Top 10: Reasons we love the Masters

By Golf Channel DigitalApril 10, 2014, 7:00 pm

How do I love thee? Let me count the ways.

While there are an endless number of reasons to love the Masters, the Grill Room counts down the top 10 as the 78th edition gets underway.

[[{"type":"media","view_mode":"media_original","fid":"595726","attributes":{"alt":"","class":"media-image","height":"297","style":"display: block; margin-left: auto; margin-right: auto;","typeof":"foaf:Image","width":"610"}}]]

10. Amateurs in the field: The Masters honors its founder, amateur legend Bobby Jones, by extending invitations to notable amateurs and amateur champions around the world.

9. Magnolia Lane: The road to the Augusta National clubhouse is 330 yards long and is lined with a canopy of magnolia trees that date back to the mid-1800s. According to the Augusta Chronicle, there are 61 magnolia trees on each side of Magnolia Lane. Those trees' branches meet overhead, creating a tunnel effect that is particularly striking when they are in bloom. It has yet to be confirmed, but we hear this is what the walkway to heaven looks like.

8. The menu: Limited, like commercial interruptions, and ridiculously affordable and tasty. Pimento cheese sandwiches, egg salad sandwiches, chicken sandwiches, Coke, sports drinks and beer. Sandwiches are $1.50. A dollar-fifty, people. 

7. Par-3 Contest: Since 1960, a semi-social event on Augusta National's par-3 course has been played the day before the first round of the Masters Tournament. No player twho has won the nine-hole event has ever gone on to win the actual tournament the same year. Girlfriends and wives often caddie for their golfing beaus, and they bring their kids to the course. Talk about fun for the whole family.

6. Champions Dinner: The Champions Dinner has been an annual tradition at the Masters since 1952, when Ben Hogan suggested and hosted the first edition. The previous year's winner gets to select the menu – and he also has to pay. 

5. Ceremonial tee shots: Jock Hutchison and Fred McLeod hit the first ceremonial opening tee shots in 1963. For many years the trio of Sam Snead, Gene Sarazen and Byron Nelson filled the role. The much-loved tradition now has Arnold Palmer, Gary Player and Jack Nicklaus.

4. Drive, Chip & Putt Championship: Saying this year's inaugural Drive, Chip & Putt Championship was a success is like saying the Masters is just another golf tournament. Understatement.of.the.century. Eighty-eight juniors from around the U.S. and Canada converged on Augusta National the Sunday before the Masters - a scene alikened to Willy Wonka opening up his chocolate factory to children with golden tickets.

3. Limited commercial interruption: The Masters, by design, has fewer commercial breaks than any other golf tournament. While we'd love to never be taken away from coverage, I guess we can't complain about seeing 57 out of every 60 minutes.

2. Amen Corner: The second shot at the par-4 11th, all of the par-3 12th, and the tee shot at the par-5 13th at Augusta are nicknamed Amen Corner. This term was first used in print by author Herbert Warren Wind in his April 21, 1958 Sports Illustrated article about the Masters, and is one of the most beloved arenas in sport.

1. Green jacket: The tradition of the green jacket at Augusta National Golf Club dates to 1937. That year, members of the club wore green jackets during the tournament so that patrons in attendance could easily recognize them if they needed to ask questions. Slipping a jacket onto the winner of the Masters began in 1949. Even better? Women are sporting them now, too.

Getty Images

What's in the bag: CareerBuilder winner Rahm

By Golf Channel DigitalJanuary 22, 2018, 10:37 pm

Jon Rahm defeated Andrew Landry in a playoff to earn his second PGA Tour title at the CareerBuilder Challenge. Here's what's in his bag:

Driver: TaylorMade M4 (9.5 degrees), with Aldila Tour Green 75 TX shaft

Fairway wood: TaylorMade M3 (19 degrees), with Aldila Tour Green 75 TX shaft

Irons: TaylorMade P790 (3), P750 (4-PW), with Project X 6.5 shafts

Wedges: TaylorMade Milled Grind (52, 56 degrees), Milled Grind Hi-Toe (60 degrees), with Project X 6.5 shafts

Putter: TaylorMade Spider Tour Red

Ball: TaylorMade TP5x

Getty Images

Strange irked by Rahm-Landry friendly playoff

By Jason CrookJanuary 22, 2018, 9:45 pm

Curtis Strange knows a thing or two about winning golf tournaments, and based on his reaction to the CareerBuilder Challenge playoff on Sunday, it’s safe to say he did things a little differently while picking up 17 PGA Tour victories in his Hall-of-Fame career.

While Jon Rahm and Andrew Landry were “battling” through four extra holes, Strange, 62, tweeted his issues with the duo’s constant chit-chat and friendly banter down the stretch at La Quinta Country Club, where Rahm eventually came out on top.

The two-time U.S. Open champ then engaged with some followers to explain his point a little more in depth.

So, yeah ... don't think he's changing his perspective on this topic anytime soon ever.

Getty Images

Randall's Rant: The Euros won't just roll over

By Randall MellJanuary 22, 2018, 9:36 pm

The Ryder Cup may not be the King Kong of golf events yet, but you can hear the biennial international team event thumping its chest a full eight months out.

As anticipation for this year’s big events goes, there is more buzz about Europe’s bid to hold off a rejuvenated American effort in Paris in September than there is about the Masters coming up in April.

Thank Europe’s phenomenal success last weekend for that.

And Rory McIlroy’s impassioned remarks in Abu Dhabi.

And the provocative bulletin board material a certain Sports Illustrated writer provided the Europeans a couple months ago, with a stinging assault on the Euro chances that read like an obituary.

McIlroy was asked in a news conference before his 2018 debut last week what he was most excited about this year.

The Ryder Cup topped his list.

Though McIlroy will be trying to complete the career Grand Slam at Augusta National come April, he talked more about the Ryder Cup than he did any of the game’s major championships.

When asked a follow-up about the American team’s resurgence after a task-force overhaul and the injection of young, new star power, McIlroy nearly started breaking down the matchup. He talked about the young Americans and how good they are.

“Yeah, the Americans have been, obviously, very buoyant about their chances and whatever, but it’s never as easy as that. ... The Ryder Cup’s always close,” McIlroy said. “I think we’ll have a great team, and it definitely won’t be as easy as they think it’s going to be.”



McIlroy may have been talking about Alan Shipnuck’s bold prediction after the American Presidents Cup rout last fall.

Or similar assertions from TV analysts.

“The Ryder Cup is dead – you just don’t know it yet,” Shipnuck wrote. “One of the greatest events in sport is on the verge of irrelevancy. The young, talented, hungry golfers from the United States, benefitting from the cohesive leadership of the Task Force era, are going to roll to victory in 2018 in Paris.”

European Ryder Cup captain Thomas Bjorn won’t find words that will motivate the Euros more than that as he watches his prospective players jockey to make the team.

And, boy, did they jockey last weekend.

The Euros dominated across the planet, not that they did it with the Ryder Cup as some rallying cry, because they didn’t. But it was a heck of an encouraging start to the year for Bjorn to witness.

Spain’s Jon Rahm won the CareerBuilder Challenge on the PGA Tour, England’s Tommy Fleetwood started the week at Abu Dhabi paired with American and world No. 1 Dustin Johnson and won the European Tour event, and Spain’s Sergio Garcia won the Singapore Open in a rout on the Asian Tour.

And McIlroy looked close to being in midseason form, tying for third in his first start in three months.

Yes, it’s only January, and the Ryder Cup is still a long way off, with so much still to unfold, but you got an early sense from McIlroy how much defending European turf will mean to him and the Euros in Paris in September.

The Masters is great theater, the U.S. Open a rigorous test, The Open and the PGA Championship historically important, too, but the Ryder Cup touches a nerve none of those do.

The Ryder Cup stokes more fervor, provokes more passion and incites more vitriol than any other event in golf.

More bulletin board material, too.

Yeah, it’s a long way off, but you can already hear the Ryder Cup’s King Kong like footsteps in its distant approach. Watching how the American and European teams come together will be an ongoing drama through spring and summer.

Getty Images

Quail Hollow officials promise players easier conditions

By Rex HoggardJanuary 22, 2018, 9:14 pm

Quail Hollow Club - a staple on the PGA Tour since 2003 - debuted as a longer, tougher version of itself at last year’s PGA Championship, receiving mixed reviews from players.

The course played to a lengthened 7,600 yards at last year’s PGA and a 73.46 stroke average, the toughest course in relation to par on Tour in 2017. As a result, it left some players less than excited to return to the Charlotte, N.C.-area layout later this spring for the Wells Fargo Championship.

It’s that lack of enthusiasm that led officials at Quail Hollow to send a video to players saying, essentially, that the course players have lauded for years will be back in May.

The video, which includes Quail Hollow president Johnny Harris and runs nearly five minutes, begins with an explanation of how the first hole, which played as a 524-yard par 4 at the PGA, will play much shorter at the Wells Fargo Championship.

“I had a number of my friends who were playing in the tournament tell me that tee was better suited as a lemonade stand,” Harris joked of the new tee box on the fourth hole. “I doubt we’ll ever see that tee used again in competition.”

Harris also explained that the greens, which became too fast for some, will be “softer” for this year’s Wells Fargo Championship.