The roars echoing through the massive loblolly pine trees have been silenced. Despite government orders to limit congregating, the azaleas remain clustered in large groups!
The pine straw, always looking like it is meticulously placed, lays untouched by the usual thousands of feet. The honorary starters are patiently awaiting the 8:00 AM call to the first tee. For the past several years, the Golden Bear, Jack Nicklaus, and the wee Gary Player have served in this capacity, and will do so once again. Player, always the first to pat himself on the back for his physical fitness, still thinks he can compete and drops to the ground and does 25 push-ups before launching a 247-yard drive. Shortly after Player’s short tee ball lands, the 18-time major champion plants a peg in the ground and pumps a low bullet cut shot 275 yards down the middle of the hole they call Tea Olive. The 2020 Masters Golf Tournament is officially underway!
At 8:12 AM, the first competitive group stepped to the opening hole, but with one glaring absence. Caddies have been banned from Augusta along with the throngs of fans. (Excuse me, I meant the gathering of patrons!) Precautions to help the spreading of the Coronavirus have been paramount in the planning and execution of allowing the 86 year-old competition to commence, and thus, as many people as possible will be barred from the former nursey grounds. With the disbarment of caddies, the players will need to adjust. Many have petitioned Chairman Fred Ridley to allow emotional support animals to accompany the players along the manicured fairways. All requests were denied. The golfers would be on their own, which means one thing…gigantic Tour bags have been replaced with lightweight stand bags and Sunday bags! A few players showed up with push carts but were quickly rebuffed. Lug it yourself or hit the road was the clear message.
One of the premier pairings include green jacketless stars Rory McIlroy, Dustin Johnson and Brooks Koepka. The three premier bombers on the PGA Tour have a combined record of nine major victories, but zero Masters victories. Another threesome of interest included defending champion Tiger Woods, who’s Champion’s dinner consisted of fajita’s, sushi and sashimi served on the deck. (In actuality, the entire meal was served outside with tables of two placed at the minimum social distancing distance of six feet. Floral centerpieces were replaced by plastic containers of Clorox wipes and Purell!) Paired with the 5-time champion is Nick Faldo and Danny Willett. When questioned about the odd pairing of Woods, Faldo and Willett, the tournament committee rationalized that the trio could engage in conversing about how all three won a Masters because of a complete collapse of others! The final featured pairing is Tyler Duncan, Sungjae Im and Nate Lashley. Why is this a potential featured group? With zero patrons allow inside the gates, these players are used to playing in front of nobody and that could potentially put them in their comfort zone!
The first major of the season is underway and fans watching at home are elated with the spring’s first major sporting event plastered everywhere on their televisions. CBS Sports, in an unprecedented move, is sharing coverage with any other entity willing to pony up $5.75 million. Content for every television channel these days is a challenge and the Masters high ratings are just the ticket for many of them. The Food Network bought in and will critique all Champions Dinners from 1997-2020, while Guy Fieri will comb through the greater Augusta area in search of Diners, Drive-ins and Dives. The SciFi Channel negotiated a lesser rate but only for the rights to continually play the horrifying victories by Trevor Immelmann and Mike Weir! Surprisingly, the Golf Channel did not get in on the offer. Executive heads at the Golf Channel instead voted to directly compete with the Masters by airing countless episodes of “Playing Lessons from The Champions Tour,” reruns of “the Big Break,” and highlights from the 2019 Korn Ferry Tour. “Live From The Masters” will be replaced by “Live From The Cactus Tour.” Good luck boys.
As for the results of the 2020 Corona Masters…please stay tuned or email us at Podcast@glorifieddonkey.com with your perfect scenario of how this year’s event will unfold and who the eventual champion will be. Be creative, be funny and be safe at this time!