The Best Month in Sports, Part 3: The Masters

After a spectacular national title game in the NCAA tourney and baseball storylines beginning to take shape, the best month in sports rolls on with my favorite event of the year, The Masters. As I am every year when this tournament comes around, I am excited to start listening to the talk of azaleas, pine needles, and Magnolia Lane, the 330 yard drive that leads into the host of this first major of the year, Augusta National Golf Club. I’m ready to listen to the talk of the Eisenhower Pine, Hogan Bridge, Rae’s Creek, the Nelson Bridge, the Sarazen Bridge, and of course, the green jacket which will be awarded to the victor of this great event late Sunday evening.
First played in 1934, The Masters has served as a battleground for some of the most legendary tournaments in golf history and a showcase of golf’s greatest players. The early days brought wins from Gene Sarazen, Byron Nelson (2 green jackets), Sam Snead (3 green jackets), and Ben Hogan (2 green jackets). Those names alone would be enough for any tournament, but the Masters moved on to bring wins from Arnold Palmer (4 green jackets), Gary Player (3 green jackets), Tom Watson (2 green jackets), and the immortal Jack Nicklaus (6, yes I said 6 green jackets: still a record). The 80’s started with the first of two green jackets for Seve Ballesteros and ended with the first of three green jackets for Nick Faldo, the last of which came in 1996 after Greg Norman’s historic Sunday collapse. The modern era began the next year in 1997 as the whole world watched Tiger Woods capture the first of his four green jackets in historic fashion. The 2000s saw Phil Mickelson break through and win his elusive first major with a clutch putt on the 18th hole, his first of three green jackets. The greatest players on the game’s greatest stage: quite a list.
And the moments, my goodness, the moments. Palmer in 1960. Jack in 1986. How many times can Greg Norman lose the Masters in disastrous fashion? Phil’s 3-inch vertical in 2004. Tiger’s unbelievable chip on the 16th in 2005. Even last year brought a wonderful moment when Bubba Watson hit a “how the hell did he get the ball to move like that” shot in the playoff to win his first green jacket. The list goes on and on and on as do the storylines each time The Masters comes around. And this year will be no different. Can Tiger finally get his 15th major after a nearly five year drought? Is Rory ready to slip on his first green jacket? Can Lee Westwood ever win the big one? And the list goes on and on.
So sit back and get ready for the best event in sports. 72 holes of golf action that promises to deliver high drama, the roars of the classiest crowd in sports, and more memorable moments that will live in golf history forever. The world’s best players on the world’s best golf course. The Masters is upon us and all I need now is Jim Nantz to get it going: Hello friends…

Upcoming Series: The Best Month in Sports

Starting on Monday, I will be starting a series entitled “The Best Month in Sports”.  Just look at what this month has to offer. We are already being captivated by the madness that is the NCAA tournament.  Early April brings the return of baseball.  Soon after, one of my favorite events of the year occurs at Augusta National in the form of The Masters, quickly followed by the start of the NBA playoffs.  With each segment of this series, I’ll take a closer look at what makes each of these events so enjoyable.

One quick note: For you NHL fanatics, I did not forget about you. The reasons that I did not include the start of the NHL playoffs in this series are these: 1) This year’s playoffs do not fall within the month I’m referring to. But more importantly is 2) I am not going to pretend to attempt to write about a sport that I do not follow all that closely. Believe me, it would be an insult to you.  I can tell you, however, that even though hockey is not my favorite sport, there are few sporting events more exciting or more intense than a Game 7 in the NHL playoffs.

And one small rant.  This month does also not include the NFL.  I am completely aware that we live in a country where the NFL is king and when football season rolls around, I’m sure I will discuss it at length. I love football just as much as the next guy. But for now, I really don’t want to hear about it when there isn’t a game that matters for five months. If you want your fix, just turn on ESPN Radio in the morning and listen, believe me.  With so many other stories going on in sports, do I really need to hear a two hour conversation about how The Tuck Rule is finally going away?  The answer to that riddle is no.  We all know that Raider nation is still pissed off so how about paying some attention to something else.

I’ll talk to you all on Monday with “The Best Month in Sports, Part 1: The NCAA Tournament”.