(April 8) Oh, how wonderful it is that the Masters is now underway!

Not just underway, but underway in its accustomed springtime schedule, the time of year when the breathtaking Augusta National golf course is at its finest. The time of year, too, when the golf season’s natural flow perfectly reaches full flood force.

The coronavirus can no longer restrain it, nor can ignorant cries for the major tournament to be moved outside the state of Georgia — as if the Masters would be the Masters anywhere but Augusta National. That last suggestion is as, well, moronic as it would be to say that the Empire State Building should be moved to Natchez, Mississippi, or that the Tour de France be held in China.

Without overdoing the cliche of springtime symbolizing rebirth, one still can’t help but feel the rush of joy that COVID-19 is fading and big events returning just as Augusta’s azaleas bloom. To walk those grounds (as I have twice and wish I were doing today) is to experience an almost mystical understanding of how a particular place can find its purpose.

The great news this year is that the actual competition at the tournament is set up to be even more worthy than the gauzy sentiments. What golf fans want leading into the Masters is for all the top players to enter the championship in top form. This year, with one exception, they are.

Based on career accomplishments and spot in their career primes (broadly speaking), six players can be said to be vying for the current status as “best in the world.” Of those six, five — Dustin Johnson, Brooks Koepka, Bryson DeChambeau, Justin Thomas, and Jordan Spieth — have won tournaments since New Year’s (Johnson in a star-studded field in Saudi Arabia, the rest in the United States). Only Rory McIlroy has been off form this spring….

[The full column is at this link.]



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