The images from golf’s most illustrious tournament are easily recognizable by golf fans of all ages.
My favorite ones: Tiger Woods’ chip-in from the edge of the 16th green in 2005, Larry Mize’s chip-in, which improbably rolled in the cup from 140 feet in the second playoffs hole to win the 1987 Masters and Jack Nicklaus willing his birdie putt into the hole on the 17th green in his unlikely win in 1986. (This year is actually the 25th anniversary of Nicklaus’ sixth green jacket)
Last year, Phil Mickelson clinched one of the greatest moments in Masters history — as he had courage to go for the green on the 13th hole from the pine straw 209 yards away.
Who knows what kind of memorable events might happen this year.
It’s now Tuesday, which means one day remains until the infamous par-3 competition (you have to love the kids caddying for their dads — imagine having your dad play on Tour?!), then on Thursday, the “tradition unlike any other” begins.
For those like me, the unlucky group of people who haven’t been to Augusta National, ranked as the No. 1 golf course in America once again by Golf Digest, we’ll be hopeful to watch a great finish.
I’ve been playing this year’s Tiger Woods video game non-stop since I bought it last week. It’s the first year Augusta has appeared in the game — I’ve played about 10 rounds (all under par, mind you…talk about unrealistic) at one of the most exclusive golf courses in the world.
Technology is really incredible.
But in all honesty, the actual Masters tournament, not my virtual rounds, could play out to be one of the most interesting majors.
This year’s field of participants features about 30 golfers who have a tremendous chance to win. There’s really nobody, aside from maybe Phil Mickelson, who stands out as a clear favorite.
Woods can never be counted out at this course — he won by 12 strokes in 1997 as a 21-year-old. At this point in his career, he’s a 35-year-old struggling to find consistency in his swing and his social life, but he did finish fourth last year when a lot of people didn’t expect him to even compete.
There’s a bunch of European players who expect to contend for their first green jacket, and they’re all very viable candidates — Lee Westwood, Paul Casey, Rory McIlroy, Justin Rose, Graeme McDowell and Martin Kaymer — I can see them all winning this weekend.
Then, there’s the youthful group of U.S. golfers — Nick Watney, Dustin Johnson, Hunter Mahan, Anthony Kim and Jeff Overton — who all could contend. Watney’s my sleeper pick to win it. He’s playing as well as anybody in the world.
If last year’s Ryder Cup was any indication, the parity in golf on both European and American soil is extraordinarily high.
With such a talented field, lets hope it produces some unforgettable moments on the most hallowed ground in golf.