On Sunday afternoon, on a beautiful day at Augusta National, a 20-year-old kid was trying to do something that no 20-year-old kid has ever done. Jordan Spieth, a kid ranked 810th in the world a season ago, was continuing his run on professional golf, the Masters records and basically anything that had to do with the misnomer that kids can't dominate this game.
But there was one problem with all that. Tiger Woods wasn't at Augusta National. How do those two things have anything to do with each other? I'm not sure, but apparently they do.
That is what seems to be the consensus this Monday about the 2014 Masters .
"This tournament was boring!" "Where was Tiger?!" "How can anyone watch this without the two biggest names in the world in contention?"
The thing is, if you looked past all that screaming and focused simply on the golf tournament at hand, you probably enjoyed yourself. Sure, the back nine on Sunday wasn't exactly the '86 Masters, but the front nine was full of fireworks that had people from all walks of life turning their televisions to CBS to see just what the heck was going on.
A 20-year-old might win the Masters. A guy that has never had a lesson might win two. A Swede with a goofy glove and great touch around the greens could steal it from everyone. Oh, and what about Fred Couples?!
The problem with golf these days, myself included, is that we spend so much time wondering about Tiger Woods that we forget to enjoy the actual moment. You've heard of "stop and smell the flowers"? Well, what about the azaleas?
Tiger Woods will turn 39 in December. He isn't some young gun anymore out there shooting for history. Woods is a man that has been up against scandal, the media, swing coaches and now his own body. He isn't the guy we used to see go out and rip driver past everyone on Earth, smiling because he knew that putt he had to make was going to drop even before we did.
The 2014 Masters might have dipped in the ratings without Woods around, and might have left us with a weekend that didn't include Tiger or Phil, but it was still a compelling golf tournament and something we must enjoy if we claim we enjoy golf.
One of these days Tiger Woods is going to retire from the game, or play only Champions Tour tournaments, and the game and the championships and the golf shots will continue.
Would Tiger have made this Masters better? Personally, I can't answer that. I thought it was great to watch throughout Sunday, and even when Bubba was running away from the field it was still fun just to watch a man, and a kid, make a little bit of history, red polo or no red polo.
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