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Match Play is a golf/suspense novel. Dust of Autumn is a bloody one set in upstate New York. Prairie View is set in South Dakota, with a final scene atop Rattlesnake Butte. Life in the Arbor is a children's book about Rollie Rabbit and his friends (on about a fourth grade level). The Black Widow involves an elaborate extortion scheme. Doggy-Dog World is my memoir. And ES3 is a description of my method for examining English sentence structure.
In case anyone is interested in any of my past posts, an archive list can be found at the bottom of this page.
My newest novel, Happy Valley, can be found here.

Wednesday, April 15

2015 Masters

Nearly a week has gone by since this year’s tournament in Augusta, and I can now safely write about it. I’ve watched every Masters since it was first televised in 1954, and I have so many images floating around in my head it’s hard to keep them all straight: Jack’s tongue-extended putt for eagle on 15 in 1986; Curtis Strange’s dunking it in Rae’s Creek on 13 and again in the pond fronting 15 in 1985 to virtually give it away to Bernhard Langer; poor Greg Norman’s loss in extra holes to Larry Mize when Mize made an impossible chip-in on the second playoff hole; the anguished look on Roberto Devicenzo’s face when he learned in 1968 that he’d signed his card with the wrong score; Freddie Couples’ ball somehow hanging onto the side hill fronting the 15th green in 1992; the Nike swoosh showing its face to the world when Tiger chipped in on 16, the ball going well past the cup, then slowly turning back and teetering on the edge before dropping in; that oddly unathletic leap of Phil Mickelson when he made the winning putt on the 18th in 2006; too many more memories to recount here. Now I have another, Jordan Spieth making putt after putt to simply walk away with the 2015 green jacket. What a remarkable young man he is--a remarkable golfer at only 21 but also a remarkable young man who seems to epitomize what a gentleman in this gentleman's game should be.

The first tv coverage was in black and white, showing only the last four holes, not permitting us to see the unnatural beauty of the Augustan landscape. Each year that landscape becomes more and more beautiful, looking as though every flowering plant and bush and tree has been lovingly watered and trimmed by hundreds of caretakers, each blade of grass cut by hand, one blade at a time. And it was only in the last twenty years that we’ve been allowed to see the front nine. “No, no, no,” the Augusta National board members indicated, wagging a cautionary finger at us, “You can see only what we allow you to see, and watch only about three hours daily, regardless of what some of the players are doing when the cameras are not on. And you must never never make jokes about our course.” Jack Whitaker got a 5-year suspension from the CBS coverage for calling the gallery “a mob.” And jokester Gary McCord got a lifetime suspension for suggesting that the speed of the 17th green made it look like it had been “bikini-waxed.” And heaven help the gallery slob who screams out “MASHED POTATOES!” or “GO IN THE HOLE!” at someone’s tee shot. The Augusta police force would be on the miscreant immediately, escorting him in handcuffs to the nearest exit, warning him never ever again to darken the doors of their hallowed halls of ivy. I love this tournament, but the sacrosanctity of everything about it is annoying. All players and ticket holders seem required to bow and scrape as they enter down Magnolia Lane. And then we hear over and over about the Eisenhower tree, the Hogan Bridge, Amen Corner, the Crow’s Nest, Rae’s Creek, the ceremony of the Green Jacket, the par-3 tournament on Wednesday, and the ceremonial opening drives by past winners now so infirm they can hardly stand up. Arnold Palmer was this year’s infirm driver, nearly topping a low squibbler to the left. So, will I continue to watch this tournament despite my annoyance at the sobriety and sanctity of the tournament directors? You bet I will. And I’ll hope for either a second Jordan Spieth victory next year, or a rejuvenated Tiger’s fifth win, fifteenth major.
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