It is finally here! The news is going crazy, the hype is growing, and the pundits are pontificating. For all golfing fans, the Masters Week is the start of so many things. For those of us living in the Great White North, it means golf season is about to start. For all those others who live in warmer climates, it is an opportunity to enjoy more golf.
The news is full of stories about who is going to win, who is going to exceed expectations, and who is going to struggle! I have already announce my picks for this year, but one topic I have avoided and just cannot anymore.
Yup, you guess it: The Role of Past Masters Champions!
Why would players be given a lifetime exemption for winning the Masters? If you think of the names on the list, only about 7 of the 19 have a chance to win again. Of those, few would be rated as any kind of favorite! Why let these aging players, some were superstars in their day, take a position from a young player who would benefit more from the experience of Amen Corner? Before we go any further here are the past winners playing this year:
- Cabrera, Angel
- Couples, Fred
- Crenshaw, Ben
- Immelman, Trevor
- Johnson, Zach
- Langer, Bernhard
- Lyle, Sandy
- Mickelson, Phil
- Mize, Larry
- O’Meara, Mark
- Olazabal, Jose Maria
- Schwartzel, Charl
- Scott, Adam
- Singh, Vijay
- Watson, Bubba
- Watson, Tom
- Weir, Mike
- Woods, Tiger
- Woosnam, Ian
After you have given it some thought, what have you come up with? Why let these aging players into the most elusive tournament in the world? Well, let me tell you.
Because they make the game better! These classy gentlemen, although most are past their prime, educate and mentor the younger superstars of today. They add that “savior faire” to an already awesome golf tournament. Some of these great players, like Ben Crenshaw and Tom Watson, are like that favorite uncle we like to periodically visit just talk about life.
These past champions help keep the rich and historic aspects of the Masters alive. They bring their own flair to the event which helps the fans connect to all the players. They become that underdog, who older players like myself can relate to, the fan favorite and unknown that all golfing fans secretly love to follow!
Ben Crenshaw indicated this will be his last year of competing in the Masters. As all the champions will eventually find out, there is a time to take a bow and exit stage left. Ben Crenshaw is demonstrating yet another lesson to the younger players that eventually everything comes to an end. Crenshaw played with class and leaves with class – Thanks for all the great memories.
As this week unfolds, take time to remember the past champions for they bring more to the game than just golf! As they tee it up on Thursday, listen to how loud the crowd cheers when their name is announce! As we watch them tee it up, there is still a small glimmer of hope and the thought that on any given day, anyone can make history!
I am a grateful golfer! See you on the links.