Chip Shots

The Masters

As the aroma of the dogwoods and azaleas begins to fade, I’ve realized that the Masters week is the longest shortest week of the golf year. I have never had the dedication necessary to run the New York Marathon, but this morning I feel like I not only ran the marathon, but also did it in record time!

I’ll explain. During the Masters I work for several radio networks including London based talkSPORT, the world’s largest sports radio station, and Boston based WBZ, which can be heard in 38 states. My third client is the rest of the world, including New Zealand. But my favorite is and always has been WLNG.

Because of the time difference, I began broadcasting in London at 2 AM our time, which is 7 AM there. I then do early morning for WLNG and continue throughout the day on WBZ and talkSPORT. Make no mistake, I am not complaining. Golf and radio are in my blood.

Before I get to the Masters, let me explain how fragile life can be. On Saturday morning, I got the call that no parent ever wants to receive. My precious daughter, Robin, called to say that she and my grandson had been involved in a serious car accident. Apparently, they were hit from behind by a truck which destroyed their car. By the grace of God, they sustained only minor injuries.

To be honest, at that moment, the Masters was very unimportant. When things of that nature happen, it is very easy just to appreciate the good times, knowing fully how your life can change with just one phone call.

Now on to the Masters. We showed up this week with very high expectations. Mickelson, a three-time Masters Champion at 47, already had a win this year. Two-time Masters Champion Bubba Watson had two wins and, of course, the greatest interest maker in sport, Tiger, was going to tee it up. And as a bonus, with a win, Rory McIlroy would have a chance to become only the sixth player in history to have won all four of golf’s Major Championships.

Gene Sarazen, Ben Hogan, Gary Player, Jack Nicklaus, and Tiger Woods are the only ones in that exclusive club. No Byron Nelson, Sam Sneed, Lee Trevino, or Tom Watson, but maybe the most glaring omission is no Arnold Palmer.

Through three rounds, Rory was in prime position to make it happen just three strokes off the lead held by Patrick Reed. The turning point for Reed may have occurred on just the second hole. Rory gained a stroke at the first and than had a four-foot putt at the second to tie Reed for the lead.

Despite a lot of golf left when Rory missed from close range, Reed took full advantage. In the end, it was Ricky Fowler and Jordan Spieth who applied the most heat on Reed. But give Reed his due . . . in the end, he proved his mettle and won the Green Jacket.

What a difference a Green Jacket makes — it’s a life changing event. It really is amazing to witness a golfer’s life change forever with the act of putting it on.

It is safe for me to say that no matter how happy Reed and his family are for his for his good fortune, it doesn’t compare to how grateful I feel this morning.

Now with the Masters in our rearview mirror, we start to focus on the US Open, to be played in the Indy’s backyard at Shinnecock. Although Tiger was not great this week, it was easy to see flashes of the old him. With some time to work on his game, there is little doubt that Woods will show up at the US Open as one of the favorites.

Oh, by the way, Tiger’s last Major win was 10 years ago, the US Open at Torrey Pines in California . . . that’s the Major he won playing with a broken leg.