Amnon Free Press
We’re back. The 85th playing of the Masters Tournament at famed Augusta National is underway and all feels right, if only for a moment.
The sun is shining, the smell of spring is in the air, and if you listen closely, the ping of drivers squarely hitting golf balls can be heard in the distance. If this doesn’t warm your soul, it might be time for some inner reflection.
It’s been a brutal year. The Covid-19 pandemic has affected us all. For many, a separation from families has been the most difficult part, with the inability to meet with loved ones and friends causing loneliness and anxiety. But for others, the lack of sports at the beginning of the pandemic and subsequent lack of fans at events as games commenced, was troubling in its own right.
The 2021 Masters is a return to normalcy. Last year’s tournament was truly “unlike any other,” as the traditional start date of the first full weekend of April was moved to November. The patrons, who are truly the heartbeat of The Masters, were not present, resulting in an eerie feeling throughout.
Without fans, the tournament just didn’t feel the same. The lack of fans and the ability to listen in to conversations between golfers and their caddies was fun and different for a hot minute, but it quickly got old. With the roar of the crowd and their collective anxiety missing, Sunday at The Masters lacked its traditional zip. As 2020 Masters champion Dustin Johnson walked up the 18th hole on Sunday to win his first Masters, you could sense the victory wasn’t the same without the standing ovation by the patrons.
Fret no more, friends. The patrons have returned.
While the Masters won’t say just how many fans are on site this week, we do know there will be some in attendance. The energy and atmosphere that spectators provide should be felt immediately. Unlike any other sport, golf is a mental game. It can play with the mind with the snap of a finger. And at Augusta National, the mental strain is even more present. Even with a smaller number of fans than Augusta is accustomed to, the roars will be heard by golfers all around the course. The pressure will build as the roars reach the golfers and they know someone in front of them just made a move up or down the leader board.
The golf course will also return to normal. With last year’s tournament being played in November, The Masters saw record low scores. Johnson went on to win the tournament with a scoring record at 268. The course was significantly softer due to the time of year the tournament was played. This year, expect a return to firmer greens and a faster course. As always, weather will be a major factor in the course conditions. But if the rain can stay away, don’t expect to see a repeat of last year’s record setting numbers.
And while this year’s Masters won’t be without its fair share of controversy as Georgia’s new election law has taken center stage, the Masters is also a chance for us to take a collective breath. With all that has happened over the past year, it’s an opportunity to sit down with friends and family and enjoy “A Tradition Unlike Any Other.” It’s a weekend where we can put down our political swords and enjoy our shared love of golf.
Will Johnson be able to repeat his record breaking performance from just five months ago? Will Justin Thomas finally break through and win his first green jacket? Will anyone be able to replace the energy that Tiger Woods brings to the course as he recovers from his February car accident?
The college basketball season ended on Monday, the NBA is in its usual slog as they try to finish up the regular season, and Major League Baseball is just getting started. All eyes will be trained on The Masters. Normalcy is back. Enjoy it.
Joe Morgan is the Sports Reporter for The Daily Wire. Most recently, Morgan covered the Clippers, Lakers and the NBA for Sporting News. He has covered countless games and interviewed many well known athletes. Prior to that, Morgan was a weekday radio host at a local sports radio station in Denver, CO.
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The views expressed in this opinion piece are the author’s own and do not necessarily represent those of The Daily Wire.
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