoing roars of the back nine at Augusta, as they claimed their title as Masters’ Champions.
From Horton Smith, Gene Sarazen, Byron Nelson in the 30‘s, to the battles of Jimmy Demaret, Sam Snead, and Ben Hogan in the late 40’s and early 50’s, then “the big three” who dominated the game, (and Augusta), for the next two decades, Arnold Palmer, Jack Nicklaus, and Gary Player, then the 80’s march of Tom Watson, and the “foreign invasion” of Seve Ballesteros, Nick Faldo, and Bernhard Langer, and yes, Ben Crenshaw sneaking in a victory, (and the Golden Bear slipping in one more miraculous victory in ’86 for his unprecedented sixth Green Jacket), then on to the 90’s with José María Olazábal, Langer, Faldo, and Crenshaw “winning again”, and then a young upstart by the name of Tiger Woods in 1997. From then on, (from 2001 to 2010), it was mostly Woods and Phil Mickelson who owned the majestic grounds of Augusta, winning six out of the nine year span with three apiece, before a young lefty named Bubba Watson sandwiched in a couple of victories between Adam Scott---who would later garner a world #1 ranking.
Yes, these are the immortals who have etched their names into the record books of the Masters, and slipped on the Green Jackets that insures an automatic and lifetime invitation to return to the course Bobby Jones, Clifford Roberts, and Alister MacKenzie founded, built, and designed---The Augusta National Golf Club.
Which is why so many avid golfers---the duffers, the hacks, the accomplished amateurs, and the pros---inordinately covet this tournament. If you love the game, (as I do), you can’t help yourself from embracing the storied history that is The Masters.
Who ever reaches the pinnacle of the Masters this Sunday will become a part of this history, forever leaving their mark and footprints along side of the greatest that ever played the game.
Somewhere, Bobby Jones is smiling.