It’s been awhile since I created a post. It’s not unusual to wait for some inspiration to strike and for whatever reason, it has this morning. Without reviewing earlier writing, I think I have used the word “inspiration” many times previously but I really feel you need it to write well. There has to be some significant passion.
In a couple of weeks time, The Masters golf tournament returns to Augusta Georgia. I get a chill when I hear the CBS theme song. This isn’t going to be a history lesson but the first tournament was played there in 1934, when it was called The Augusta Invitational. Over the span of eight decades and through all of the political upheavals, tragic deaths, and natural and man-made disasters, The Masters has been an absolute constant, embracing its sometimes strange traditions and quietly innovating great changes to the event and to the game of golf itself.
For me, the tournament represents the official end of our Canadian winter and the beginning of those warm Spring days. In Augusta we see the dogwoods and azaleas in full bloom and here, the green mist of new growth returning to the trees. It is simply pure magic.
For those of you who don’t golf, I would urge you still to flip on your flat panels and just observe the pure beauty of this slice of green heaven. The course was built on the site of an old nursery. Bobby Jones and Clifford Roberts discovered the Fruitlands property in 1930 and developed the course on its grounds using the spectacular talent of architect Dr. Alistair McKenzie. It has only become more beautiful with age, it’s early raw edges now manicured to perfection and its pines and shrubs appearing as though they were made for this spot on earth. And for golfers, well we pace around the house waiting for coverage to begin, plan the weekend around the event, ignore or reject invitations to the houses of others and excitedly anticipate the rivalries that will soon play out on this hallowed ground. The competition there rarely disappoints; and the course itself never does.
Several years ago, I had the pleasure of spending an evening with retired professional golfer Bruce Devlin. We were sitting at the bar of The Founders Club, then one of the best private dining facilities in Toronto, and I asked Bruce over martinis, if there was one tournament that still resonated with him. Although he had never won The Masters and even though he had prevailed in eight other events on the PGA tour, he proceeded to describe with impeccable precision all of the tragic events that befell him during the final round at the 1968 Masters tournament. He lost to Bob Goalby and felt strongly that he should have won. For me, his description of that last day of the event in 1968 reaffirmed the importance of Augusta for the professional players and the complete reverence they all have for the golf course and this major championship.
So well in advance of the Masters week, I would like to apologize to my friends and family for disappearing for a few days. You are all welcome to drop by but I only ask that you indulge me by not trying to speak over the dulcet tones of Jim Nance and by confirming in whatever fashion you elect, that The Masters deserves the unabashed love and affection that I hold for it.