The Masters Tournament is upon us again, and anticipation is running high. Most of us will spend at least a portion of the Masters sitting in front of our TVs, making many of the same comments we made last year about how pleasing to the eye an immaculately kept golf course is when set against azaleas and pines. We'll marvel at putts that seem to roll forever. And we'll dream of seeing the course in person (to play it might be too much to even hope).
It's not a perfect place, though. Such places don't exist. At Augusta, there's the inherent stratification of society made obvious by an elite country club, not to mention issues of color and gender, both past and present.
But for all of that, the tournament is an annual rite of Spring, promising warmer days and brighter skies to those in colder parts of the world. And it's arguably the most popular tournament of the year.
With all its history and tradition, I'm continually learning new things about the Masters Tournament and Augusta National. For instance, did you know that there's only one hole on the course that doesn't feature a bunker? Chinese Fir, #14, is a beachless stretch of perfect turf. Or that the first Masters included four international players: two pros from England, one Canadian, and one English amateur? Did you know that alterations to the course have been taking place for its entire history?