All I have now are Masters memories as iconic tournament takes the week off

first_img Related So now we wait to see if the Masters will take place again this fall. It won’t seem the same being played amid the gold leaves of Augusta National, but as far as I’m concerned, if one sporting event needs to be played, it’s the Masters. Tony Finau’s inspiring trek around Augusta National not surprising to old friend Tony Finau finishes in tie for fifth at Masters, but laments one bad swing at No. 12 Golf’s majors announce new dates for 2020 events SALT LAKE CITY — In a perfect world, I’d be in Augusta, Georgia, right now, enjoying 80-degree temperatures, roaming the verdant green fairways of Augusta National, catching some of the Masters Par-3 Tournament along with a few other thousand “patrons.” Then starting Thursday we’d all settle in to watch Tiger Woods begin the defense of his remarkable 2019 victory. But these are not perfect days by any means, as the Masters, along with every other sporting event in America and most of the world has closed up shop while the coronavirus pandemic has brought everyone’s lives to a sudden halt. For the first time since the end of World War II in 1946, there’s no Masters in April.We all hope the Masters will be back, even if it might be played in mid-November (the iconic tournament announced earlier this week it will take place then if the world gets pretty much back to normal by that point). Mike Sorensen: Tony Finau punches ticket to next year’s Masters with spectacular Sunday finishcenter_img I’m not shy about admitting the Masters is my favorite sporting event to cover or attend, No. 1 on my list after covering thousands of games and events for four decades as a sports writer. It’s better than a Super Bowl, a Final Four or a beach volleyball game, all of which I’ve covered during my long career.What makes it so great is the setting, with a beautiful golf course that seemingly doesn’t have a single blade of grass out of place. Of course there’s the beautiful azaleas and dogwoods that are usually in full bloom in early April. Not that we deserve to be treated special, but the Masters takes care of the media better than any other with a spectacular, first-class media center that opened three years ago with the finest amenities you can imagine. The fact that it lasts nearly a week rather than one day makes the Masters extra special.I’ve been privileged to attend the Masters more than a half-dozen times and here are some of the highlights of my experience.• At my first Masters in 1993, a local player, Provo resident Dan Forsman, was in contention most of the week, chasing eventual winner Bernhard Langer. He was just a stroke off the lead and had the crowd behind him when he came to the famed par-3 No. 12 hole on Sunday afternoon. I watched in horror as his chances for the green jacket went kerplunk when he deposited two shots into Rae’s Creek and made a quadruple-bogey 7. Despite the disappointing finish, Forsman couldn’t have been more gracious as he talked to me and a couple of other reporters afterward.• In 2004 I was there to see how Mike Weir, the former BYU golfer and then-Draper resident, defended the title he won the previous April in a sudden-death playoff over Len Mattiace. It wasn’t a good weekend for Weir, who shot the worst opening-round score of a defending champion with a 79, then bounced back with a 70 the second day to miss the cut by one. For some reason, which I still can’t understand, I decided to head home early and I missed Phil Mickelson’s first victory in the Masters Sunday afternoon.• Clay Ogden was my ticket to the 2006 tournament as the Utah native and BYU golfer was one of five amateurs in the 90-player field thanks to his win in the U.S. Public Links Tournament. The 21-year-old was like a kid in a candy store, rubbing shoulders with the world’s best golfers for several days and staying in the famed “Crow’s Nest” above the Augusta National clubhouse. Alas, Ogden didn’t make the cut for the final two rounds, going 83-76. That was the year I was able to secure a greenside seat at No. 18 and watched the final 10 groups finish, and this time I was on hand to see Mickelson win as he earned his second green jacket.• In 2018, I was able to take my wife, Connie, and though she’s not a huge golf fan, she appreciated the grandeur of Augusta National and traipsing around the hallowed grounds. That was the year we followed Tony Finau around in his first Masters for the par-3 Tournament with his four little kids wearing those white caddie jumpsuits. At hole No. 7 we were up by the green when we saw his tee shot roll in the hole for an ace. However, we weren’t watching toward the tee when he did his famous sprint up the fairway, sprain his ankle and put it back in place. That became one of the big stories of the week and Finau ended up finishing in a tie for 10th place despite playing on a swollen ankle all week. Related Tony Finau’s dream comes true — he’s playing with Tiger Woods in final group of Masters • Last year, Finau came in as the No. 15th-ranked golfer in the world, so it was no surprise when he tied the course front-nine record with a 30 and his third-round 64 put him in the final group Sunday morning with Tiger Woods and Francesco Molinari. I had been the only person to interview Finau the previous day, but he was brought into the fancy interview room after his 64. Sunday’s final round was moved up five hours because of an impending thunderstorm and I was able to follow the threesome most of the day amid one of the largest galleries (as well as the Masters treats the media, they don’t allow you inside the ropes like other golf tournaments) I’ve ever seen. In the end, Rae’s Creek ended up being a big factor as both Finau and Molinari hit their tee shots there at No. 12, while Tiger didn’t and Finau finished in a tie for fifth, two shots behind Woods. I felt bad for Tony, but it was fun being part of history and witnessing Tiger’s fifth Masters’ victory after his long drought. Relatedlast_img

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