by Jeff Skinner
It is days like today that makes golf fans stay in love with The Masters. You will be hard pressed to find a round of golf as exciting as Saturday’s third round. As the day went on the roars got louder as player after player pulled a little magic out of the mystical air that surrounds Augusta National. Philly Mick, Freddy, Westwood and even Tiger all had magic moments in the third round. It’s a day like today that makes The Masters a truly unique experience.
During the year when asked to rank the majors I’ll always put the US Open at the top of my list. When April rolls around and the boys, old and young, are walking the hills of Augusta I am instantly won over to The Masters once again. It’s an old, over used line but “there is nothing like The Masters.” A few factors make this as special a tournament as there ever was.
The stage for this annual performance is unrivaled in beauty and history. One of the special aspects of this tournament is that it is played on the same extraordinary course each year. So when CBS cuts to a shot of Phil on a tee box chances are you already know where he is without Jim Nantz’s help. When they are coming into the eleventh you know they better not miss left or they’re dead. You know they will take an extra minute to check the wind on twelve and if they don’t birdie thirteen they probably lost a stroke to the field. The familiarity with Augusta almost makes it feel like you have walked those hills.
Having the same setting each spring enhances each and every memory we have grown to cherish over the years. Nicklaus and Palmer, Freddy and Phil, Tiger, Player and all the others won their Masters on the same track and so all our memories take place on the same stage. It’s like an annual family reunion at the same house each year. Each year the reverence given to past Masters Champions and the events that take place at Augusta National during Masters Week work to form a bond between the players, the club and the fans. Augusta is so special they even have a special name for the fans there, they are called patrons and that even sounds special.
The atmosphere at Augusta is so different from the other majors. The Augusta National members take great pains to ensure their tournament is different from other majors. The patrons are treated to low prices on everything from pimento and cheese sandwiches to custom logo golf shirts. You see, the members at Augusta aren’t really concerned with making more and more money off their badge holders each year. They are concerned that their tournament showcases the best players in the world on the most beautiful course in the world.
When all the elements come together like they did today… well is just doesn’t get any better. Saturday was a great day at Augusta National. Now the stage is set for another one on Sunday. Knowing that something always special happens at The Masters on Sunday it should be a great show.