Wednesday, June 15, 2011
The Beauty of a Major Championship
I must admit something; there are few things in life I love more than the Masters. Like a lot of golf fans, it is the best week of the year for me, seven days of tradition, goosebumps and a color green that someone only pops when shown from those rolling Augusta National fairways and greens.
The Masters is a lot like the first two rounds of the NCAA Tournament; you're so excited you can barely sleep before it kicks off, and when it finally wraps up, the rest of the games just don't carry the same excitement. I feel like the Masters is like waiting your whole life to sleep with that one special lady, and then deciding 45 minutes before your wedding to knock it out in the coat closet while the guests are still arriving. It's over, you still have so much more to look forward to, but the best part can never be revisited.
When the Masters ends, I get a little down. It takes a couple of weeks to think about golf the way you think about it those first three months of the season, but it eventually gets there. You have some random golf drugs to keep your feigning; the Players, the Memorial and even Quail Hollow. You enjoy the tradition behind the Colonial and Byron Nelson and for some reason the St. Jude is always more interesting than it should be.
But right around this time, with the second major of the year set to kick off in mere hours, those same feelings start kicking in. It's not as traditional (I wasn't alive to see Arnold Palmer drive the first hole at Cherry Hills in 1960 and have just heard (from the man himself) about that 63 at Oakmont in '73), but it does make golf interesting again.
And for some reason, this tournament feels different. In a good way. I wrote earlier this week about what we should feel about a major without that Tiger Woods character, because like it or not, he has changed the way we look at majors (remember when winning two was a huge deal? Now if you don't win two in one season people scoff it off like you're Steve Jones). Tiger is major championship golf, and without him, the golf tournament is completely wide open. And that's a good thing. A very good thing.
Maybe some people aren't going to care as much because the Swooshed one isn't stalking over putts, but it gives this tournament a feel much like my initial analogy did at this year's March Madness; nobody had any f-ing idea who was going to win, and that was the beauty of it.
I love the majors. They're as exciting a sporting event, and for one time a year, the tour players feel what we feel. They're beaten up, they're embarrassed, and one lucky guy gets to walk away a champion even if it felt like he'd been 12 rounds with Pacquiao.
Tiger, we'll miss ya, but it isn't going to ruin our week. Now which Cinderella is ready to shock the world?