Why do we care so much about the Masters? There are a bunch of tournaments that are older, and a handful of courses that are just as good, if not better, and they certainly feature a more compelling finish than two nondescript uphill par-4s. Despite the forced goodwill that has come with parading around a bunch of little kids on national TV, the host club is exceedingly unwelcoming 51 weeks a year. The cloying nature of the Masters telecast is off-putting in the extreme, and the obsession with a bunch of dead guys can make the place feel like a 200-acre mausoleum. Yet, despite all that, the Masters still manages to deliver a great show. We care because the players care so much. No event in golf inspires the same passion. For all of us.
1. The Masters. The longest eight months of the year is from the last putt at the PGA Championship till the first putt this Thursday morning.
2. Brittany Lincicome. She’s the Angel Cabrera of the LPGA — an awesome talent when she’s in the mood. And now they both have a pair of major championships.
3. Tiger. He elevated this Masters just by showing up. If you weren’t excited to see him floating around Augusta National, you’re just not that into golf.
4. Jordan Spieth. Well, another W woulda been nice, but the kid has become a week-in-and-week-out force. Can’t wait to watch this fearless putter take on these scariest greens of the year.
5. Gentle Ben. Tuesday’s presser is guaranteed to be tear-filled, kicking off a weeklong Crenshawpalooza. Fare thee well to one of golf’s classiest champions.
1. Playing conditions at the Masters. All this early-week rain means the fire has gone out of Augusta National, robbing us of golf’s greatest test.
2. Johnson Wagner. When you’re about two million in the World Ranking, it hurts to lose a playoff. When it’s a last-gasp chance to play your way into Augusta, well, that’s just brutal.
3. Stacy Lewis. I’m dazzled by her consistency, but she needs to close more deals. Remember, Stacy: second place a set of steak knives, third place you’re fired…
4. Bubba Watson. All the hype is about Rory, Tiger, and Jordan. Does anyone even remember this guy has won two of the last three Masters?!?
5. “Ripple.” Nice commercial. The first time. And maybe the second. Now? I’m starting to pine for “Grand Slam.”