by Jeff Skinner
Masters Week is indeed a special time for golfers, all golfers, not just professionals. When the golf season opens up in January most of us are in the middle of winter and playing golf is still a few snowstorms away. When the tour moves to Pebble Beach, through Arizona and into Florida we see that glimmer of hope for the forthcoming season. By the time the azaleas are blooming in Augusta our clubs are in our trunks and our minds are filled with anticipation of our golf season.
Spring signifies the renewal of our lives after the dark and cold of winter and The Masters is not just the start of the major championship season. It is a signal of the regeneration of the hope we all have for our year.
Every major championship has its own particular attraction. The U.S. Open offers us a strong test that humbles even the most skilled players. The Open Championship gives us the long history of the game played along century old links. The PGA Championship pits the best golfers in the world in a fitting end to the major season.
But The Masters combines those qualities and still gives us more. Much of the Masters appeal is embedded on those hallowed holes of Augusta National. Seeing golfers on the same holes year after year makes Augusta as familiar as our home club. It’s the only major that brings back their champions and honors their accomplishments of years gone by. The Champions Dinner, the Par Three Tournament, Honorary Starters, Magnolia Lane, Butler Cabin and the green jacket are all significant elements that make this week so extraordinary.
But still the lure of The Masters goes beyond ceremony. We love the Masters because it lets us hold on to our heroes. It gives us a chance to relive all our memories and watch as our heroes walk the grounds of their triumphs and tragedies with us alongside them.
It doesn’t matter if our golfing heroes are past their prime. Having the opportunity to see past champions play with the idols of today gives us a chance to hang on to those cherished men. “Hope springs eternal” is never more appropriate than during The Masters: hope for the tournament, hope for our season and hope for our heroes and that they will forever have a place in our memories.