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Thoughts on the 2005Masters
MAPLEWOOD, NJ.—The 2005 version of the Masters tournament is the 69th time that this championship will be conducted. As for the favorites, Tiger heads the list with odds at 5 to 2 followed by 2004 champion Phil Mickelson at 11 to 2, Els at 6 to 1, Vijay at 7 to 1 and Retief Goosen rounds out the top five at 16 to1. However, it’s really a toss up, and heading into this year’s event it’s hard to say who really has an advantage.
A case can be made for any of the favorites, but if one examines the last few tournaments, the play has been as erratic as the weather and once again weather can play a role in determining who ultimately is crowned the winner. So far this year, the real story in golf has been the weather; starting with the rain soaked and shortened western swing where back in February, the Nissan Open, contested at the Riviera country club in Pacific Palisades, California was limited to 36 holes to the recently completed BellSouth Classic that finished this past Monday after the first two rounds could not be played because of rain. If the weather is sunny, look for one of the top guns. If there is rain, look for a dark horse like a Mike Weir of two years ago to claim the green jacket.
On matters relevant to the Masters, one could not think of the Masters without thinking of Hootie Johnson, Chairman of Augusta National club and tournament. It was not too long ago that one Ms. Martha Burke led a group protesting the exclusion of female members. One does not need to dig too deep into the crevices of the cranium to also recall that there was a time that people of color were also excluded. In response to a question about female membership, Hootie flatly stated “Well, we’ve adopted a new policy. We don’t talk about Club matters, period.” When pressed because in fact he has spoken about club matters he once again reiterated “I said we have a new policy. We don’t talk about Club matters, period.” When asked about commercial sponsorship returning prefaces with “Is order restored”, the response was “Well, I guess order is restored, and we are happy to have them back. I said once, and I will still say this, repeat it, that we could go on indefinitely without sponsors” Perhaps I’m making a mountain out of a mole hill, but it serves as a reminder that as great and competitive tournament as this is, it is still an invitational tournament and as such Hootie makes it very clear.
So as I think of the Masters, this year’s first major, many thoughts came to mind, one hoping to see the best in the world dueling against one another, number one Vijay in the final pairing on Sunday against number two Tiger all the while thinking of its Hootie; and his policies and what he represents today, who he represents from yesterday, and who he will represent as we move into the tomorrow’s.