Though the 2019 golf season started last September (no, don’t ask), this week sees the first ‘major’ of the season, the only one that has the same home every season, the Masters, at Augusta, Georgia.
Its fair to say that until recently, the people who run golf at Augusta were a little behind the time, would be putting it mildly. The first to break the race barrier at the golf course, 1975, and only then because they had no choice, because he’d qualified for the Masters. Just imagine if they said Tiger Woods couldnt take part, well… 1990 saw the first African American member, only after numerous complaints by members…about letting them in! Lovely people, but this is the deep South, so…?
For women, it was even worse, the first female member, with all the consternation it caused about having a woman on the grounds, not until 2012. The first competitive rounds by a woman at Augusta? Yesterday! Yes, a small number of female amateur golfers were given the ‘honour’ yesterday of being allowed to play competitive golf at Augusta. Wow!
I’d love to say this was the exception to the rule, but it isnt. Muirfield, near Edinburgh, only permitted women to be members in 2017 when they were told they would be taken off the Open circuit if they didnt. Even then it took 2 votes to ‘convince’ them to agree to this, and the secretary of the course described it as a sad day when they did eventually approve it, what a lovely gentleman, not!
Of course, whats happened now is that the ‘gentlemen’ in charge of Augusta are claiming this as a very special event, and in 1 sense at least, it is. But at the same time, the fact that it should have happened about 50 years ago is irrelevant to them! So congratulations are due to Jennifer Kupcho, for becoming the first woman to win a competitive tournament at Augusta (only last of 3 rounds, for leaders played on course), but Augusta, dont be so proud of being such a dinosaur that its taken you until now to catch up with the modern world.
How to annoy a bunch of grumpy, white, misogynists with a video? Oh, easy!
About the only blessing of being unable to get through a whole day at work yesterday, because of my back flaring up badly again, was the fact that I got the chance to catch some of the Par 3 Tournament at the Masters, from Augusta, Georgia. In truth, seeing the actual coverage of the event only started at 8 pm my time, I would have been home in time for most of it anyway. Yes, the program started about an hour earlier, with the presenters just talking, but anyway, I survived all of that!
When I was young (mid – late teens or so), I was actually a reasonable golfer, think I got to a 12 or 13 handicap at one point. Not good enough to do anything major, but at least I could have a decent walk around a course without having to wander off into the rough too often! After that point, I started getting more involved in cricket, and I started to play less, and less, until I reached a point where I just didnt play any more. 20 years or so later, I was playing what the US people call Par 3 golf (UK folk probably know it as pitch & putt) for fun for a while, and while the basic skills were still there, its fair to say that my body meant much of the talents had receded, not helped by various injuries, arthritis, and the like. Now, with my back gone, I wouldnt even try any more, though in truth, its been a few years now, anyway.
All that meant though, that I’ve tended to follow golf over the years, to some degree or another. More so back then when I was playing a bit, than now, though I still watch some, and unless there is baseball on, I will probably watch the final round of the Masters on Sunday, for sure.
But yes, on the Wednesday, before the big event gets started, Augusta has this sweet little par 3 event, which seems to be played by a selected number of the tournament players, past champions who will, and wont be playing the main event (because of age), and randomized others! The others are mainly relatives of the players, usually children, but not always.
Anyway, when I was a young ‘woman’, one of the players I grew up loving to watch was Tom Watson. Always seemed a nice guy, though in truth, he was probably as competitive as the rest of them! Still, if I say that now, he’s one of those that no longer plays in the event proper, due to his age, it shows we’re all getting old! Amazingly, less than a decade ago, he was runner up in the Open, at the age of 59, and nearly won it!
Still, the story is, last night, despite age, despite everything, every putt he hit seemed to drop, whatever the distance, and some were lengthy. Yes, he won the whole event, though I suspect that some of today’s players dont try too hard, partly not to risk injury, partly as they’re just having fun, but anyway… There is 1 strange jinx, no player who has won the Par 3 event has won the Masters in the same year. Its going to happen at some point, but not this year, for sure!
But yes, for an old lady like myself, it was lovely to see the likes of Watson, Player, and Nicklaus doing so well in the tournament. We all grow old, and weary, but seemingly some less than others! Congratulations, Tom, enjoy the moment.
Yes, the video tonight is the blindingly obvious one, given the blog title. A live performance by the late, great, Ray Charles