The Collegian
Tuesday, February 07, 2023

The Masters: A Tradition Unlike Any Other

Every year in April, golfers take their talents to the beautiful Augusta National Golf Club in Augusta, Ga. From Butler Cabin to Amen Corner, this course is steeped with tradition, not to mention the green jacket ceremony. Last year's Masters tournament was an absolute thriller. It came down to Bubba Watson and Louis Oosthuizen in a playoff. Oosthuizen came up just short of the green, but luckily for Oosthuizen, Watson was stuck in the woods strategizing exactly how he would hit his next shot.

After a yanked tee shot into the woods, Watson's ball was lying on pine straw. As a lefty, he was in a perfect situation simply because of where the hole was located, a trick shot would not be out of the ordinary for Watson. With a trail of fans forming a path to where Watson stood, he miraculously managed to hook his ball out of the woods onto the green by maybe 50 yards. Unfortunately, Oosthuizen hit a sub-par chip onto the green and, at that point, "The Golf Boy," Bubba Watson, had the tournament in his hands. After two putts, he earned his first green jacket.

What made the shot so improbable, if not one of the best ever at The Masters, was exactly how far he was able to hook the ball and put it on the green. On pine straw, there was no room for error and a slight miss could have cost him the tournament.

Interestingly enough, Watson has never received a golf lesson in his life and the kind of shot he displayed here is exactly what the typical swing coach would teach. So, the question remains: Will this year's Masters tournament top last year's?

Well, this guy named Tiger Woods is back. Yes, the same Tiger Woods who has not won a major championship since his win at the U.S. Open at Torrey Pines nearly five years ago. Even so, Woods has been in full control this year. With three wins already to his credit before the first major event, his golf game seems to have brought out the same mental toughness that we saw before.

Back in 2008, when he won the U.S. Open, he had three wins at matches before the tournament began. Since then, he has never matched those three wins, yet still has won majors. Perhaps, this is a first. Either way you take it, he seems primed for a fifth green jacket.

Only time will tell for Woods. His career has already peaked and other younger players like Watson, Dustin Johnson, Matt Kuchar and Rory McElroy are knocking at his doorstep. At 37 years old, one would think he's got time to chase the magical number of Jack Nicklaus' 18 major wins. Regardless, it's going to take a lot to beat the finish we saw last year. But still, who would you rather see chase another Masters tournament than one of the PGA tour's finest, Tiger Woods?

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