The Masters: Open Thread
posted at 11:30 am on April 5, 2012 by Rovin
Few golf tournaments achieve the world’s attention like the Masters. The first of the four majors, the Masters is the only one that is staged at the same location every year, the hallowed grounds of Augusta National Golf Club, located in Augusta, Georgia.
The course, (founded by Bobby Jones and Clifford Roberts and designed by Alister MacKenzie), was opened in 1933 and has been the host of the Masters Tournament since 1934. Ranked “number one” by Golf Digest in 2009 on the list of America’s top 100 greatest courses, the architecture and historical setting is unmatched among American golf courses. This year’s Honorary Starters are six-time winner Jack Nicklaus, four-time winner Arnold Palmer, and three-time winner Gary Player. Nicklaus is also the oldest player to ever win the Masters, (46 years, 82 days), in 1986. From 1960-1966 these three legends won every Masters tournament. Previous Honorary Starters were some of the greatest golfers of all time: Byron Nelson, Gene Sarazen, Ben Hogan, and Sam Snead, to name a few.
This year’s Masters has reached a fever pitch with the return of a rejuvenated Tiger Woods, (winner of the Bay Hill Classic just a few weeks ago). But Woods will face one of the stiffest fields ever assembled in a major with a combination of youthful favorites and wily veterans—all hungry for the coveted Green Jacket. With Woods leading the top-ten by the odds-makers, Rory McIlroy, (who lead by four strokes going into the final round last year before his meltdown—80—yet the 22 year old came back and dominated the U.S. Open), three-time winner Phil Mickelson, and current world number one ranked Luke Donald, should challenge Woods for the Green Jacket. But there are others going under the radar that could also make their case in the days ahead. Few had even heard of Charl Adriaan Schwartzel, (South Africa), who, in the previous year birdied the last four consecutive holes in the final round to shock the golf world. There are plenty of “Schwartzels” in the field this year, and with the course getting a good dose of old man winter the past few days, the big hitters/long drivers might not have an advantage until the weekend rolls around. The course will remain receptive to low scores until it dries.