Thursday, April 11, 2013
Cue the Schmaltzy Music, It's Masters Time
Hello, Friends (as Jim Nantz would say), it is time once again for The Masters.
Before commenting on this year's event, allow me to comment on what I saw while watching the telecast of the traditional Par 3 event, held every Wednesday at Augusta National before the tournament tees off on Thursday. All players and all past Champions are invited to play in the Par 3 event, and it is usually just a big old laugh fest, fun for fans, er, excuse me, Patrons, and players alike. In may respects, it is the equivalent of a baseball Old Timers game, and much of the ESPN attention is focused on these said old timers, most specifically the threesome of Arnold Palmer, Jack Nicklaus, and Gary Player. No one needs to be told of the greatness of this trio. The reverence with which all golfers, from the best of the current touring pros right down to the weekend hacker, hold these three guys is understandable and unquestionably deserved. I myself stand second to no one in my respect and admiration for these guys.
That said, I don't like watching these three guys playing now for the same reason that I don't like watching baseball old timers games. Palmer is 82, Player is 77, and Nicklaus is 72, and they looked every bit of those years watching them play yesterday. If you were behind this threesome on a Saturday morning at your local muni and didn't know who they were, you'd be bitching to the marshals to tell those old guys to speed it up or get off the course. It was almost painful to watch, like watching Willie Mays with the Mets.
I have read for many, many years that Jack Nicklaus has long said that he would never allow himself to become a "ceremonial golfer", and I am betting that he hates going out there year after year and playing in the Masters Par 3. I suppose that when Augusta calls, you do what they ask because you feel you owe it to them and to the game, but,from what I've read about Nicklaus, I am guessing that he would have rather been in his office in Palm Beach than on that par 3 course yesterday.
Hey, it's great when the Pirates bring Maz out to throw out the occasional first pitch, but I wouldn't want to see him try to go nine innings and try to hit off of Justin Verlander in 2013. Same with these guys. It's great to have Arnie, Jack, and Gary hit those "first drives" on Thursday morning, but they should be allowed to actually play golf on their own time these days.
Now, as for the Tournament itself, how can you not pick Tiger Woods to win? That's my pick. Now settle back, put on your green jacket, smell the magnolias, have a pimento cheese sandwich, and enjoy A Tradition Like No Other.