The Masters: So Much Tradition, So Much Uncertainty
If I didn’t have a real job, I could spend this entire week blogging about The Masters.
It’s my favorite sporting event of the year, of all sporting events. If you’re an avid golf fan who knows anything about golf history, that’s kind of the way it must be, at least for American golf.
The Masters was initiated by Clifford Roberts and beloved amateur golfer, Bobby Jones, at Augusta National, a new course Jones had built in Augusta, Georgia. The first Masters was played in March 1934, officially billed as “Augusta National Invitational.”
Jones himself came out of retirement to play the tournament, which helped bolster awareness of the new tournament that was destined to become the pinnacle of American golf’s four majors.
Over the years, it attracted and helped craft the legends of the best of the best in golf: Ben Hogan, Gene Sarazen, Sam Snead, Byron Nelson, Arnold Palmer, Gary Player, Tiger Woods.
To date, Jack Nicklaus was the record for the most Masters victories: Six. Tiger Woods and Arnold Palmer have four each.
My handicapping for this year’s tournament? Well, I’d say like any major, it’s a pretty wide open field. But, if I were a gambling man, I’d certainly have Rory McIlroy, Phil Mickelson, and Tiger Woods up at the top of my list.
Hunter Mahan, fresh off his Shell Open victory in Houston yesterday, with a putter that is mostly sizzling, would lead the next tier, a group to which I would include Graeme McDowell, Luke Donald, and Angel Cabrera.
I also wouldn’t rule out Jason Day, Jason Dufner, or even South Korean newbie Sang-moon Bae.
But my money’s going to be on that first group. Tiger’s victory at Bay Hill was well-timed, and his laser iron shots were made for Augusta (and let’s not forget Tiger tied for 3rd last year at Augusta). And Rory demonstrated in last summer’s U.S. Open he could move past the psychological barrier of the hole 10 disaster at Augusta and literally run away with a major victory.
So, it’s anybody’s guess, really. And that’s why we golf fans love The Masters so much.
It has so much tradition…and yet so much uncertainty.