The 2013 Masters Championship in Augusta, Ga. is underway! Halleluiah! I, being a golf fanatic, am So excited about this time of year.
College basketball has completed its epic journey from the beginning of a dream season to the end of March Madness. Baseball season has begun and the NBA is about to begin with their Playoff run. But the journey truly begins for the PGA players and fans alike because the first major tournament starts in Augusta, Ga. – The Masters.
This is the 77th Edition of the Masters Championship and the uniqueness of this major is that it is played at the same location every year – Augusta, Ga. Over 100 players begin their quest for the famed “Green Jacket” that is presented along with the championship trophy on Sunday but it’s reserved for only one.
As this quest begins, there are so many storylines to follow. The one that I’m following is my favorite golfer and my favorite to win it all, Tiger Woods. Tiger has won the Masters four times now, in 1997, 2001, 2002 and 2005. He hit a speed bump of sorts after his personal life took a few ‘bogeys’ with the infidelities that ended his marriage in 2009, endorsements abandoning him thereafter, knee injuries and surgeries that slowed him down and his 3rd swing change, as well caddy change (3rd) and another swing coach change (also 3rd). Through all of this, his #1 PGA golf ranking took a tumble, knocking him all the way down to #51.
He’s won a couple of tournaments here and there, especially Jack Nicklaus’s tournament,
The Memorial and Arnold Palmer’s tournament, Bay Hill Championship, but we’re waiting on him to win another major, which he hasn’t done in 3 years.
But the resilience of this guy is so remarkable. Many, including myself, had counted him out of becoming the golfer of old, but this year alone, he’s won 3-times and we’re just in April. Just when you think he’s done, down and out, finished, he surprises us with another victory. Tiger is a very smart player. With the personal issues and coaching changes, one thing he has always alluded to is that this game “is a process”.
In every news conference, Tiger lets the media and the golf world know that winning takes hard work, diligence, persistence and time. And if any of you play this game, you can relate to them all.
To the tournament:
Tiger is the favorite to win because of the “Big Mo”. He won his last outing, the Bay Hill, two weeks ago and with 3 victories, he’s poised to win #5 at Augusta – major win #15 overall and closing in on Jack Nicklaus’s all time Majors record of 18.
Rory McIlroy has got to be in the equation. He’s a former #1 player with a U.S. Open major under his belt. His youthfulness and tenacious iron play makes him a formidable competitor. A very good driver and putter are a few tools that could put him in the mix for a great Sunday finish.
Phil Mickelson is everyone’s ‘darling’ player. He’s a great golfer as well and has 3 Masters Championships of his own. But Phil has been plagued with health issues and age may be catching up with him. At 46, he’s still a feisty competitor and could very well be there on Sunday but with Phil, he’s got to post good scores and Thursday and Friday make it interesting. If he shoots high scores early, he’s done.
Bubba Watson is last year’s Masters Champion. He has been rather inconsistent since that victory which takes away from him being a favorite, but no one expected Bubba to win last year so never-say-never.
Some of the “young guns” to watch are Keegan Bradley, Dustin Johnson, Justin Rose, who shares Tiger’s swing coach, and Rickie Fowler. Some veterans that may make it interesting are Jim Furyk, Lee Westwood, Graeme McDowell and Ian Poulter. I’d throw in Padraig Harrington who also has a Majors win.
And so it begins. The first Major tournament of the Year. The Masters 2013. Augusta, Ga. Where dreams will become a reality for someone on Sunday evening. Will it be the Favorite or will it be a Newcomer?
Whoever it is, rest assured the ratings will be higher than the expectations of the golfers. And I’ll be one of those adding to the ratings…with refreshments close by.