As Jim Nantz would say, "Hello, Friends", and here are some thoughts from The Grandstand on the 2017 Masters.....
- It is amazing how, more often than not, The Masters is able to produce tremendous sporting drama on a regular basis. In 2017, the Toon-a-mint evolved into a final round shootout between Justin Rose and Sergio Garcia, and it was epic to be sure.
- It did come down to a two man battle in large part because Americans Jordan Spieth and Rickie Fowler, playing in the next to last pairing, managed to totally soil the bed linens as they played terribly (a combined +7 on the day) and never challenged the final Rose-Garcia pairing.
- Spieth took himself completely out of contention early, going +3 on the front, and, just to make the cheese more binding, when he dunked another one into Rae's Creek on the Par 3 twelfth hole, the one that did him in last year. Despite winning the Masters at the age of 21 in 2015, there now have to be a lot of demons in his head concerning Augusta National. He is young and very talented, but if you made the case that he will never win another Masters, I don't think that I would argue against the point.
- When it became apparent that the winner would come from the final group, I began to put my rooting interests behind Justin Rose, as I've never been a big fan of Garcia's. Still, with the way both played all day yesterday, you knew that you were going to be happy for whichever guy won, and feel really bad for whichever guy came in second.
- As they came to the tee on the 72nd hole, my comment to Marilyn was that "I hope one guys wins it with a birdie, as opposed to one guy losing it by making a bogie." Rose said pretty much the same thing after he bogied the playoff hole when he said that he was glad Sergio made his putt for a birdie, because then he'd have really felt bad if his bogie had cost him the Masters.
- Great sportsmanship by both Garcia and Rose throughout the day.
And then there was the CBS telecast....
- We all know that the Green Jackets control the media that covers The Masters in a way that that not even the Kremlin controlled Pravda back in the day, but, honestly now, could Jim Nantz get any more reverential and obsequious? He tops himself every year. I honestly think he was about to begin to weep when he opened the Green Jacket ceremony in Butler Cabin last night.
- CBS came on the air at 2:00 yesterday, and by about 2:20 I was already sick and tired of the "Can Sergio win on Seve's 60th birthday?" storyline. It made Joe Buck's bromance with Kyle Schwarber during last year's World Series pale by comparison.
- On the plus side, the camera work and coverage was excellent. Is there sport more suited for High Def television than golf, and is there place more suited for it than Augusta National? OMG, I'm staring to sound like Jim Nantz. Somebody stop me.
- I hope you all got to watch the one hour special that preceded the telecast about Arnold Palmer and his lifelong relationship with the Masters and Augusta National and that included Arnie's final recorded interview, one that Nantz conducted in the Butler Cabin during the 2016 Masters. It was terrific show.
We close with a final salute to the 2017 Champion. He certainly earned it.