/Jim Nantz attempting to speak Spanish voice/ Hola Amigos.
The Masters gets underway tomorrow morning featuring the best of the best teeing it up in the first major tournament of the year. And every year, it seems like the tournament shines like a beacon of hope, and makes everyone happy (for the most part).
But why is that? How is it that an exclusive golf tournament played at one of the most exclusive courses in the world can feel inviting, and like we are part of it, even when we watch from home?
Part of it is that for some of us, mainly from the northern states, the tournament is sort of the unofficial start of spring. We’ve been buried in snow since October, and then we flip on CBS and see perfectly manicured grass, flowers in bloom, people walking around in shorts and a t-shirt and it reminds us that yes, warm weather does exist, and it will be visiting us soon.
As dumb as it is, it is partly seeing Jim Nantz appear on your screen and welcome you with the traditional, “Hello friends” greeting. He does it at every tournament, but at The Masters, it feels different.
It’s knowing that for one weekend of the year, you get to watch actual golf and not commercials. That’s right folks, if you can believe it, it’s the one time all year rich people leave money on the table, and we get only 4 minutes of commercials every hour, which means 50-plus minutes of honest-to-goodness golf coverage. So you won’t get stuff like the NFL’s touchdown-commercial-kick off-commercial combo.
It’s the familiarity with the course, and despite the fact that we will never get to play it, knowing almost every shot the golfers need to hit. Watch out for the false front on nine, the challenge of Amen Corner, knowing that 15 is a make-or-break hole, where to hit your tee-shot on 16 so it filters down towards the hole. We know the shots a player has to make on every hole, because every year we see these shots. Yes, there are other courses we’re familiar with like Pebble Beach or St. Andrews, but not to the level that we have with Augusta.
It’s that course is a tough, but more than fair challenge of golf. A round that can easily go off the rails if you miss your spots, but rewards you with birdies if you play with precision. It’s the rare major that allows a player to make a charge on the Back-9, rather than watching someone grind for pars and move up the leaderboard like we see at the US Open.
It’s seeing Jack tee one up on the first hole and letting it rip down the middle, and knowing that we are under way for the golf that weekend. Weirdly, The Masters feels like the start of the REAL golf season. Yes, there are some big tournaments in the months and weeks leading up to Augusta, but The Masters seems like things start to mean more.
Folks, it’s golf time. And I cannot wait to sit down in my chair and watch as much of the golf as is possible this weekend. Enjoy.