I love the Masters...I love the beauty of Augusta National. Patrons not fans. Sunday pins and a charge down the back nine. The Masters signals the arrival of spring and the ability, even in the rain, to play a round of golf without getting too cold or uncomfortable.
The Masters to me has always been special. My dad's birthday falls on or around the weekend of the Masters and we all would sit and watch Jack, Tom, Johnny Miller and the like make their run. This year, with all due respect to Zach Johnson, The Masters didn't deliver. The Masters failed to deliver it's singularity, it's Masters-ness to us.
Augusta National has been changed so much now that you can no longer do what you used to be able to do ten years ago, compare eras. Augusta National felt the need to stay current and lengthened the course to keep up with technology. To put rough on a course where there never was. The Masters was always the same test of golf. It rewarded the risk takers, and rewarded guys who can putt. The length of the course now takes a technical golfer out of the equation.
Retief Goosen hit an iron on the 13th tee during the final round on Sunday...it never even occurred to him to challenge the Par 5 and take a chance to win the tourney. Zach Johnson said the reason he won the Masters was because he never once thought to challenge a Par 5 in 2 this entire tourney. Give me John Daly, a pack of Camels and 20 Diet Cokes.
The Masters as a tourney in the past reminded me as a golfer that there are times to lay up and times to put the pedal down and go for it. This weekend, the field was whipped. Even Tiger couldn't make a charge due to length and conditions. Yes, all weekend you heard about the cold weather and the poor golfers having to deal with the wind. Welcome to golf lads! If the course hadn't been lengthened, the weather would not have factored as prominently.
If you watch the Masters regularily, you know that 18 has been lengthened now and has a long chute that the big hitters can barely clear. Remember when the golfers would hit the ball in the twin bunkers on the left, then have to make a 'golf' shot to get out of it.
Remember when you used to watch the Masters and say Fred Couples was on 13, getting ready to hit his 2nd shot 225 into the green in two and right as he's getting ready to hit, you hear the roar on 16 as Seve stuffed one three feet away, forcing Freddie to back off and re-focus. The roar is gone folks. Jim Nantz, Nick Faldo and the gang talked about the roar all weekend, because the roar wasn't there.
Fix the Masters, and you fix golf. Give the length back, cut the rough down, and let 15 under win the tourney. Give 30 guys a chance to win, not 13. Let Fred Funk and Corey Pavin, Loren Roberts and the like show you what guts and determination can do for you. Yes, Tiger will win his share, but Tiger is just a man and can't win them all. Golf is romantic because you can hit the shot too...that's what keeps you coming back. One good shot makes up for 20 bad ones. The Masters failed to deliver because golfers can no longer relate to their own game.