One of my favorite weeks of the year is Masters week.
My first memory of watching the tournament was in 1985. I was 7 years old, and Bernard Langer won by a few strokes over Seve, Ray Floyd and Curtis Strange. The next year I remember watching Jack Nicklaus make his memorable run for a 6th Green Jacket.
In 1987, Larry Mize chipped in to beat Greg Norman in a playoff. I was hooked. Right then, it became my favorite sporting event of the year.
The Masters kept getting better.
If you had been with me on the practice green as an aspiring junior golfer, you would have witnessed me winning at least 20 Masters tournaments. I’m pretty sure I beat Greg Norman, Nick Price, Nick Faldo, and Tom Kite at least four times (each).
My all-time Masters highlights
1994: I went to Augusta National for the practice rounds and Par 3 Tournament when I was 16. It was a birthday present. My best friend at the time scored some tickets and let me tag along. We spent every hour of sunlight combing as much of the club’s 365 acres as possible. We even managed to venture down Magnolia Lane for a few dozen yards until the security folks kindly asked us to move back behind the ropes.
The best part of the tournament that year was coming home and watching it on TV. After seeing the drastic elevation changes and undulating greens first hand, I gained a greater appreciation for what I see the guys do on the screen.
1992: By far my favorite Masters ever was held the days before I turned 14. My childhood golf hero was Fred Couples. His win that year inspired me for months and etched quality time with my dad I’ll never forget. I can’t wait to watch my son hang on every shot by his favorite golfer during the back nine, Sunday at Augusta.
This year’s tournament is sure to be exciting. It’s Masters week. The 2012 golf season starts now.
photo credit: gomattolson