A Damn “Furriner” Wins The Masters
There is one subject about which I consider myself The Ultimate Authority – The Evolution of My Opinions on Sports, Politics, The Human Race, et al. The basis for that evolution is found in 1 Corinthians 13:11 – “When I was a child, I spake as a child, I understood as a child, I thought as a child: but when I became a man, I put away childish things.”
I thought of that yesterday as I watched “Sunday at The Masters”. Over the past 40+ years I have missed very few Sunday at The Masters’ . I recall business travel on some Sundays but I was in a hotel room in time to see the final few holes. In my world there is no such thing as “must see TV” particularly in this age of endless replays. But Sunday at The Masters would be on a short list of “prefer to see if feasible”.
I played golf regularly (3-4 / month) for 25 years then quit cold turkey 14 years ago. I played to a 12 HDCP at the time. “Quitting golf” when I did was a VERY good decision for me based on an understanding of my temperament, personality, priorities and the nature of the game itself. During that period I had a business services contract with the three professional golf tours so I was constantly around the game and its top players of that era. I have been to Augusta four times during Masters Week and recommend it as a bucket list check-off for any sports fan. Augusta National and Mount Rushmore are two Wonders (man-made or natural) that, IMO, totally live up to the highest of expectations.
In golf, unlike almost every other sport, the “venue” plays a major role in the outcome. Football, basketball, tennis and, for the most part baseball are played on very specific dimensions. Playing on “the frozen tundra” of Lambeau Field in December versus a domed stadium “matters” and NASCAR tracks can be peculiar but in golf every course is different. That said…. The Masters is always at Augusta National and every golf fan knows “that back nine” as well as his own course.
Allowing for tweaks here and there to accommodate the evolution of equipment, it is the same course today where I watched Arnie and Jack (the fat version) duel in the early 60s. Over 50+ years various eras of players have come and gone but Rae’s Creek flows on. With the possible exception of Lee Trevino all the “greats” have won a green jacket along with a number of one win wonders.
Even when a whozit wins there is usually high drama involved as he emerges victorious over more “famous” players.
To today’s title – A Damn Furriner Wins The Masters – yes, a “foreigner” won this year – Sergio Garcia from Spain. “Foreigners” have won a lot at Augusta. The first one I recall was Gary Player (South Africa). Player – Palmer – Nicklaus traded back & forth in the 60s. I recall not liking Player because he was “not an American”. Over the years that reasoning applied to Seve Ballisterous, Nick Faldo, Ernie Els, Sandy Lyle, et al including some lumpy guy from Argentina whose name I can’t recall. I’m sure I was not alone in my overt sense of overly caffeinated patriotism when it came to who won The Masters.
It probably goes back to Jesse Owens “defeating Hitler” in The Olympics back in the 1930s and those Olympic battles for ideological supremacy with Russia and East Germany in the 60-70-80s. If their athletes defeat our athletes then somehow their political ideology is superior to ours.
In the case of British golfer Colin Montgomerie it was that he was “lumpy” and had a ruddy complexion and never smiled. Which probably makes more sense than any other reason.
As yesterday evolved, the two young American golfers – Jordan Speith and Ricky Fowler never mounted charges. It came down to England’s Justin Rose or Segio Garcia. “Sergio” has been on Tour for 16-17 years and fans have developed their own like/dislike for him for whatever reasons. Rose is not controversial at all but among the top dozen players in the world. Sergio won in dramatic fashion.
It occurred to me that “where they were from” made no difference to me whatsoever… and had not mattered for quite a few years. I think that is a healthy evolution for me. As regular readers of BLSays well know…. “who wins games” has not mattered to me for some time now other than as a story angle.
I watch sports to see the rare, the unusual, the “never saw that before” take place…. Not to live vicariously thru the exploits of the participants…. Regardless of their nationality.
With “my Cardinals” off to a very uninspiring 2-4 stumble out of the gate, that mature approach might serve me well over the next 156 games.