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Spring Hopes Eternal with The Masters
April 6, 2017  | By Gerald Jordan  | 2 comments

If buying a TV is on your shopping list, then this is the week to accelerate the process. It’s Masters Week on The Golf Channel, with the Par 3 competition from Augusta National scheduled for Wednesday on ESPN and the opening round of the season’s first major tournament set for 3 p.m. (EDT) Thursday on ESPN. ESPN will rerun rounds one and two at 8 p.m. (EDT). Action moves to CBS at 3 p.m. (EDT) Saturday and Sunday.

Barring thunderstorms, the majestic pines and lush azaleas should be at their April best for TV’s most colorful programming. CBS goes the extra mile to rhapsodize Augusta National and on this 81st presentation of the Masters golf fans unable to cadge a ticket to one of sport’s true cathedrals should get an ultra high-definition television, plop into an overstuffed recliner and just drool at the rolling fairways and lush greens.

And visuals aside, the CBS audience will get the velvety basso narration by Jim Nantz, who fresh off his NCAA Final Four run and finale Monday night might doze off if a player spends too much time lining up a putt.

Also for those who might have vision challenges – whether actual impairment, or operating a motor vehicle or just stuck at work – Westwood One radio will broadcast the Masters for the 62nd year. Bob Papa will be in the tower at 18 for the radio network, alongside Golf Channel host Charlie Rymer.

Throughout the week, viewers will have several opportunities to catch live video streams of notable Masters events, such as the honorary starters – likely to be poignant this year after the death of Arnold Palmer. Live streaming also will show featured groups and that perennial fan favorite – the Amen Corner, a heart stopping convergence of holes 11, 12 and 13 where Palmer won in 1958 and where many have seen their dreams dashed by errant shots or balls that roll into Rae’s Creek. Ask Jordan Spieth (right, quadruple bogey on 12 last year) or Greg Norman or Ken Venturi or Tom Weiskopf. They know heartbreak.

Spoiler alert: On this 20th anniversary of Tiger Woods’ runaway victory at Augusta, he’ll be watching it on UHD as he continues to battle a bad back.

Who’s left to move the needle?

Dustin Johnson had been playing lights out golf, winning his last three starts and moving into the World No. 1 ranking, but he fell down some stairs in his rental house Wednesday and was forced to withdraw. He got all the way to the first tee Thursday afternoon before he made the difficult decision to leave the Masters. DJ, as the cognoscenti like to call him, was the favorite going into the season’s first major tournament. But the favorite hasn’t won at Augusta in more than a decade and DJ’s fall extended that streak for at least another year.

Some British chap named Danny Willetts won last year, leaving Jordan Spieth in second place. Spieth, though, might tip the balance back in his favor this year. In the three years that he’s played in the Masters, Spieth has finished second, first and second.

Other young guns lying in wait include a revivified Rory McIlroy and a very capable Jason Day, but a few tour veterans stand between them and their slipping on the green jacket Sunday. Adam Scott has won at Augusta and knows how to tame its rolling hills. Bubba Watson, 30 pounds lighter and, by his own description, devoid of fried foods and sugar, has tamed Augusta with some left-handed golfing that makes Phil Mickelson pause in admiration.

As always, the best to never have won a major title await their time. Sergio Garcia and Ricky Fowler head that list.

The Masters always is entertaining and often dramatic. DJ was asked when he really felt that he could be ranked No. 1. He mused, “When Tiger quit playing.”

Tiger’s out. Phil’s old. Anybody could win this weekend.

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Aug 28, 2023   |  Reply
Bob Lamm
How many members does Augusta National have? How many of them are women? How many are African American? How many are Jewish? This famed club's bigotry is consistently ignored and adding a few tokens shoudn't change that.
Apr 6, 2017   |  Reply
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