Sunday, April 5, 2015

The Masters - A Tradition Unlike Any Other

"If The Masters offered no money at all, I would be here trying just as hard."
-Ben Hogan

The Masters.  It is a tradition unlike any other.  It is the first major of the season, and played on one of the most respected courses in the game, Augusta National.  It is a dream of every golfer to play at Augusta.  However you do have to be a member to play and members are by invitation only.  Unfortunately, most of us will not have the chance to golf at Augusta and will have to settle for the Google Maps Augusta Pac-Man game instead.  As fun as Augusta Pac-Man may be, it is nothing compared to the honor it would be to golf at Augusta.  There is hope though!  Golf Digest has shared several ways how you can play Augusta without membership.  These include volunteering at The Masters, winning the media lottery, writing a book about Augusta or The Masters (do you think a blog would count?), working at Augusta, and several others.  What Golf Digest doesn't include is connections.  If you have any sort of connection to an Augusta National member, and you can work those connections, you can play by being invited by a member.  All these are legitimate ways to get onto the course, but have about the same probability of actually happening as being invited to be a member, but a golfer can dream!  So, while you dream get to know Augusta by a virtual tour of each hole, just in case your dreams come true, or just so you are fully prepared for The Masters this weekend!

The Masters is a tournament with a rich history.  The Masters started in 1934 and was originally called the Augusta National Invitational, five years later in 1939 it became The Masters.  Horton Smith won the first Masters in 1934 by one stroke, however he did not receive a Green Jacket.  That tradition started with Sam Snead with his win in 1949.  Horton Smith was not only the first to win a Masters, he was also the first two-time champion when he won only two years later in 1936.   The 1956 Masters was the first two be shown on television covered by CBS.  They provided coverage on holes 15 through 18 of the 3rd and 4th rounds.  To find out more history check out this timeline provided by

Find this Info-graphic here
Find this info-graphic here

The Masters is not only rich with history, but also with tradition from the Green Jacket, to the par 3 tourney and the champions dinner.  One of my favorite Masters traditions is the ceremonial first tee shot.  I love watching these great players that helped to make the game and the tournament what it is today.  I love that they are still involved with the game, and I love the history and the legacy that each one of them keeps alive at The Masters.  Arnold Palmer, Gary Player and Jack Nicklaus open the first round by each hitting a drive off the first tee, and this year will be no different.  Palmer is recovering from a dislocated shoulder but that is not going to stop him from keeping this tradition alive.  

"I'm looking forward to being out on that tee even if I fan it."
- The King Arnold Palmer

This years Masters is guaranteed to be as good as any other.  There is a very talented field, and a lot of players determined to get that Green Jacket.  Before the tournament starts Thursday be sure to look at the overlook that includes this weeks stories provided by The PGA Tour.  People have been making predictions on who will win this year's Masters since Adam Scott gave the Green Jacket back to Bubba Watson last year.  As it has gotten closer there are several players in particular that really want that Green Jacket.  
Rory McIlroy Under the Microscope
First we have Rory McIlroy.  He needs this Masters to finish his first Career Grand Slam.  He won the U.S. Open in 2011, The PGA Championship in 2012, and the Open Championship in 2014.  Golf Digest has came up with what they call a bulletproof plan for Rory to win his first Masters.  First he really needs to take advantage of the par 5's as well as numbers 13-18 to go low.  He needs to be able to control his irons and stay away from 3-puts.

Second, there is Ricky Fowler.  He placed in the top 5 of all four majors last season, but didn't win any tournaments.  As I talked about in my last post he has been working with a new swing coach, Butch Harmon, and his game had drastically improved.  Fowler is one of my top picks heading into Masters week.  

Tiger Woods is also making a come back this week after some time off to recover from back pain.  He announced last week that he would be coming back for The Masters.  It will be interesting to see how Tiger does this week.  He has not been on top of his game lately, but during his time off he has also been working with Butch Harmon to improve his game.  Will Tiger make it into the weekend at The Masters, or will he succumb to his injuries again?

So who should you be sure to watch this weekend?  Golf Digest has narrowed it down to 12 players, of these 12 they are certain one will be the winner.  They have chosen the 2012 and 2014 winner Bubba Watson, Jimmy Walker, Jordan Spieth, Dustin Johnson, Jason Day, Adam Scott who was the first Australian to win a Masters in 2013, Rory McIlroy, Louis Oosthuizen, Patrick Reed who made his frist ace this weekend at the Shell Houston Open, Matt Kuchar, Hideki Matsuyama, and Henrick Stenson.  They have also picked Brandt Snedeker, Angel Cabrera, and Phil Mickelson as alternates. 

Golf fans have a slightly different list. asked fans who their favorite to win this years Masters is.  Their top 5 responses are Fred Couples, Rickie Fowler, Jordan Spieth, Bubba Watson, and Rory McIlroy.   

golf blog out of the UK has put together a list of players that might be a little of a long shot, but still have a pretty good chance of getting the Green Jacket this year.  They include Martin Kaymer, Luke Donald, Webb Simpson, and Padraig Harrington. 

As for me, I have three picks.  I would really like to see a win out of Phil Mickelson, Rickie Fowler or Jordan Spieth.  I am always rooting for Phil, and early this weekend he showed us that his short game is as good as ever at the Shell Houston Open.  I am just hoping that he can keep it together into the weekend.  As I have said before, Rickie's Major game last year was as good as you can get without winning.  I fully believe that Fowler has what it takes to get his Green Jacket, if not this year, very soon.  Finally Spieth, he has played very well in the past, and he has good momentum going into this major week.  He tied for second this weekend at the Shell Houston Open after just falling short in a playoff with J.B. Holmes and Johnson Wagner.

Whoever it is that will be taking home the Green Jacket on Sunday, it most likely be someone that listens to Jack Nicklaus' advice.  He advises players to stay in the middle of the green then look for your birdie putt.

Who are your picks to win The Masters?  Let me know in the comments!

No comments:

Post a Comment