The Masters is a special tournament. It is the most special one of the year for me. I have had a love affair with watching this tournament ever since I was lucky enough to go to a practice round in 1997.
You may remember that tournament as the one in which Tiger Woods (my favorite player) blew away the field and planted himself in the spotlight. Seeing the course in person that year as a twelve year old with my grandfather was a truly transcendent experience. It was so green and so hilly! Television does not do the place justice, which is saying something due to how beautiful it looks on the screen.
I have been lucky enough to go back multiple times. I went to a Tuesday practice round in 2000 when Vijay Singh won. I went to a Monday practice round for Tiger’s fourth green jacket. My last visit was for the third and fourth rounds in 2007. That was a bitterly cold year where the persistent Zach Johnson prevailed.
Going to the course cannot really be explained. It is one of the few places in the world that exceeds the hype. Walking in that gate gives me goosebumps every time. There is something freeing about not having your cell phone and being able to truly immerse yourself in the experience. My first time I walked the entire course. It is worth it. Subsequent trips have seen me focus more on favorite spots. It is fun to stay in one place and see how multiple players tackle situations.
As a man trying to play the Top 100, I hope to one day get on the actual course at Augusta National. Seeing this verdant beauty every year gives me hope that I will one day walk the holes. I am so close to it in distance and I await the day I can play it. I will probably have a hard time fighting back tears and will most likely be shaking on the first shot.
I hope you are looking forward to the Masters this week. I imagine we will get a wonderful tournament as we always seem to. I’ll be watching with you!