Thursday, April 9, 2009

A Player's Dream

Augusta, Georgia

I saw history today. I saw a 73-year old shoot 78 at Augusta National in the Masters. I saw Gary Player make his first birdie in his last Masters. It gave me the shivers. I know, it doesn't take much for me to have the hair on my arms stand up but this was something special. Sporting his Masters green instead of the traditional all black, Player stiffed a wedge from 75 yards to six feet on number two and then proceeded to roll in a down hill curler. It was fitting for a guy playing in his last Masters. Gary Player is playing in his 52nd Masters, hard for anyone to believe. He wasn't the only story today, former Masters champion Sandy Lyle can still flat out move it. The 51-year old bombed drives and showed us a sleek short game on his way to a ho-hum even par 72. We also can't forget about the big story of this year's Masters. Greg Norman fired a two under par 70 today, after earning a trip to Augusta as of result of his impressive performance in last year's British Open. It was shades of the 90's. " I've always been connected to the gallery", he said. "I played my way back into the golf tourney".

I will hit a milestone this month when I turn 50. This trip was a great prelude. I haven't played in 52 Masters. I don't bomb drives. I'm not connected to the gallery. This week I got a good glimpse of what heaven is like, and I think I like it.

Wednesday, April 8, 2009

Tuesday at Augusta

The azaleas are in full bloom. Amen Corner is as pretty as it's ever been. This is Augusta National. A lot of people don't know this, but Augusta, Georgia is the second biggest city in the state. Some of the biggest names in golf are here for another edition of the Masters. I am normally planted on my couch for this weekend tradition, but not this week. Today's practice round enabled me to see some of the game's best, including Fred Couples, Greg Norman, Adam Scott, and Nick Whatney. Big surprise that I would follow Freddy but I wanted to see his mindset after taking the gas last week in Houston. Couples and Norman packed it in after four holes, I don't blame them. It was a cool, windy day, not typical this time of year. Freddy was doing his normal stretching trying to loosen things up, including his ailing back. Vijay was on the range, Boo was working the crowd, and I was enjoying a beer for only $2.75. I knew there was something special about this place.

Monday, April 6, 2009

Day One

Augusta, GA.

It started off with a bang. Electrical problem on our flight out of Pasco. We missed our connection flight out of Salt Lake but managed to find our way to Atlanta just after five o'clock eastern time. We arrived in Aiken just before the national championship game...b-o-r-i-n-g. I have one thing to say, it is a much different world in the deep south. Practice round tomorrow and golf on Wednesday at the legendary Palmetto Golf Club. We ran into a bunch of players today but because of contractual obligations I'm not able to share what happened. More tomorrow.

Sunday, April 5, 2009

A Special Place

As a tiny little 11-year old I had dreams of winning this tournament some day. They say dreams do come true. We all know this one won't. But for me, heading to The Masters in Augusta, Georgia on Monday will be like a dream come true. I have been watching this tournament religiously since 1970, but it will change this year when I have the distinct pleasure of setting foot on the grounds of Augusta for the first time. Magnolia Lane, and Amen Corner, which consists of holes 11, 12, and 13, and one of the most exciting stretches in all of golf. The true meaning of Augusta has nothing to do with golf. It has nothing to do with Tiger chasing down Jack's 18 major wins. It has nothing to do with Freddy starting a new streak of consecutive Masters Tournaments without missing a cut, after missing the cut line in 2008. It has nothing to do with one of the new, younger players picking up their first major win. It has to do with one thing, tradition. The tradition called spring.

Bring it on.