With Thanksgiving upon us, each Yahoo Sports blog is taking stock of what they're thankful for while also providing menu suggestions and a sport-specific viewing guide for when you hit your couch. Share what you're thankful for on Twitter with the #YSBThanks hashtag or in the comments below. Have a safe and happy holiday!
Shane Bacon, Devil Ball editor
That the Masters is just 134 days away: No matter what golf fans say, there is one week each year that we circle with a really, really big green marker and sit in anticipation as the days count down to Augusta National.
Considering it's the most popular golf course in the world hosting the first major championship of the year, it's no surprise it happens to be the most cherished. No offense to the high rough of the U.S. Open or the beautiful history that surrounds the British or the finale that is the PGA Championship, but the Masters is the best week of the year in the golf world and counting days until it begins is something every golf fan is thankful for.
That "18" is still a thing: How beautiful is it that the most important record in golf history also happens to be one of the most used numbers in golf? Jack Nicklaus won 18 majors and our generation has been lucky enough to watch Tiger Woods chase that number, the same number of holes most of us play each time we tee it up. Just a perfect symmetry for this amazing game.
It's almost been a blessing to golf fans that Tiger has slowed down on the major chase because it is the one thing that we can debate each season. Will Tiger catch Jack's number, or has he missed out on too many opportunities over the last few years?
Personally, I think the record is out of reach, but I can't wait for Tiger to win his 15th major so the topic can heat up again. I definitely think Woods has one or two more major wins in him, and if he gets to 17 each major will be the most anticipated in the history of the game.
Not a bad thing for golf fans like us, eh?
That this new generation is actually exciting: Five years ago I was actually nervous about the future of professional golf, but names like Rory McIlroy, Jason Day, Jordan Spieth and Ryo Ishikawa have given the game a youthful boost.
Before these names burst onto the scene I was scared what golf would look like without Tiger around, but I think we now know it will be perfectly fine with the names you read above, and some of the guys that will be coming up over the next few years.
That Phil Mickelson is still Phil Mickelson: From his quirky thumbs up to his goofy smile to his final round at Muirfield, Mickelson is like a fine wine as he continues to get better with age on and off the golf course. Phil is now just one major championship away from the career Grand Slam, and says his entire 2014 will be focused around the U.S. Open at Pinehurst. That doesn't mean we won't get plenty of weird Phil moments elsewhere in '14, and that is always a great thing.
Eric Adelson, Yahoo Sports columnist
I'm grateful for Jason Dufner's approach shots during the second round of the PGA Championship. I got to watch several on that Friday when he broke the course record at Oak Hill with a 63, and I don't think I'll soon forget the quiet, booming arc of their flight path. That moment is rare in sports, when there's little or no sound and everyone is marveling at the same thing. Dufner had an everyman persona and of course everyone made jokes about him falling asleep, but you could not watch those iron shots without some awe at the way they moved through the air. While most golf fans wondered where Dufner came from, to watch those darts dot the greens was to wonder why he didn't threaten to shoot 62 in every major championship round. Whether that Friday 63 was as good a round of championship golf as has ever been played is up for debate. It was certainly the best I've seen, and I'm grateful to have seen it.
Pimento cheese sandwich from Augusta National: The first time I went to the Masters I made it a point to head to Amen Corner on Monday afternoon and buy a pimento cheese sandwich and just sit with the patrons and enjoy this beautiful place that I had envisioned for years in my head. The view was as good as I had hoped, but the world famous sandwich was so good I went back for another ... and another. I think over the course of the first three days I had 10 sandwiches, and while my stomach convinced me to stop this weird diet I was on, my taste buds still long for that moment when your Masters badge gets scanned and the green wrappers are within reach.
Bill Burger, Olympic Club: If you've ever had the privilege of being invited to play Olympic Club, the golf should be the number one thing you're excited for, but 1A might be one of Hot Dog Bills concoctions. Started in 1950, the burger dog you can get at the turn is one of the best things you'll ever put in your mouth, and that isn't just me saying that. Justin Timberlake has called it the best burger he's ever tasted, and Fred Couples apparently sends someone over to the O-Club when he tees it up at Harding Park to pick up burgers for everyone in his group.
Grandma's Meatloaf, McKee's Pub, Bandon Dunes: It wouldn't be Thanksgiving without a little meatloaf, and the portion they serve at McKee's Pub at Bandon Dunes will knock your spikes right off. If there is a better spot in the world to enjoy a frosty IPA and some hearty home cooking after 36 holes of golf I haven't found it. You better bring your scorecard and some stories because golf talk will ensue once your take your seat at the bar.
Fish and Chips, Dunvegan, St. Andrews: There are plenty of places at the home of golf to enjoy a pint and some food, but no place has the atmosphere of the Dunvegan, and the fish and chips are a must once you tap in your par putt on the 18th hole at the Old Course (the slogan of the Dunvegan is "'Only a 9-iron from the Old Course," but they do remind you, "depending on the wind"). While Scotland might not be known for their food, you have to eat something when making that once-in-a-lifetime trip and the fish and chips are the 'Vegan is a solid choice.
(I also asked my buddy and Golf Channel travel guru Matt Ginella his thoughts on what food would fit this menu, and as a man that has played basically every golf course in the world, he offered up some gems: "Shakes at Castle Pines, Snapper Soup at Pine Valley, burger dogs at Olympic Club & Silverado (same recipe), Pimento Cheese at Augusta. Also, peach cobbler at Augusta, all the turn snacks at Seminole, the tacos at the turn shacks at Puerto Los Cabos in San Jose Del Cabo ... Also, the breakfast buffet at The Carolina/Pinehurst — the sausage biscuits are ridiculous. The peach cobbler and vanilla-bean ice cream from Sea Island is a must.)
The PGA Tour, Web.com Tour and LPGA Tour are all off this week, but that won't stop us from getting some golf on the television.
The Australian Open kicks off on Thursday, which means Wednesday evening our time. Coverage begins on Golf Channel at 8 PM ET on Wednesday night, and goes until Sunday, so tune in to watch Rory McIlroy, Jason Day, Adam Scott and others fight for the Aussie title.
Over on the European Tour it's the Alfred Dunhill Championship, and that starts at 6:30 AM ET on Thursday on Golf Channel, so you'll definitely have some live golf to watch this weekend if you plan the alarm clock accordingly. Charl Schwartzel, Robert Rock, and John Daly are some of the notables participating in this event hosted in Malelane, South Africa.
* * *