Nothing like the Masters

Tiger Woods wasn’t there at all.

Phil Mickelson didn’t make the cut or the weekend.

Rory McIlroy was around for all four days, but never in contention.

Golf’s Big Three -for different reasons -was no factor in the year’s biggest and most prestigious golf tournament, the Masters.

While the superstars resembled falling stars, their absence gave an opportunity for other less recognizable figures to strut their stuff, and some hungry young golfers took full advantage of the situation.

I can’t think of anything more appropriate than a golf tournament that takes place in the Deep South being won by a guy named Bubba.

Bubba Watson took control of the Masters on Saturday, when it looked like he might just run away with the victory.

But that seldom happens at Augusta National due to the difficulty of the course and the depth of the field.

Indeed, instead of watching a one-man show on Sunday, we were treated to a two-man fight to the finish between Watson and promising newcomer Jordan Spieth.

In the end, it was the more experienced golfer -Watson -who prevailed. In doing so, he joined a prestigious and short list of multiple time Masters winners. A list that includes such greats as Jack Nicklaus, Arnold Palmer, Gary Player, Sam Snead, Ben Hogan, Byron Nelson, Tom Watson, Woods, Mickelson, Nick Faldo and Seve Ballesteros. Very heady company, to say the least.

But give Spieth credit. Playing on the pressure-packed final day in the final group, he gave Watson all he wanted and then some, coming from two back to take a two-shot lead of his own before Watson found his game as quickly as he had lost it and rallied for a three-shot win over a fading Spieth and another promising young player, Jonas Blixt.

As seems to happen every Masters, one of the 50-year-old crowd hits the leaderboard on the final day. This time, there were two as 54-year Fred Couples gave himself and the crowd some thrills before fading on the back nine. Meanwhile, 50-year-old Miguel Angel Jiminez, perhaps the most recognizable competitor with his ponytail, made a late charge to finish in 4th place.

Not only does the Masters virtually coincide with the opening of Major League Baseball season and serve as a reminder that spring is finally here, but it also remains the only one of golf’s four major tournaments that annually is conducted on the same course. A course with which we all are familiar and have witnessed so many times we know it by heart.

I spent the weekend in Myrtle Beach attending my nephew’s wedding and when we weren’t at one of the wedding-related functions, the men of the party were huddled around a TV watching the Masters. It’s an annual ritual. If you only watch golf once all year, it’s the Masters. It’s like the Kentucky Derby, which makes everyone a horse racing fan for one day. You want to be a part of it.

Somehow, it never lets us down.

Contact Dave Poe at