Monday, April 10, 2017

There is only one Augusta National

It is actually the one Sunday every year when I would not mind a cool, damp, drizzly day - perfect for congealing on the couch in front of the TV.

Now believe, I have not had some kind of conversion. I still love sunny, hot weather.

But the Masters happens only once a year. It is my favorite sports event, and I can sit in front of the tube entranced by the glory of the Augusta National Golf Club.

So what was I to do yesterday, on one of the first truly glorious Sundays of spring. I held out as long as I could. Raked the front yard. Even chipped a few golf balls in the back yard with my son, who was visiting for the weekend.

The three of us - my wife, myself and my son - even pulled out some lawn chairs, plopped them in the back yard, and soaked up some sun for about an hour

But we all knew what was coming. About 4:30 we headed inside, and I made a beeline for the TV, just in time to catch all the drama that the Back Nine at the Masters seems to deliver every year.

The only thing that could have made it any better? Yes, I still pine for Tiger. Don't ask me why, but it's just different when he is on the leaderboard. Not sure we're ever going to see that again.

But the truth is the star of the Masters is not the players, it's the stage.

There is simply no place on Earth quite like Augusta. It's on my bucket list, which gets longer by the day.

I felt good for Sergio Garcia, who finally won his first major title with a birdie on the first hole of a playoff with Justin Rose. That would be the same Justin Rose who won the U.S. Open a few years back right here in Merion.

Both men had opportunities to sink putts to win - and both missed.

When Rose sailed his tee shot on the playoff hole into the trees on the right, it opened the door for Garcia, who seemed to be on the brink of once again flaming out after trouble earlier in his round.

But Garcia put his tee shot in the fairway, and his approach about 10 feet from the hole. He had two putts to win it after Rose bogeyed the hole. I was glad he sank the birdie putt.

As Rose put it succinctly after the match, he'd rather lose in the playoff by two than just an agonizing single stroke.

Around these parts, we are headed to 80 degrees today, according to the weather folks.

Perfect weather for dreaming about one day standing on that 18th green with a putt for the win.

Well done, Sergio.

And as always, well done, Augusta

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