by Jeff Skinner
Tiger Woods is nursing a creaky back. Phil Mickelson has a pulled muscle. Bubba Watson is dealing with allergies and Jason Day is on the shelf with a thumb injury. Those four represent eight Masters wins and a perennial contender in Day.
Will Tiger heal in time to play? Will Phil’s muscle spasm subside? Can Day swing with an ailing thumb? Can Bubba sneeze his way through Amen Corner or at least take some Claritin? All questions we won’t have the answers to for a few days but we do have the answer to this question: Why do we love The Masters?
John Hawkins (The Hawk) of The Golf Channel gives us his 10 Reasons why we love The Masters and I have to say all ten are legit. Many of Hawk’s reasons concern the course itself, Augusta National and its guardians, the men of The Green Jackets.
7. Location, location, location. It’s the only men’s major played on the same course every year, leading to a familiarity factor (among contestants, patrons and viewers) that cannot be overstated. Only in tennis and auto/horse racing do the biggest events remain stationary. In those sports, the actual competitive ground doesn’t stage the product to the same effect as Augusta National.
6. Mystique + Beauty = Appeal. Nobody does “less is more” better than the green-jackets. You only get to see the place for one week each year, and because it’s so aesthetically stunning, it assumes a heaven-on-earth type of quality. That same mentality transfers nicely to the operation of the Masters. Decisions are made in secrecy, details can be scarce, and very rarely do members feel obliged to explain the club’s rationale on such matters. The less we all know, the sexier it can actually appear.
Hawk covers all the bases for the unparalleled appeal of The Masters. For me it is the fact that we see the same holes year after year with so much drama played out on the back nine. Pair that with the reduced commercial interruptions (thanks Green Jackets) and it is non-stop excitement on Sunday afternoon. With champions like Palmer, Nicklaus, Watson, Woods and Mickelson The Masters appeal is undeniable and its place in history legendary. The truth is there are infinite reasons why we love The Masters but Hawkins has pegged the top ten fairly well.