COMMENTARY | Today is Wednesday, the second Wednesday. It is April 10. And it is no ordinary Wednesday. It is Masters Wednesday -- the day before the greatest golf tournament to ever be played.
There's a man I'd like to thank for this wonderful day that greets us every spring, and that's a Mr. Bobby Jones.
Robert Tyre Jones Jr. won the Grand Slam before there was a Grand Slam -- before there was an Augusta and a Masters, and before there was a Magnolia Lane and Amen Corner and holes named Camellia (that's No. 10, by the way).
In 1930, Jones took the Slam -- or what is was pre-Masters era -- closing it up at Merion, where this year's U.S. Open will be held come June. Three years later, with the help of Wall Street banker Clifford Roberts and design work from Alister MacKenzie, Augusta was born.
And it's with this course, this Bobby Jones brainchild, that I would like to thank him for so many things.
For the small things, like a loblolly pine on the 17th named Eisenhower Tree, because our former president sent his ball crashing into it so many times off the tee that he requested it be removed. For Rae's Creek, which flows through Amen Corner, causing balls to break in physics-bending directions.
For the course itself, where every hole is named, every hole has been eagled, every hole has been the crux of a player's nightmare. It's one that, according to ESPN, Mac O'Grady once gushed: "This is where God hangs out."
And Don Sutton: "If you don't get goosebumps when you walk into this place, you don't have a pulse.
And Nick Faldo: "This course is perfection, and it asks perfection."
Players do not brawl with Augusta like they do U.S. Open venues or Open Championship courses; they ogle and feast their eyes on it like the rest of us.
But what Augusta has given us most, is the shots, the memories, the unforgettable moments. There is no other major championship like it because no other major championship is annually held at the same course. No other course has the chance to make such memories as Augusta.
Bobby Jones put this place on the physical map, but it was Gene Sarazen who put this place on the metaphorical one with quite possibly the most immortal shot in all of golfing history.
In just the second year of the Masters' young and illustrious life, Sarazen pulled out his "Dodo" club as he called it -- his 4-wood -- and rolled in an albatross from 235 yards out on the 15th green, eliminating a three-stroke deficit to Crag Wood with a single swing. He would beat Wood in a 36-hole playoff the next day. The Masters had its magic.
I'll let you decide your Masters moments, but there's no forgetting Bubba Watson's Sci-Fi sand wedge that he hooked 40 yards to beat Louis Oosthuizen and don his first green jacket. It's a shot that still brings him to tears. There's no forgetting Woods' 2005 chip that hung, and hung, a Nike commercial in live action, before gravity did its work, forcing the ball home as Chris DiMarco watched in utter disbelief.
Without Bobby Jones, we don't get these moments. No Sandy Lyle 7-iron out of a fairway bunker, no Jack Nicklaus 5-iron on the 16th that he didn't bother watching because he simply didn't need to.
So today, Bobby Jones, I thank you. I thank you for making this Wednesday a most glorious Masters Wednesday.
Travis Mewhirter has been working in the golf industry since 2007, when he was a bag room manager at Piney Branch Golf Club in Carroll County, Maryland, and has been involved, as a player, since 2004. Since then, he has worked at Hayfields Country Club, where the Constellation Energy Classic was formerly held, and has covered golf at the high school, college, and professional levels.
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