Even though there have been 14 tournaments worth US$96m on the PGA Tour so far in this calendar year, it somehow feels as if the golf season doesn’t legitimately get underway until the Masters.
The season’s opening ‘Major’ championship, complete with its patrons, perfectly manicured grounds, the riot of colour of springtime blossoms, all the pomp and circumstance of the Par-3 competition and the Champion’s Dinner, the Masters is about as ritualistic as it’s possible to get in sport.
Aside of the sad absence of four-time Masters winner Palmer, who died in September last year at the age of 87, another notable absentee is likely to be another quadruple champion at Augusta, namely Tiger Woods, remarkably a dozen years since he last donned the famous green jacket and 20 years since his first, when he destroyed the best of the rest with a 12-stroke margin of victory.
With Woods, on the grounds of both form and fitness frequently out of the picture on the PGA Tour over recent years, there has been an interesting - if not exactly riveting - jockeying for position at the top of the tree amongst golf’s ‘Alpha Males,’ Jordan Spieth, Rory McIlroy, Adam Scott, Jason Day and now Dustin Johnson playing pass the parcel, Henrik Stenson, Rickie Fowler and Justin Thomas all making assaults on the summit, hence the 80th Masters must be one of the most open in recent years.
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