Sunday, April 13, 2008

The Masters

Golf fascinates me, because I cannot play the game consistently. However, I also cannot watch it on television for very long. Except for the Masters. I look forward to the tournament every year, and watch every minute of it that I can. I think it is because there is, on this course, the potential for so much drama. The layout is stunningly beautiful, the holes so unforgiving of mistakes, and the greens so treacherous, that you never know what is going to happen. Yet, if you play well, you can conquer the cource. I remember watching Greg Norman futilely attempting to keep his ball in the green on 15 (I think), watching two straight pitches spin back off the green, along with his chances of winning this tournament. I remember watching Tiger Woods so dominate the course that they had to redesign it before the next year.

This year, it was a pleasure watching Trevor Immelman hold up under the pressure of knowing that Tiger Woods, while not playing very well, was still managing not to give up strokes like everyone else. Now I love watching Tiger win, don't get me wrong; but watching Immelman make the shot, even after dropping one in the water on 16, not caving when you could see the tension in his shoulders; that was great drama. And it proved that Augusta National is not impossible - he won, not because he got lucky, but because he played solidly. He lead the field in driving accuracy and putting. If you don't make mistakes, Augusta doesn't punish you. That's a better deal than you get in life.

Even if you never watch golf, you should watch the Masters. If you don't know the game, watch with someone who does. Then, after watching Saturday, go to a driving range and hit a few balls, then putt on the practice surface so that you understand just how difficult the game really is. Then sit back on Sunday and watch as everyone struggle not to make a mistake under the pressure of knowing that every mistake will be magnified as you strive for the dream of everyone who has ever picked up a golf club - the green jacket of a Master's winner.

Not that he'll ever see it, but congratulation Trevor. You deserve it, and you were a pleasure to watch.

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