The Masters Golf Tournament is one of the most unique events on the sports calendar. It is also an unparalleled experience.
The 2017 Masters Golf Tournament is about to be in full swing, and with it comes an unbridled and unparalleled pageantry and beauty. The golf tournament itself is not only one of the most demanding on the PGA Tour, but also one of the more awe-inspiring. And while the greatest golfers in the world try to tame this beautiful beast, it is the Augusta National Golf Course that is the centerpiece and main actress.
A few years ago, I wrote:
"I am uncomfortable writing this, and therefore, this effort will be shorter than most. Confessionals and personal perspectives are best left to the gossip columns and entertainment sections. The problem is that it is impossible to write what is needed here without sharing a piece of me with it. My love affair with the Augusta National Golf Course began at an early age, and continues today. It signifies something personal and profound, and is pregnant with virtues and values that are timeless…honor, grace, and healing."
It is rare that one reads one’s own words years later, and still feels the exact same feelings and has the exact same thoughts. The Masters has this kind of effect. The Augusta National has this kind of effect on grown men and women across the globe.
There is a bifurcated, yet meaningful, meaning to these four days in April. There is a duality to it’s determined essence. Both the tournament and the golf course are special, but for different reasons. Yet, they are intertwined.
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The Augusta National is the cathedral of golf. Some may point to St. Andrews. Others could point to Pebble Beach. Still others may have a different choice. But it is Augusta. I’ve been to those other places. It’s not even close.
When you walk through those storied gates, the golf course breathes on you and into you. The site and smell of pristine sweetness surrounds. It is majestic, but still feels like home under the Georgia pines. It is a piece of land that is bestowed with honor, grace, fidelity, and respect. And upon arrival, that land exacts that from her patrons. If you ever visit, you will see folks offer respect and courtesy to each other the way it should be daily.
The tournament is a nasty reflection of what that beauty looks like when she bares her teeth. With a beautiful bucolic surrounding, these greatest golfers in the world are humbled over four grueling days. Struts and glides turn to limps and strolls. The best of us become bowed. Golfers turn into guests of her majesty. With roiling greens and furrowed fairways, the greatest golfers in the world shake their heads in dismay. All except one.
More will be written here in the coming days about The Masters and its results. But something must be said of the experience of the thing. It is a tradition unlike any other. But it is more than that.
I remember standing on the cliffs of Dover. I’ve seen the bright lights of Paris from atop the Eiffel Tower. I’ve climbed Cotopaxi in Ecuador, and I’ve strode astride the Great Wall of China. These eyes have seen The 12 Apostles in Australia, and marveled at the jungles of South America and Southeast Asia.
But there is nothing like the Augusta National in April. Her beauty is indescribable. And to experience this coming tournament is one for a lifetime.