It was quite a day at the Masters par 3 contest. A whopping nine -- count em -- NINE -- holes-in-one were made. By far the record. Sure, these holes are short by regular standards, typically between 70 and 140 yards but, still, a hole-in-one is a hole-in-one, dammit. In all the years I played golf, I never got one, though I was close a couple times.
Eighty year old Gary Player, the ultimate class act over the decades, managed to knock in an ace. How great was that to see?
On the same hole, both Justin Thomas and Rickie Fowler got holes-in-one on back-to-back swings off the tee. Amazing.
See all the players yukking it up. See the wives and girlfriends having a great time. See the kids and grandkids sporting their spiffy white Augusta uniforms with their hero's name on the back. From five year old to eighty year old, see everybody absolutely joyous. What could be better than that?
The par 3 contest at the Masters is most definitely a feel good occasion for everybody on the course, gallery included, to the viewers at home. Who could not smile at all the pure happiness that was on display?
But things will change dramatically when the real tournament gets underway tomorrow. This is no laughing matter. Serious business and brutal competition will come into play. Everybody wants to win a green jacket.
Thing is, the whining has already started about how tough the conditions may be for the first couple days. Besides the always lightning fast greens, it's supposed to be windy as well.
To which yours truly says -- so what? Who cares what Mother Nature brings? All the contestants have to play the same holes under the same conditions, so what does it matter? Quit with the whining already about how tough it might be.
On a similar note, other than their fragile egos, what difference does it make if the winning player's score is 15 OVER par rather than 15 UNDER?
Ben Hogan once famously remarked he had brought a golf course "to its knees". Well gee, I never knew a golf course HAD knees. But if so, what's so wrong about it fighting back once in a while and bringing players to THEIR knees?
It is what it is. Play it and shut up.
Besides, a little wind can't be that tough. If they wanted to make a golf course REALLY tough, here's a few suggestions ----
Are you tired of seeing the pretty boys routinely torch par 5 holes for eagle 3's? Move the tees back -- a lot. How about one that's 800 yards? Get the Big Berthas out for that one fellows. Let's see you get THERE in 2.
Dogleg, schmogleg. How about a hole or two that requires rappelling down the side of a mountain somewhere between tee and green?
Or a par 3 that's 300 yards -- all carry over a lake. Better yet, the only way to get to the green is by canoe with that same lake well stocked with hungry alligators and hippos shot up with steroids. That would separate the men from the boys, not to mention making the inevitable "cut" a lot easier. Some of the field simply wouldn't be around for the weekend -- or forever more for that matter. Critter food. They'd have to REALLY want that green jacket to "play on".
Now THOSE would be tough conditions.
A little wind is cause for alarm?
They need to shut up, be grateful, and realize how easy they have it.
Things could be worse -- a LOT worse