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Sporting Matters


Green Jackets

with: Jamie Spencer

I don't know about you, but I found myself completely glued to the television this past weekend. It seems to happen every spring. Instead of fishing or doing my usual chores — I lock myself in the basement until a new champion is crowned. It's a tradition like no other, and the 2017 Masters didn't disappoint one bit.
“Tell him to come upstairs.”
The tournament got off to a moving start, as this was the first Masters without the beloved Arnold Palmer. There was a beautiful memorial to honor the King Thursday AM. Arnie's long time rivals and dear friends, Gary Player and Jack Nicklaus, both stepped up and striped their ceremonial tee shots down the pipe. It was awesome and there wasn't a dry eye to be found. The 2017 Masters was underway.
The world’s number one grabbed all the first day headlines without even taking a swing. Dustin Johnson has been on a terror of late, but he slipped on the porch and had to withdraw due to a sore back. Ouch. There went my pick. Amusement purposes only.
Augusta National played tough the first few rounds as swirling winds and cooler temperatures took their toll on the world's best. But conditions calmed on Saturday and several big names climbed their way to the top. The leaderboard was tightening up and Sunday was shaping up to be a doozy.
Phenom Jordan Spieth and the flashy Rickie Fowler both started the day just a few strokes back. But unfortunately our young American superstars couldn't muster up a charge. Actually they were rather disappointing. Personal favorite Freddie Couples turned some heads again this spring. The 57-year-old Couples always finds a way to contend. My man is the silver fox. #wwmc.
Europe dominated the board by the late afternoon and the top American finisher Matt Kuchar tied for fourth. He provided the only domestic firework by ACING the par 3, 16th. But the 2017 final round was a two horse race.
Sergio Garcia and Justin Rose were simply brilliant. The two good friends battled shot for shot until the very end. Garcia's wheels started spinning after consecutive bogeys on 10 and 11. He was in trouble again when his tee ball found Rays Creek on 13. Sergio was doomed and many thought the fiery Spaniard was jinxed. This guy will never win a major championship.
But Garcia bounced back right away. He got up and down for par. Sergio birdied 14 and made an incredible eagle on 15. Rose countered with a birdie on 16, but gave it back after a short miss on 17. The two Europeans were all square heading to 18.
They sportsmanship these two displayed on the back nine was superb. Commenting and giving fist bumps to each other after every dynamic shot. Garcia ended up winning his first well-deserved green jacket after a birdie in extra innings. He finally got the monkey off his back and picked up that elusive major. What a finish. A win for the game of golf.
I know I am not alone here, but there is something special about the Masters that MOVES us rabid golf fans. Several others were hitting backyard pitches in the 17728 when that playoff came to an end. Yes. Of course Augusta National is just spectacular this time of year. Us folks in North Central PA don't see many flowers or blooming trees the first week of April. Perhaps it is the smooth calming voice of CBS sports' Jim Nance. A WIN FOR THE AGES. Or MAYBE it's the YES SIRs of my man Verne Lundqvist. #seewhatididthere? I didn't want this year's tournament to end.
Regardless of the reason, the 2017 Masters really inspired me to start playing again. Perhaps I will see you at a local course very soon. Cheers.