The Breakdown: Master of all sporting events
April 7, 2009
Alright, so the NCAA men’s basketball championship game Monday night was pretty much as exciting as watching Kobe Bryant play one-on-one with a 12-year-old. You could tell it was over from the first possession, and there really wasn’t a single compelling moment for the final 39 minutes.
But, don’t worry.
The hoops final ” even if it had been as exciting as the 2008 overtime rendition ” wasn’t going to be the best event in sports this week, anyway. Far from it, actually. It wasn’t even going to be the best event announced by CBS’s Jim Nance.
No, I’m not talking about Opening Day for baseball, either.
(Complete tangent: I just wanted to give the first “day” of the Major League Baseball season its due here. If it were to come in any other week, I’d argue that it’s one of my favorite (sports) days of the entire year. It’s the epitome of hope in sports ” for one day, everyone still thinks that there favorite team has a chance. I’m sure there are thousands of Pirates fans, right now, who believe their team can contend after watching the Bucs bomb out the Cardinals in Game 1. It doesn’t matter that they have no pitching, a lousy defense and no power, they’re undefeated! Opening Day is just awesome; it’s why I’m proudly wearing one of my 27 Cubs hats today.)
Anyway, the sporting event that I’ve been eluding to is the Masters.
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I know you might be thinking that, in a week that contains the men’s and women’s Final Four, NCAA hockey’s Frozen Four and the first real baseball games of 2009, no one cares about golf.
Well, there’s some pretty good reasons why
Unlike the MLB games this week, the Masters actually matters. Sure, Boston beating Tampa Bay Tuesday counts in the standings, but does it matter how a team plays in April or does it matter how it plays in October?
This week’s golf tourney is, to most tour players, the most important week of the season. It’s the first major of the year and the only one that past champions can play in until they die (or quit).
The men’s Final Four, and the entire NCAA tourney, for that matter, was generally unexciting. Apart from a few games here or there, it was a March with very little madness. The women’s Final Four? UConn has absolutely dominated. The Frozen Four? As much as I hate to admit it being a hockey fan, but I doubt you can find many people that can even tell you what teams are playing in it. (It’s Boston U, Vermont, Miami (Ohio) and Bemidji State, in case you were wondering).
This year’s Masters looks to be one of the most intriguing in years: Tiger seems ready to slip on a fifth green jacket after showing at Bay Hill that he’s back to his winning self; Phil Mickelson has already won twice this season, which has the hefty lefty looking primed for a run at taking over the world’s No. 1 ranking; Padraig Harrington could become only the third golfer ever ” Tiger and Ben Hogan being the other two ” to win three consecutive majors; a trio of teenage phenoms ” Ireland’s Rory McIlroy, New Zealand’s Danny Lee and Japan’s Ryo Ishikawa ” are making their much anticipated debuts in Georgia; Greg Norman is back in the tournament that has tortured him so many times; plus, there are a slew of young players ” Sergio Garcia, Anthony Kim, Camillio Villegas, to name a few ” eager to take home their first major titles.
All those story lines aside, there isn’t anything better than watching the best players in the world work their way around one of the best golf courses ever, where the fairways make your living room carpet look shaggy, and the greens are faster and harder than the cement in your garage.
So, rather than sitting through “One Shining Moment” after the hoops title game, I’d rather watch a few at Augusta.
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