Writers Note: Georgia On My Mind was written about the Masters before the Boston Bombing. I thought we could use a little fun. Even more fun? See the Factoids
We traveled up I 75 somewhere south of Atlanta. It was Saturday and we were heading home to Colorado. A wonderful trip with many friends and family in Sawgrass was in the victory lap and the trees were bursting open and the grass a brilliant shade of green. Just ahead was the turnoff for Augusta and visions of azaleas in bloom danced in my head.
The Masters is like no other. Take all the glitz of the Pro Golf Tour and throw it out the window. This is golf’s temple and you can cheer but rowdy will get you a quick exit. The golfers are more than respectful and you have never heard “sir” uttered more times from so many tour hotshots. They know their place.
We had dinner with a friend who is both a wonderful golfer and gentleman. His 3 handicap earned him no more than a ticket to the practice round but you could see the gleam in his eye as he talked of not a blade of grass out of place. He noted the pitch of the greens and the grade of the hills. Far cry from Florida flatlands and Pebble’s Beaches. A little bit of Heaven.
There’s royalty but on the course it doesn’t matter. An eighth grader from China outshone last years winner. Unknowns poke in and out of the leader board and there is hope for even some old farts in the early going.
Kath and I planned each day’s move to arrive somewhere around 4 PM. Clarksville, Tennessee and Salina, Kansas have TV and that is all that matters. They didn’t even have to leave the light on for us. The wine was opened early and we had a front row seat. I thought of setting up ropes in the room.
The course is magnificent but the toll it takes is even more masterful. Tigers become pussycats and the big hitters shrivel and drop away. Finesse reigns in what has become a brassy world. The putt is the simplest stroke of all. It doesn’t require any amount of strength except in your heart. It brings grown men to tears.
It’s great to see them crack. I cheer when Rae’s Creek sucks up yet one more Pro V. Odd bounces go either way but most of the time “this can’t be good.” Yet it all comes down to the final nine on Sunday. You idiot! You know exactly where the pin is. They have had it in the same place year after year and you still miscalculate. Choking dog? You bet.
You don’t have to be a golf aficionado to enjoy the Masters. It is the greatest metaphor for stress and struggle there is. That is not hyperbole. Millions of people at home lean at every wayward drive. They put body English on every putt and have a sick feeling in their gut as it roars five to six feet by.
You pick your favorite as you would in any horse race. You go to the whip at the far turn and you pray your boy holds on till the finish. And just when you think you have it made that SOB comes from the outside and turns victory into defeat. Nothing like it. So close and yet so far.
This year’s finale was one of the best with two dark horses( Sorry couldn’t resist) showing their mettle at the end. For both warriors to birdie the 18th was something for the movies. The two playoff holes were the best you will ever see. For once, no one lost but one guy won and that was way cool.
Every one said that the old Angel Cabrera couldn’t withstand the pressure but they forgot his background. He quit school to become a caddie for what he thought was the rest of his life. He became a pro but didn’t forget his roots. He had a doctorate in caddie yard putting and chipping. Case closed.
Adam Scott hadn’t been able to find the hole all day with the proverbial two hands and a flashlight. Stevie was his caddie but I thought his last name was Wonder. And yet the Aussie came through for himself but even more for a proud sports nation.
Angel was agonizingly close and in the end beyond a gentleman. He hugged his son and then he did the same to his opponent as if he was his son. There was exhaustion and tears and most of all humility. There was a sense that this sport like so many others with egos and dollar signs had just a little bit of sanity and above all gentility. Wish we could bottle that. Maybe we can.
Ted The Great
Unlike the three other major tournaments that define the golf season, the Masters is not run by a national governing body, either of the game or of its professionals. It is run by a private club, which sets the requirements for qualification. The prize is not a championship title but the club’s green blazer.
The tournament was not played during the years 1943, 1944 and 1945 because of World War II. To help with the war effort, turkey and cattle were raised on the Augusta National Grounds.
No amateur has ever won the Masters.
Sandwiches also still cost under $3 at concession stands at Augusta National
Have a Good Time Full moon over Wellington, NZ…….
Here is something a bit random, but none-the-less astounding. A work mate of mine who is also a photographer captured what is, to me, one of the most remarkable things I have ever seen filmed.
It is a 3 minute video clip of the full moon rising over Wellington. It was shot on Jan. 28, 2013, a calm summer evening, as people gathered on the Mt. Victoria Lookout point to watch the moon rise.
This stunning video is one single real-time shot, with no manipulation whatsoever. The camera was placed on a hillside over 2 kilometres from the Lookout point, and was shot with the equivalent of a 1300mm lens.
The amount of planning, trial and error, and luck that went into this are mind blowing. He has been trying to capture this for over a year with many failed attempts. But 2 nights ago it seems everything was on his side, and it all came together in a way even he couldn’t have hoped.
I honestly can’t say enough good things about this video – from the magnitude of the visuals, to the intimate stories playing out with the people, to the sheer humbling nature of seeing the awe-inspiring reality of this giant rock in the sky that we so often don’t stop to appreciate.
One thing I encourage you to do is watch this on the biggest screen you have – don’t waste it on an iphone screen.