It has been a long winter and most Canadians are looking forward to finally putting away their snow shovels, skis, and winter clothes for the season.
The month of April marks the beginning of many great things in the world of sports. Major league baseball is back and the Blue Jays will host the Brewers in their home opener on April 11. The Maple Leafs are battling to make the playoffs which begin on April 12, and this weekend the Masters is back in Augusta, Georgia.
Although the PGA season officially began back in October, the Masters truly means the beginning of the golf season for most Canadians. The Masters is the first major tournament of the 2017 season and it features the top 90 players in the world, all vying for the coveted green jacket.
Danny Willett, who hails from England, will be back to defend his 2016 Masters title. Jordan Speith will be playing in his fourth Masters and already has one victory along with two second place finishes. Bubba Watson also has played well in recent Masters with victories in 2012 and 2014, and lefty Phil Mickelson is looking for his fourth green jacket after wins in 2004, 2006, and 2010.
World number one player Dustin Johnson is looking to win his first green jacket at Augusta after three consecutive wins on tour in 2017.
Jason Day and Rory McIIroy will also be competing in the Masters and although both have won numerous times on the PGA tour, neither has yet to wear a green jacket. Rory could potentially complete the career grand slam with a victory at Augusta this week.
There will be three Canadians in the field for this weekend’s Masters. Mike Weir won at Augusta in 2003 and Mackenzie Hughes and Adam Hadwin will both be playing in their first Masters, after wins on tour this season.
The weather may be a factor this weekend should rain be in the forecast. Dry weather means that the greens will be fast and treacherous at Augusta. The pin positions are always difficult, come the weekend and should there be rain, scores may be considerably lower than if the sun shines.
They say that the Masters does not start until “the back 9 on Sunday”. So let’s all sit back, fasten our seat belts and enjoy all the excitement this weekend at Augusta. Television coverage begins on CBS at 5 p.m. on Wednesday afternoon with the par 3 contest.
The ceremonial tee shots will feature Jack Nicklaus and Gary Player on Thursday morning. Arnold Palmer will sadly be missed, but I am sure that he will be in everyone’s hearts this weekend in Augusta.
Next Week: Getting Ready for Golf in 2017