Every day, thousands of people will visit the Harry Winston Gallery of the Smithsonian’s Geology Gems and Minerals exhibit to experience the elegance, enchantment and enigma of the Hope Diamond, according to the Smithsonian National Museum of Natural Science website.
But what if you could only visit the Hope Diamond for seven days out of the year and you had to enter a lottery to win your ticket to even see the Hope Diamond?
The Masters Golf Tournament is the Hope Diamond of golf, not only for golfers, but also sports fans around the world. The Masters not only marks the official beginning of spring and golf season, but is also the most highly anticipated golf tournament on the Professional Golf Association Tour.
Augusta National Golf Course, located in the heart of Augusta, Ga., is one of the most famous golf courses in the world and on the bucket list for almost every golfer.
Beautiful fuchsia azaleas surround the emerald toned fairways, the rich marbled white sand bunkers wrap around the crystal clear ponds and are waiting 51 weeks out of the year to echo the roars of the crowd after the inaugural first tee shot has been hit by past Master champions Arnold Palmer, Jack Nicklaus and Gary Player.
“The Masters is the best sporting event I have ever covered, they always think three steps ahead. They have really kept the tradition of Bobby Jones alive; they always have legends of the games hit the opening tee shot. That tradition really ties the past to the present. It is just a really special event,” said Bob Buttitta, the golf writer for the Ventura County Star, who has attended and covered the Masters since 2005.
The Super Bowl Champions have been named, baseball is just beginning and hockey is in a dull period, which allows golf to be the main event. For golfers living on the east coast who experience all four seasons, they have been forced to leave their clubs in the corner collecting dust.
The Masters is the beginning of spring for golfers in the sense that the snow has finally melted off Magnolia Lane at Augusta and play can officially commence.
“The Masters is at the perfect time and allows for golf to steal the spotlight for a week. The Masters will be the major story for the VC Star all week long,” Buttitta said.
The Masters is the first major tournament of the PGA Tour schedule. The event is truly a tradition unlike any other. It is the only major to return to the same course every year.
PGA professionals will arrange their schedules upon receiving an invitation to make sure they have adequate time to prepare for lightning fast putting greens, ankle thick rough, pristine undulating fairways and greens and the chance to be fitted into a green jacket.
“I’ll wear a Masters sweater and I’ll have people start talking to me about the previous years Masters Tournament. The logo transcends golf, it is truly the fabric of our culture,” Buttitta said. “We reference baseball with Babe Ruth and we reference golf with the Masters and winning the green jacket.”
“The Masters is the best tournament in golf, it’s when the players passion really shows and the players are performing at their best, there is nothing like a Tiger fist pump after he sinks a clutch birdie putt,” Blair Walters, a professional baseball player said.
The Masters has something for everyone whether it is tuning in to watch the impeccable play by the 90 best golfers in the world or if it’s watching to see the beautiful backdrops of Augusta.
“I don’t watch very much golf, but I have never missed a Masters Sunday. The Masters doesn’t really start until the second shot on hole 11 of Amen Corner late Sunday afternoon. You can really feel the pressure and energy radiating through the television screen,” Morgan Lorant, a weekend warrior on the golf course said.
“The Masters is the World Series of golf, you watch to see the shots these guys can pull off under a high pressure situation,” Walters said. “You’re nobody in the golf world until you win the Masters.”
The million-dollar question is who will be named the Masters Champion and earn the most prestigious trophy in golf: the green jacket?
Published April 2, 2014