There is nothing that gets my golf juices flowing like Masters week! It’s anticipation like no other. The Masters is what dreams are made of. From my front row seat on the recliner, my flakey golf drivel mind predicts that the 2012 Masters is going to be one of the most memorable in the history of golf. Why? Because two of the most talented golfers the world has ever seen are going to be playing their best and battling each other for the victory.
By Sunday, Rory McIlroy and four-time Masters champion Tiger Woods will have the rest of the field playing for third. There just isn’t another player equipped to hang with these two when they are at their best, and right now, both are on top of their game. The renewal of one of the rites of spring, The Masters, begins with a “tradition like no other” as Jim Nantz likes to remind us during the broadcast, which annually attracts the largest television viewing audience of any golf program. Arnold Palmer, Jack Nicklaus & Gary Player will ceremonially tee off the 78th edition and then it is all pressure, all the time, for four days.
In case you hadn’t noticed his last time on the golf course, Tiger Woods picked up his first PGA victory in 30 months, and he did so with a dominant five-stroke victory. This was not just a one-week stand for Tiger. He is on a roll but just hasn’t been able to put it together for four rounds before this. Woods is back and has clearly found his putting stroke which late Sunday afternoon at glorious Augusta National, should notch major championship No. 15.Tiger’s driving, greens in regulation and putting stats are very strikingly similar to the numbers he put up in 2000—which is the year he won three major titles. Wood’s has all of his power and is hitting just under 70 percent of his fairways. Combine this with nerves of steel and his trademark iron play and a putting stroke that is now flowing with confidence and you have a Tiger on the prowl.
Rory McIlroy is only 22 years old, and although he now has a major championship and four other official victories on his resume, he has shown a propensity to let big-time tournaments slip away in the past. Last year, McIlroy, on golf’s biggest stage, imploded in the final round, shooting 80. With McIlroy’s ascension to the top of the World Golf Rankings and Wood’s regaining his form and Phil Mickelson hitting the ball as well as he has since the 2010 Masters, we may be entering a stretch that historians will look back on as one of the game’s golden ages.
Tiger Woods has completed his climb out golf mediocrity. The game has rotated back into a familiar face and a resume with 72 career wins. The red shirt is again the symbol of Sunday superiority. Green jacket No. 5 is a comfortable fit over that red shirt! Just like old times!