Hasn’t it been an interesting start to the season’s first Major of the year? I mean who could have possibly predicted that what has transpired so far was in fact going to happen?
If there was a Masters Tournament that had a serious plot twist before the action begun in 2017 than I have no idea what it was. Like every year the Par 3 Contest was played (sort of). Unfortunately, Mother Nature had found it within herself to interfere forcing a cancellation after 55 minutes of play due to an unstable weather system. Marking that for the first time in 56 years it was not contested. But there is a silver lining to that massive cloud. At least none of the player’s will be a victim of “the curse”. Nobody has ever gone on to win The Masters after winning the Par 3 Contest. Oh… speaking of massive clouds to darken an event.
I have never been to Augusta National but I have long wondered if it smelled like I imagine it to through the television screen. I remember watching the telecast from a hospital bed in 2004 in Hamilton, Ontario while recovering from an infection that led doctors to believe I had Meningitis. But while laying there in the bed there were all of the sprawling colors that is Augusta National in front of my eyes. I can’t imagine any weather or dark clouds ever making this event dreary. Unless of course you happen to be playing a Masters pool with a bunch of people and you just watched your favorite… the favorite to win fall down some stairs. As the reports of a fall involving World #1 Dustin Johnson surfaced on social media outlets The Masters took the biggest plot twist that I have seen. While at his rental home in Augusta, Johnson took a fall that injured his lower back. According to his agent the fall was significant and it’s reported that he landed hard on his elbow and side. Treatment was started right away with Dustin having hopes of still playing but after warming up prior to the first round Thursday Johnson was forced to withdraw. He was quoted as saying that the backswing was fine but coming down and through impact he felt his lower back “catch”. DJ has been playing the best golf he has played in his career and will have plenty of chances to win a “Green Jacket”. just that it won’t be this year. DJ… don’t rush it and give it time to heal you aren’t as young as you used to be (32).
The beautiful part about life is that when one door closes another door opens. With DJ’s withdrawal a door the size of an airplane hangar opened for the field. High winds plagued the first round and some players like Adam Scott stated that it was “borderline unplayable”. I know for the rest of us golfing “Minions” there isn’t a huge paycheck and a Green Jacket waiting for us with a victory. But… can I please see a show of hands from everyone who would complain about playing Augusta National in 30 mph winds? Thanks. I know a 3 to 4 club wind is an inconvenience and it can suck when it comes to putting. But seriously, on the Great Lakes that in gentle zephyr. More so I imagine in Texas or the Mid-West (Prairies). My point being that it’s the same course for everyone in the morning wave and that’s on the course at the time. Just luck of the draw right? But as some like Scott struggled (I’ll leave Jordan Spieth’s 9 on 12 alone). Nice cards were turned in after Round 1 by Sergio Garcia, Lee Westwood, and William McGirt. But did Charley Hoffman ever have himself a round. A -7 for a 65?! Master class right there folks. It’s unknown how that first round will hold up come Sunday but what a start. Hoffman is currently on the course and E thru 1. The weather looks pretty nice today (less wind) and looks to be even better come the weekend. So will the field catch him or will he come back to the field? Time will tell.
In closing, I just wanted to state that it was tough watching the Honorary Starters kick off the tournament yesterday. Of course Mr. Nicklaus and Mr. Player were there to strike the opening tee shots. But it was surreal to watch the Opening Ceremony as Chairman of Augusta National Billy Payne escorted Mrs. Arnold Palmer to the first tee while carrying one of Mr. Palmer’s Green Jackets then folded it ever so delicately and placed it on the chair there. Mr. Payne’s address to the patrons was emotional and heartfelt and accurate. If I may quote Mr. Payne “The almost unbearable sadness we all feel at the passing of Arnold Palmer is surpassed only by the love and affection for him, which will forever reside in our hearts.”
Until The Next Tee!