- The Masters
Walking into historyApril 13, 2014
Hello, Tiger. Hello, Phil. Those couches comfy?
It must feel a little strange for you guys to be plopped in front your big screens on a Masters Sunday. I mean, what are the odds, right? But do we have a jailbreak tournament for you.
Imagine: We have a chance to get the youngest winner ever. And we have a chance to get the oldest winner ever. We could get a winner who pulls his baseball cap over his ears, or a guy who wears a ponytail, or a guy who doesn't have a hair on his head. We have a sobber and a smiler and a Swede. We've got more story lines than the Sundance Film Festival.
Now, since you guys hardly ever do this, a few pointers:
The first person you'll hear when you watch the Masters on TV is Jim Nantz, your CBS host. He will start with, "Hello, friends." He calls everybody "friend." He has more friends than Mark Zuckerberg.
You will also see the same three ads over and over and over again. You will begin to hate these ads from the center of your soul. And yet, on Monday, you'll find yourself buying a Mercedes over your AT&T phone and not even realising it.
Now, there's nine really good players within three shots of the lead and that never happens.
Start with this kid Jordan Spieth. He was born in 1993. That means he's 20. You guys have lawsuits that old.
If he wins, he'd break your record, Tiger, of the youngest Masters winner - by about seven months. Maybe that's a sore subject, but he might. He looks 20, but his head is 40.
Spieth calls anybody older than him "Mister" which means he calls just about everybody "Mister." Will he call Bubba Watson "Mister" when they're paired in the final tee time Sunday?
"Yup. Mr. Watson. Just because it'll mess with him."
Watson, for his part, is cool with that. "Especially when I'm driving it by him."
Watson is a real nut, and not just because he will cry at a Subaru commercial. "I do have issues," he admitted Saturday night.
Where do we start? He's got ADD. He doesn't like people around him. He tends to blow his temper at his caddy, who usually blows right back at him.
He has a golf swing that would make Jim Furyk bury his face in his hands. It kind of resembles a dance move they used to teach at Arthur Murray - feet moving all over the place, a big outside-in move, and then a big fall off the shot at the end, just the way they tell you not to do it. And yet here he is, with a chance to win two of the last three Masters.
Not that this is, you know, important.
"If I shoot 90 tomorrow," he said Saturday night, "I still have a green jacket. So it's not as bad."
Tiger, I can hear your molars grinding from here.
One guy without a green jacket, or any major at all, is Matt Kuchar, who's 1 shot back, and who could grin through his own execution. This is a huge moment for him. He's older than you think - 35 - and he's been playing in majors for 16 years now and only has one top 5 to show for it. He's climbing into that dreaded BPTNWAM category - Best Player to Never Win a Major - which is kind of like golf's STD. You don't want to end up with it.
One guy who doesn't need a major to enjoy his life is The Leisure King - Spaniard Miguel Angel Jimenez, who's two back. He just turned 50 but only looks 70. He collects sports cars, great wine and maybe bottles of water from Lourdes. He seems to just get better the older, fatter and happier he gets.
Do you know his pre-round, cigar-in stretching routine has over 300,000 views on YouTube?
"Probably it's funny," he says. (It is.) "Sometimes I'm looking at myself on video and I'm laughing, too. It's nice. It's bueno."
Furyk isn't much younger. He's 43 and only three shots out of it, along with Lee Westwood and Thomas Bjorn. Furyk had a chance here in 1998, remember? And then blew it down the stretch. He also blew the 2012 US Open at Olympic down the stretch and last year's PGA Championship on Sunday. Maybe all those are why he doesn't have any hair left?
Maybe that will happen to 25-year-old Rickie Fowler someday, but no time soon. He's got a new haircut and a new swing, courtesy of his new coach, Butch Harmon, who coaches you, Phil and who coached you, Tiger, to eight major wins.
Okay, sore subject.
Oh, and Fowler says the one person who's taught him the most about Augusta National is you, Phil. Now here he is in the hunt and there you are with a bag of Cheetos. Maybe you should go mute next time?
Fowler has a teen-idol mug, cool clothes and a huge following for a kid who's won one whole tournament, but at least he admits it. "I hear people wonder if I'm overrated compared to what I've done," he admitted in a TV interview recently. A Masters win would wreck the wonderers.
Besides, his best friend on tour is Bubba and we already know Bubba wouldn't mind if Fowler took this thing from him. "He's already got one green jacket, so it's my turn," Fowler said.
Lastly, we have the blonde dark horse, the Swede Jonas Blixt, who will probably screw this whole thing up by winning it. That would be the biggest victory in Swedish history, not counting Elin and the divorce settlement.
Okay, sore subject.
Anyway, enjoy the Masters from home, boys. But don't get too comfy on those couches.
These young dudes think they're auditioning.
This article first appeared on ESPN.com