A little over four years ago I took a puck to the jaw and found myself confined to the couch with metal threads running between my teeth, my mouth clamped shut and mind foggy with painkillers. I had been wired together, and I wasn’t going to be doing much for a while. I started writing.
When you first start your own blog, the freedom is overwhelming. Nobody is reading, nobody is editing, and your scope is vast. I chose to write about stand-up comedy, documentaries, and golf, an array of topics bound to attract roughly no one when mashed together potpourri-style. I sprinkled the blog with hockey for flavor (and the interest of some buddies), but I enjoyed nothing like I enjoyed writing about golf.
And lo, Why I Love The Masters was born.
I wrote it on February 23rd, 2009, to nobody, a stream-of-conscious pile of honesty that took me about ten minutes to hack out, and I’ve since linked to it approximately 11,000 times to explain a few of the things that make me love the Masters so much.
The Masters, Augusta National and all its layers aren’t perfect. But neither is the NCAA and March Madness. Neither is the NFL, neither is the NHL, and neither is Major League Baseball. Few things in life are. But for these four days in April, The Masters feels like it.
There’s the music…
And of course, The shots:
Not bad if you’re into watching a guy bend a golf ball 90 degress from 160 yards with a wedge in a playoff to win a life-changing event.
Here it is.
Not sure if you knew this or not, but Phil has also done some amazing things at Augusta:
Fun fact: Phil has finished in the top three in half of his 14 Masters. Not bad, though I guess actually winning three is pretty cool too.
But let’s be clear: Neither Watson’s, nor Mickelson’s shots above hold a candle to Tiger’s on 16 in the thick of the 2005 green jacket chase. Seriously, take the two minutes to get the context for this shot. They’re concerned about the possibility of him getting it anywhere close.
Had there been no hole there, the ball would’ve literally stopped on the piece of grass they removed to make it. Also, that’s the worst high five attempt in the history of high five attempts.
There’s just so much to love.
Why I love the Masters
Because you know the story of this picture.
Because the grass is so green you feel like the contrast on your TV is messed up.
Because you can see the pressure on the players faces.
Because the field is ocean-deep.
Because they prep for months, gearing up their games to play well this one week.
Because Tiger owns it.
That chairman dude’s name is Hootie.
It’s the only tournament even non-golfers care about.
Tigers chip in on 16 was the most exciting golf shot of the modern era.
The name “Amen Corner,” because going into 11 on Sunday, say your prayers.
The green jacket is somehow one of the most awesome, iconic prizes in sports, even though thrift shops would turn it down.
I love that last year’s winner puts the jacket on the new guy.
I love the white guy jump Phil did when he won.
I love that Fred Couples has won it.
I love that the course is so prestigious that playing it is the one and only thing on my bucket list.
The bridge, those pink flowers, the water, the fact that nobody can play the course for a month before the tournament.
56 minutes of actual golf coverage an hour, as opposed to most majors, which is like 5.6 minutes.
I love the pin placement on 16 on Sundays.
I love the corny montages with the slow music that can make you cry if you like golf enough.
The voices of Harry Connick Jr. and Jim Nantz somehow fit perfectly.
I love that every male figure in my life will be talking about it for those 4 days.
I love that it’s accepted to not leave your house on the weekend when it’s on, no guilt involved.
I love how Johnny Miller is morphing into Charles Barkley, completely avoiding any attempt at sugar coating the types of opinions you only expect to hear three whiskeys in.
I love that the players are so nervous coming up 18 you can always tell who’s about to puke on their shoes.
Because they started advertising for it in January.
Because if you win it you’re set on the PGA Tour for the next 5 years.
Because it’s a part of the best month in sports, April. The Masters, NHL Playoffs, NBA Playoffs, the beginning of the baseball season … yes. Sign. Me. Up.
I love that every hole has a name like “Camelia,” “Tea Olive,” and “Pink Dogwood.”
I love the story of Bubba, the only palm tree on the course, and his caddie’s proposal story.
I love this logo:
Because this is what number 12 at Amen Corner looks like:
I love that the tournament has been decided by one shot or a playoff 36 times.
Because it elicits more emotion than The Notebook from generally stoic professionals.
And most of all, today…I love that it’s finally here.