The Masters: A Tradition Unlike Any Other

Golf’s greatest spectacle reinvigorates golfers worldwide

The Masters

Image courtesy of masters.com

Jim Nantz’s CBS-pitch line of The Masters could not be truer. Augusta National, where the Masters is played, is not just another golf course. It is not just another major championship. 

It is golf’s version of football’s Super Bowl or baseball’s Opening Day, all wrapped into one event. For many of us growing up in the Northeast, the Masters, which is always held the first full week of April, signals the real start of spring. Growing up, the beginning of spring signified that we were ready to play some golf, and what better way to start than the first major tournament on the PGA Tour? One filled with tradition, serene beauty and the most talented golfing field the world has ever seen.

The Club: Truly a Tradition

Augusta National Golf Club is the definition of tradition, which has caused some major criticism nationally. In order to be a member, you must be invited. And prior to 1990, you had to be a white male. Times have changed of course, as an African-American was invited in 1991. As recent as 2012, no women were invited for membership. Condoleezza Rice and Darla Moore broke down that barrier by accepting membership in August of 2012.

Outside of the justified controversy surrounding membership, Augusta National is righteously an incredible golf course. It’s a place where every golfer would love to play someday. Or, even just be able to get through the gates and see the course in person. Good luck, though, as tickets for the Masters are notoriously difficult to get.

Augusta constantly draws parallels from your average hacker to that of their own country club, “this place reminds me of Augusta.” But, no, Augusta National Golf Club is different. Very different.

For one, your local country club probably does not spend an estimated $80,000-$100,0001 on each golf hole. Your local country club isn’t closed seven months out of the year, especially in the summer. Your local country club probably does not have prices that are still stuck in the 1980’s. $3 dollars for a beer, $3 for a sandwich. These are what I call Augusta National “fantasy” facts.

So, when you are watching the Masters this upcoming week as you get hyped up about the 2014 golf season and all it has to offer, soak in the magnificence and extraordinary individuality of Augusta National Golf Club. It’s truly a tradition unlike any other.

The Tournament: Golf’s Great Event

As we near yet another Masters tournament, let’s take the time to pick out some of the greatest moments in recent Masters history.

These are my personal Top 5 moments (in my lifetime):

·        Victorious, at once!

At 33, Phil Mickelson was still major-less. Some began to question whether he would ever be able to seal the deal. Finally, in 2004, he did. And, it was awesome.

·       The Tiger Slam

           

After winning three straight Majors the previous year, Woods completed the “Tiger Slam” with his victory at Augusta in 2001.  An unbelievable feat, the only ones to accomplish the Grand Slam were Jack Nicklaus, Gary Player, and Ben Hogan.  Not bad company, Tiger, not bad.

·        All Hail Lefty

           

Phil ended up winning his third green jacket in 2010.  One of the most memorable shots occurred on the 13th hole, he pulled of a heroic shot from the trees.  Instead of chipping out and trying to get up and down from the fairway on his third shot, he decided to roll the dice (sound Mickelson-ish?) and it certainly paid off.

·        Oh, Bubba!

In 2012, Bubba Watson’s amazing banana ball shot around the trees in a playoff ultimately landed his first and only major to date.  It was a 40-yard draw, to be precise, with a gap wedge from 163 yards!  Truly an incredible shot, certainly one of (if not the most) iconic shot in Masters history.

·        The Chip

After being faced with a tough lie, Tiger Woods needed an up and down. He didn’t just do that.He did more – much more. Ultimately, he carried this energy to the finish line, winning his fourth green jacket. I love the commentary on this video, too.2

Woods Celebrating

Image courtesy of abbeville.com

What moments can we expect this year? Any iconic ones? As fans, we can only hope so. We are headed for another packed field. Some names to look out for are a few of the usual suspects: Phil Mickelson, Rory McIlroy, Dustin Johnson, Jason Day, Sergio Garcia3, Adam Scott and Bubba Watson. A long shot to keep an eye on is Harris English, who is a Georgia native. Another young player who I’d also expect to play well is Jordan Spieth, one of golf’s most consistent young players.

Of course, Tiger Woods will be absent from Augusta National this year. Tiger ended up making the list above not once, but twice.  Should it be a surprise? He’s easily the greatest golfer of my generation, and arguably ever. The toughest news to hear for most golf fans is he will not be able to play in this year’s Masters. But, take some advice from Golf Channel columnist Jason Sobel, who said on Tuesday, “Tiger’s absence will hurt Masters ratings and interest level. But if you’re just watching the Masters for Tiger, you’re doing it wrong.” Sobel could not be more right. The Masters is bigger than Tiger, it’s bigger than anyone. It’s all about great golfers, a great golf course, and more importantly, great tradition.

What are your thoughts on the Masters? Have any other favorite moments? We would love to hear from you. Reach out to us on Twitter, Facebook, or drop us a comment below.

About Tyler Michels

Tyler is an NC State alum living in Raleigh, NC. Growing up in Northwest New Jersey, Tyler developed a love for New York sports teams, driving his desire to become a writer. In his free time, Tyler can probably be found on a golf course.

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