April 14, 2014

Masters Sunday is always special and, whether it’s a dramatic finish for the ages with a dozen players in the mix coming down the stretch or a Bubba Watson runaway victory, it never disappoints. After all, Augusta National is, and will always be, the show. The course is beautiful and made for HD TV viewing on a big screen TV unlike any other professional golf venue. Yesterday, however, was a particular treat for golf fans of all ages, with the Masters broadcast bookended by a wonderfully entertaining and incredibly moving special on Nick Faldo as the lead-in on CBS, and the Master golf followed by the first hour of a three-part Golf Channel presentation on the life of Arnold Palmer.

I found the Faldo special to be especially interesting, as it really peeled away the layers behind a very human and likeable person quite different from the stoic and almost robotic player that Faldo was during the prime of his career. CBS did a great job in introducing the Masters audience to a player who, along with Seve Ballesteros, inspired the growth of European golf as it is known today. From the Palmer special on Golf Channel I learned a number of things I hadn’t previously known about the man behind the carefully-crafted and well-protected Palmer image. Like him or not, there’s little doubt about the fondness folks who know him the best and have been around him the longest have for this iconic figure, and there’s no doubting the impact Palmer’s personality, likeability, and charitable work has had on the game of golf over the past five decades. While neither, I doubt, has been a saint – after all, who is? – and while neither Faldo nor Palmer have been strangers to controvery over the years, the specials shown around both ends of the Masters telecast made for some great golf viewing.

Were it not the Masters and Augusta National, the final round might have been considered a snoozer. While not possessing the same kind of edge-of-your-seat action of previous years, you couldn’t help but notice the future of professional golf unfolding in the wonderful games of Jordan Spieth and Jonas Blixt. Spieth has a great swing and a very mature way of presenting himself for a 20-year old. Blixt has more of a swashbuckling air about him, can really get it around the course from any and all directions, and has a short game to die for. I really enjoyed watching these two up-and-comers play, and it doesn’t require a whole lot of imagination to envision these two battling each other a few years down the road as the Woodses and Mickelsons start to make their way off center stage.

Filed in: Golf & Sports by The Great White Shank at 01:55 | Comments (0)
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