A Tradition Unlike Any Other: Masters 2021

Hello Friends. Let’s take a drive down Magnolia Lane for that tradition unlike any other. The Masters. Nothing really kicks off the golf season like this tournament. In fact, it really just kicks off spring. Winter is leaving, and many golfers will be pulling their clubs out of the garage this week, deluded that watching Phil Mickelson hit bombs will somehow improve their own games.  (It won’t.)  Perhaps the lasting appeal of The Masters is that it’s the only major golf tournament held at the same course every year. Even casual fans are familiar with Augusta National Golf Club. And us golf junkies? We know every break of every green—or at least think we do.   

For those of you who don’t know, The Masters, while steeped in some old and—some say—unnecessarily archaic traditions, is also the technological leader in the viewing experience for the fans. They have a FREE app, which gives you every shot of every player for the tournament, plus live feeds from all over the tournament. It’s freaking incredible and easily the coolest app in sports. No other tournament comes close. I, and millions of others, will be getting very little done this upcoming weekend other than looking from our TV to our phone and back. 

Due to Covid, this tournament was held in November last year, which was super weird.  It’s also strange to have it again being played just five months since the last edition. Every Masters has particular storylines and the 2021 version is no different. 

I could start and end every article on golf with Tiger Woods. The last time The Masters was held in its usual springtime slot (2019), Tiger was the unlikely and emotional winner. Since then, he’s followed up with some inconsistent play, more injuries, surgeries and then the catastrophic roll-over car accident in Los Angeles two months ago. As per usual, many questions surround Tiger. Will he ever play golf again? Was the 2019 Masters Tiger’s swan song? Unfortunately for us, and Tiger, this is not the week we will find out.

Other top players in the world have been overshadowed by recent events. Dustin Johnson is the defending champion and favorite again this year.  However, he isn’t rolling up in the best of form. While he’s proven that he doesn’t need to be in the best form to win, his last three tournaments have been pretty lackluster.  Jon Rahm told the world he would leave mid-tournament, even if he was leading, if his wife went into labor with his first baby. That won’t be an issue as Rahmbo became a father over the weekend—but will he be ready to compete?  Brooks Koepka, whose status has been up in the air as he recovers from knee surgery, posted himself proposing to his girlfriend on Instagram. Keen golf fans noted he looked strong on bended knee, and Brooks himself posted that he was going to Augusta.  Bryson DeChambeau brings his bulk and brains to try and conquer a golf course he’s never really had success on. And, based on last Sunday, there is a new big storyline:

Jordan Spieth is back!  Golf’s golden boy returned from his 1,300 day winless streak with a dominant performance at the Texas Open to head into the tournament where, statistically, he is among the greatest of all time. With Tiger watching from his couch in Jupiter, FL, the only other golfer in the world who moves the needle in a similar fashion is Spieth. While he certainly is a polarizing figure, he makes this year’s edition of The Masters far more interesting that it would have been.