Wednesday, April 6, 2016

A few brief thoughts on That Golf Tournament

I could write today about the UConn women winning their 900th straight national title or something, but only by 31points, so it's not like they're the Yankees and everyone else is Chico's Bail Bonds. More like they're the Yankees and everyone else is, um, I don't know, maybe the Pizza Hut Little League All-Stars from Piscataway, N.J.

But enough about absurd dominance. Let's talk about the polar opposite instead.

Let's talk about the Masters, the Blob's favorite golf tournament, which begins tomorrow in Augusta. According to those who keep track of such things, approximately 50 guys have a shot at winning this week, including, perhaps, some who are currently dead at the present time. What that means is this Masters is shaping up to be even more awesome than it usually is, and certainly more awesome than it was back when Tiger Woods was winning by a dozen strokes every other year or so.

Tiger won't be playing this week, so he likely won't be your winner. But Jason Day, the hottest player in the game right now, could be. So could Charl Schwartzel and Henrik Stenson and Rickie Fowler. So could Brooks Koepka. So could Dustin Johnson. So could Louis Oosthuizen and Adam Scott and Paul Casey and Brandt Snedeker, and also the defending champion, Jordan Spieth.

Spieth won so easily last year it's hard to pick against him. Then again, nobody's talking about Rory McIlroy, so he'll probably win. Or Bubba Watson will because he always plays well here. Or Phil Mickelson will because he's been known to play well here, too.

The Blob?

Well, the Blob has its own Masters favorites. Though not the kind you're thinking of, naturally.

In order, they are:

1. Azaleas.

2. Rae's Creek.

3. Butler Cabin.

4. Rory McIlroy hitting Butler Cabin with his tee shot.

5. The tinkling piano music that accompanies "A tradition unlike any other."

6. Rory McIlroy hitting Butler Cabin with his tee shot while accompanied by tinkling piano music.

7. Amen Corner.

8. Amen Corner on Sunday afternoon, with all the bodies strewn about among the azaleas.

9. Such as Rory McIlroy. Or maybe Greg Norman.

10. And speaking of Greg Norman ... Jack Nicklaus.

And, no, not because Jack Nicklaus, at the decrepit age of 46, came out of nowhere to win his sixth green jacket in 1986 after Norman blew a third-round lead. That was nothing. Much better was what happened to him yesterday.

What happened was the most fabled golfer in American history, a man who had won, remember, six green jackets, drove up to the gate at Augusta National and was asked to show his ID by a security guard who didn't recognize him.

I love this story. I love everything about it. I love it, mainly, because it says everything you need to know about Augusta National, where not even Jack freakin' Nicklaus can get in the gate without showing his ID.

That's because the security guard was probably 20 and really didn't know who he was. Or it was because getting on the premises during Masters week is like getting into the Kremlin.

I prefer the latter explanation. Just because the whole Kremlin thing is what makes the Masters so special; this is the place, remember, that once threatened to throw CBS off the broadcast because one of its commentators (I think it was Jack Whitaker, but don't hold me to it) referred to the gallery as a "mob." And not even in a nasty way, either.

I love that. I love the sheer mindless bullheadedness of it, the comically inflated sense of its own importance. I love that it's A Tradition Unlike Any Other, even though there are creeks and green grass and azaleas in other places, too.

Of course, those other places aren't the Masters. So there.

So love it.

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