A cut above...
Real golf fans can get hooked on almost any tournament. The casual fan, meanwhile, might spend a couple lazy weekends each year watching the best in the world compete in the final two rounds of the major championships. The Masters; now that brings the big crowd.
It’s a mixture of great golf and over-the-top historical pageantry. It’s a bizarre juxtaposition of soft music and soft voices laid over thunderous emotional peaks, and a palpable tension which surrounds every shot. If the storyline is right, I think that anyone can appreciate the greatest tournament in golf... and the storyline is almost always right.
No matter what happens, there will be a reason to watch. Here are a few scenarios to look for.
Tiger dominates. He’s done it before, and everyone knows that he’s always capable of doing it again. You would think that this scenario would decrease the tension, but that’s not necessarily the case. When Tiger tees off, he’s not just playing against the field, he’s playing against history. What records can he break? Just how good can he be? Love him or hate him, it’s utterly amazing to watch Tiger when he’s at his best.
Tiger wins close. This may be the most exiting option, and maybe the most probable. Watching Eldrick do what he always does is still just as captivating as ever. One of two guys will play their way into contention, only to buckle as the No. 1 player in the world hits clutch shot after clutch shot down the stretch. Galleries will explode after every shot. There will be fist pumps. Players will grip and rip, trying to cut the corners, trying to reach that par 5 in two shots.
A second-tier player wins. Next to Woods, every other great player should be considered second-tier. If Mickelson, Vijay, Furyk or DiMarco were to earn a green jacket, it would be a great day for all the Woods-haters. The people who like to tell themselves that Tiger is beatable love the rare occasions when the great one struggles... and by struggles, I mean he finishes third. This option is a little anticlimactic, but makes for a long day of interesting golf.
The “Tin Cup” scenario. It’s really not something you'll have to consider until the second half of the third round. I know that the "no-name winner" is a lot more prevalent at the open championships, but there’s always a chance for one of these little-known guys to have a great weekend at the Masters. (Just ask last year’s winner, Zach Johnson.) If one of these underdogs is near the top on day three, you can feel the buzz through your television set. Announcers are trying to figure out exactly who the leader is, eventually calling his mom for all kinds of obscure info. “When he was young, he used to bring a sand wedge to the beach to practice his bunker shots. One day, he chipped in to a dolphin's blow hole, and was arrested. The dolphin survived, though, and he was released from jail.”
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