Masters 2014: The Players, The Course, The Stories, The History
It’s one of the closest places we have in this country to hallowed ground in the world of sports, and it’s taking center stage again this week
The Augusta National Golf Club, home to The Masters, will be the focus of our collective attention for the next four days.
But one of the special things about golf’s first major every year, is that it is much more than just a tournament – it’s a happening – with traditions and great stories leading into The Masters each year.
From the Par 3 Contest to Phil Mickelson paying off a bet to an Augusta patron
to Kevin Streelman giving away his Masters tickets to strangers, there’s always some intrigue at the most memorable golf course in America.
Our resident golf expert, Joel Harrington from 4 Deep Golf blog, told me The Masters is more than just a sporting event:
Two things missing from the 2014 Masters are generating a lot of buzz.
First is the absence of four-time champ Tiger Woods, who is missing the event because of major back problems.
I asked Joel about the pros and cons of having a Tiger-free Masters:
The other notable absence in 2014 isn’t who, but what. The Eisenhower Tree, a fixture on the 17th fairway for decades is gone after falling victim to bitterly cold weather in February.
The tree has actually served as more than a visual distraction for some players over the years, but Joel says there are golfers who will greatly benefit from not having the additional obstacle:
One thing that sets Augusta apart from nearly every other course in the world is the beautiful setting.
That backdrop and the course’s design lead to some very memorable holes.
Everyone’s got their favorite:
As for this year’s field, Rory McIlroy and defending champ Adam Scott are 10-to-1 favorites, with Phil Mickelson, Jason Day, and Matt Kuchar 12-to-1, and Dustin Johnson and Bubba Watson 20-to-1.
The intrigue will start on the first two days with many of the favorites paired together, including Day, Johnson, and Herik Stenson teeing off at 12:04pm Central time Thursday: