We're just a few short hours from getting our first live golf action from the 2010 Masters...the Par-3 contest. I don't know about you, but I'm almost giddy with anticipation. Five days of golf heaven for me - the beauty, the tradition, the drama, and the reverence for the game.
Once again, though, life is getting in the way of my happy place. If you remember last year, I had my refrigerator catastrophe elbowing into my Masters time. I was not happy! This year, it's a curling event on Saturday that requires more attention than I had hoped to give. But I promise you, I will be on my sofa on Sunday afternoon for arguably the best 5 hours of golf of the year.
I've had mixed feelings about Tiger choosing to come back for the Masters. I wasn't thrilled with the idea of the tournament being overshadowed by all of the hoop-la. But after watching Tiger's press conference on Monday I hope maybe we've all turned the corner from all of the drama and can finally get back to focusing on golf.
For what it's worth, I was impressed with Tiger. He answered questions and addressed issues I expected him to dodge, and he seemed like a man willing to accept his faults and try to do better. He didn't answer the one question I have been dying to know...how was he able to keep all of this under wraps for so long...but you know what? It really doesn't matter when we can talk about golf.
If you're not acquainted with it, get on over to www.masters.com. There will be live coverage of the Par-3 event an hour before ESPN starts covering it on Wednesday, and they will also have streaming coverage starting on Thursday. Such a gift for those of us stuck at work. Be sure to read up on their news, too - some great stories!
This year's Masters also brings with it a stacked field that has me baffled as to who will be wearing the Green Jacket come Sunday. If you follow the betting world, Tiger is still the front runner, but after that you've got any one of a dozen guys that are showing us some great golf lately, and maybe 20 more that have the ability to pull off a win here. Fantasy golf has been like brain surgery this week!!
I looked back to see who I predicted would win and I have Phil donning another green jacket. A few weeks ago I might have had more doubts, but I think Mickelson may just be ready to win again.
Nothing would make me happier than to Steve Stricker win (yes, I know, it's a shocker!). Even though I'm still thinking he'll pull off some magic at the PGA, a Masters win is a definite possibility! A guy that has a great track record at Augusta is Retief Goosen...he's knocked on the winner's door at least 4 times and has been denied, so maybe this year he's the one that holds the key. And I imagine there are more than a few fans out there hoping that Fred Couples can transfer his Champions Tour successes to the fairways of Augusta...I know I am.
Seeing Ernie Els win would also be fabulous...he's already exceeded my predictions for the year (Thank You Ernie!), but heck, let's get another win! But my heart is also with Matt Kuchar. He hasn't been to Augusta since 2002, where he missed the cut, but his 1998 T-21 finish as an amateur is what made me a fan, and I've just got this feeling that the Georgia Tech grad is going to make some magic this week (for my nieces, Go Matt!!).
And maybe it's because I'm a girl, but I am completely enamored with the beauty of the course itself. The dogwoods and azaleas (my Dad's favorite plant), the grand pine trees, the sandy white bunkers, and all of the green...it's like someone threw the most vivid palate of paints on my TV screen (and I don't even own a nice TV!). I can only imagine what it must be like to see it all in person.
I am also reminded of the great story of my friend Wayne at his one trip to Augusta...I wrote about it last year. His son, Charlie, sent the story to Golf Digest for their Masters memories section this year, but only 1 sentence made it...and it does not do the story justice. So if you have a minute, go back and read about Wayne's Masters experience. I'm smiling now just thinking about it.
I've got a busy rest of the week ahead, but Sunday afternoon will make it all worth it.
Enjoy the best golf week of the year!!
PS...for the first time in I can't remember how long, I played my first round of golf for the year on Monday, April 5!! I'm guessing the conditions are like Texas in January, but for me, a little slice of heaven. I love hearing tees jingling in my pocket again. So this really IS the best golf week of the year!
Filed under: Spring, Masters, Fred Couples, Augusta, Phil Mickelson, Steve Stricker, TIger Woods, Matt Kuchar, 2010, Ernie Els, Retief Goosen, azaleas