Rooting For The Old Guys

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Greetings from The Booth!

It’s Masters Sunday, and on this beautiful day, there are plenty of things I should be doing on my property instead of watching golf. The James Wood Touchdown Club delivered my annual 20 bags of mulch yesterday, and and army of leaves remains from the Fall. Not to mention the disheveled condition of my deck. But, as I try to explain to my wife (to no avail), “it’s The Masters!” She just doesn’t get it.

To those of you who are “unwashed,” The Masters is the first “major” tournament of the professional golf season. It is the perfect convergance of the time of year, the importance of the tournament, and the venue. Augusta National in the Spring is one of the most beautiful sights in golf, and the famed green jacket that goes to the Masters champion is one of the most coveted prizes in golf.  It is, as they say, a tradition like no other.

Every year, I like to root for the old guys at the Masters. I’ve been doing this ever since Jack Nicklaus, at age 46, won the 1986 Masters, his sixth and final green jacket. For many years after that tournament, I always hoped against hope that the Golden Bear could repeat the feat. There were several times that Jack showed flashes of his younger self, but could never seem to put 4 rounds together at Augusta and shock the golf world.

Next in line was Freddie Couples. Like me, Couples was born in 1959. I was at Congessional Country Club in DC in 1983 as a member of the media when Freddie won the 1983 Kemper Open and have been a fan ever since. A 1992 Masters winner, Couples contended for the green jacket in 2006, and would have been the oldest Masters winner had he pulled it off that year. “Boom Boom,” as he’s called, has been plagued with back problems throughout his career, but last year at age 63, made the cut at Agusta. This year, Freddie struggled with his back and missed the cut.

My old guy of choice the last several years has been Tiger Woods. I’ve never been a huge Tiger fan, but I do acknowledge that he is one of the top 2 golfers of all-time (I still think Jack is the best, but we can have that discussion another day). In recent years, Woods has had more surgeries that the “Operation” board-game guy, and has only played sporadically. At 43, Tiger won the 2019 Masters, a comeback story for the ages. This year, at 48, Woods will not win the Masters (his tournament ended at the time of this post), but did set the record for most consecutive cuts made at 24. Tiger will never be the player he once was, but his very presence at Augusta makes us believe he can do it one more time.

And speaking of old guys, this will be the final Masters for broadcaster Vern Lundquist, who will be forever linked with Nicklaus’ 1986 Masters win. Today’s TV broadcasters should take a lesson from Vern, who understood that it’s about pictures, not words. And if you listen very close this afternoon during today’s final round of the Masters, you might hear the words “Yes Sir!” ringing through the Georgia pines.

Until the next visit from The Booth…Old Guys Rule!



Sports Dogs Podcast: Masters Preview

In the Dogs’ latest pod, The Duke sits this one out, as we talk with Nick Ciattei of Mid Atlantic Golf Getaways and preview the 2024 Masters, which gets underway at Augusta National Golf Club. A complete breakdown of the first Major of the year, including our predictions of who will don the green jacket on Sunday!

R-Dog hacks out of some deep rough at the famed River course…