|#12 - Golden Bell|
The Masters is unique because of many traditions not held in any other tournament, including majors. It is my favorite tournament to watch, and believe it or not, I have many memories of shots that I have seen over the years, and even before that I had the pleasure of visiting Augusta National during the 2014 Masters with several of our members, I already knew every hole by memory just by watching the telecast every Masters since 1972 (at the time, they only showed the last 6 holes, starting sometime in the nineties or late eighties, they starting showing all the holes).
|This is the view Phil Mickelson had in 2010 when he hit|
a 6 iron to 7 feet for an easy birdie.
For instance, I can't forget the best finish ever for a winner, when Jack Nicklaus shot 33... in the last 10 holes in 1986 to win by one over Greg Norman and Tom Kite. He birdied #9, and then shot 30 on the back nine with a bogey on #12.... There were so many wonderful shots that day, his second to #15 where he made eagle, and his tee shot on #16 where he almost made a hole in one making the gallery go crazy, and of course, the "yes sir!" (Vern Lindquiist) after jack's putt on #17 to take the lead. I litteraly had tears in my eyes!
|Jack Nicklaus, Gary Player & Arnold Palmer walking to|
the first green of the Par-3 Tournament in 2014. It would
be the last time "The Big 3" ever played together.
Or Phil Mickelson's 6 iron shot from the rough, between the trees on #13 in 2010 to 5 feet on his way to winning (the day before he made eagle on 13 and 14 and lipped out eagle on 15!)
Or last year, Sergio saving par on #13 from "jail" and winning by one.
Or Tiger's chip in on #16 while playing with Chris DiMarco..
|Your kids can caddie for you in the Par-3 Tournament|
(Phil here sporting those green shoes and belt
that Kuchar made fun of!
So many moments!
But the thing that attracts me the most are the traditions that NO OTHER TOURNAMENT HAS! The Champions dinner; Each hole is named after a flower that adorns the fairway or around the green; The "Drive, Chip & Putt"; the Par-3 Tournament (until 2014, the year I went, the Par-3 Tournament's last pairing was Arnold Palmer, Jack Nicklaus and Gary Player); the "water skipping" contest on #16 among the players during the practice rounds; the limited number of tickets sold; the affordable food for spectators; the annual invitation to all past champions to play in the tournament and the invitation to play to those who qualify; the rules to get invited; the amateurs who always get invited (on the first round, the U.S. Amateur Champion always plays with the defending Masters Champion); the "Crow's Nest" where all amateurs stay during the Masters; the secrecy of the purse until it is paid; the courtesy to PGA Professionals who can get in every day during The Masters at no cost (that is how I got in in 2014); And, let's not forget that The Masters
|Water color picture of last year's|
Champion, Sergio Garcia while
practicing on #9.
In addition, as the first major of the year, and whoever wins it, not only gets to come back forever, but also becomes an honorary member, and the only one who can pursue the "season's grand-slam" (no one has ever done it in the same calendar year, though Tiger, won the last three majors of 2000 and the 2001 Masters to be the only player ever to hold all four majors in a row). Also, there is a "Champions" Locker Room and a locker room for everyone else.
Previously, Ben Hogan won The Masters, the U.S. Open and The Open (British Open) in 1953 but did not compete in the PGA Championship because his return from Britain conflicted with the date of the PGA Championship, and perhaps also because you had to pay 36 holes a day, and Ben Hogan's legs were not as strong after his 1949 accident.
|Jordan Spieth teeing off on #1 on Par-3 |
Tournament. Won the Par-3 in 2014, won
the Masters in 2015.
And then, there is Phil, who had someone make him a pair of green alligator golf shoes with a matching belt, golf bag and wallet. When he came one day to the practice area on Wednesday last year, Matt Kuchar saw him and said, "Wow, Phil! Look at that outfit. What gave you the idea?" Phil answered, "You have to win three green jackets to be able to wear an outfit like this"... Kooch saw him, straight in the eye and said, "I see. I hope I only win two!"
So, let's enjoy Masters week. Pick your player....
Now, back to Elk City... On Saturday morning (April 7), we will have a "Masters" Tournament for members. You will pick 2 players from those who made the cut and add your net score to their Sunday round and see who wins, The winner of each flight (we will have 2 or 3 flights, will get a "Masters Annual", a beautiful book with this year's Masters players, winners, and stories (it usually comes out in September).
My pick? Phil Mickelson and Jordan Spieth.
Below, "The Big-3" tee off at the 2014 Par-3 Tournament
|The King... 4 Time Master Champion|
1958, 1060, 1962, 1964
7 Total Majors
|Jack Nicklaus... 6 Time Master Champion|
1963, 1966, 1967, 1972, 1975, 1986
18 Total Majors
|Gary Player. 3 Time Masters Champion|
1961, 1974, 1978
Nine Total Majors