For some, spring officially begins when the forsythia blooms and the heat bills drop. But for sports fans, the eternal sign of spring is the Masters. Round one of golf's greatest tournament starts April 7 and ends Sunday, April 10. The practice rounds kick off today for the Masters 2011, and the world's best golfers like Phil Mickelson and Tiger Woods are gathered in Georgia to hit the links at Augusta National Golf Club.
There's a lot to love about golf. I know, I know, you think it's so boring and so dull. You've said things like you'd rather watch paint dry than sit on your couch and watch Tiger, Phil, or Rory swing a club, walk on the grass, then swing a club some more. I think it's time you had a change of heart, though. The Masters is one of the sports world's toughest tickets and simply put, it's a big deal. Here's why you should care.
Golf is like showbiz, and there are a lot of stars to look out for. Of course you've heard of Tiger -- I don't think any golfer is more infamous than this loosey-goosey lover. He might be the one you love to hate, but Phil Mickelson is the man you should love to love. His wife, Amy, is battling breast cancer and he plays each course and each match with her in mind. After a few months of staying at home while Phil hit the links, Amy has been spotted back in the crowd in recent tournaments cheering him on. Phil couldn't possibly be more different from Tiger, and his devotion to his wife and to her cause is heartwarming.
Another star to watch is Rory McIlroy, the 21-year-old Northern Ireland phenom with the cute curly-cue hair sticking out from his baseball cap. He's adorable, but more importantly, he's fun to watch. He looks like a boy among men out there on the course yet doesn't play like he's intimidated or remotely nervous. Rory is inspiring to watch and fun to listen to when he's interviewed.
Besides Tiger and Phil, there are five other golfers that could easily win the green jacket and take home the top prize at the Masters. Martin Kramer, Lee Westwood, Luke Donald, Graeme McDowell, and Paul Casey each have a likely shot of coming in first. With a competitive landscape like that, the tournament is sure to be full of cliffhangers and nail biting.
So open up the screen door to your porch, let the spring breeze flow into your living room, and pour yourself a mimosa to celebrate one of the greatest sporting events of the entire year.
Will you watch the Masters? Do you like watching golf?
Photo via Fred Jala/Flickr