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The Masters – will he play?

By Florence Gordon

Published 11:50 PDT, Fri April 12, 2024

Although there’s a new generation of great golfers on the circuit, they haven’t made the impact on the industry the way Tiger Woods did during his reign. His story has been public from boyhood, to manhood. His disciplined training driven by his father (a high-ranking lieutenant colonal) drove Tiger to become not just a professional  golfer, but the best professional golfer in the world until, his personal life tragedies undermined his dream career and disappointed an army of fans. 

There’s a possibility of the future producing a Tiger Woods’ prodigy – son Charlie. I remember a much-televised father/son PNC golf tournament. All the other pro golfers’ sons were adults, Charlie was 11 years old. Tiger’s drive went deep into the trees. Eleven-year old Charlie unrattled, stood on the tee, hit a long shot straight down the middle of the fairway, turned to Tiger and said ‘it’s okay dad, I’ve got it”. 

Fast forward, four years to December 2023 and they teamed up again. They didn’t get to win the PNC Championship but Tiger and his son Charlie once again stole the show on the final day in Orlando. Charlie’s 355-yard drive on a par 4 and a chip-in for a birdie capped off the magic moment with a fist-pump that was reminiscent of his father in his prime, while Tiger Woods watched and applauded, visibly beaming with pride.

These are recent happy memories, but with the 2024 Masters taking place on April 11 to April 14, devoted golf fans hope Tiger won’t face a repeat of 2023. 

The 2023 Masters was really tough to watch while the bitter weather and Tiger’s physical health got the better of him. On that Friday, when the second round was suspended due to severe weather, followed by the third round on Saturday with Tiger teeing off on in the final threesome rain and severe weather rolled in again.

Woods, a five-time Masters champion, played 14 total holes on that cold and rainy Saturday when he began seriously struggling. Late in the day, Woods did not appear to be in fine health. Multiple rogue videos found their way to Twitter, of Woods' limping from his shot to his bag. It’s safe to assume the cold temperatures were clearly getting to the 15-time major winner. What fans feared, happened –Tiger Woods withdrew from the 87th Masters, citing a plantar fasciitis injury’ (Golf Digest April 9, 2023).

History of the Masters

With Bobby Jones retirement from championship golf in 1930 and with the assistance of Clifford Roberts, an astute investment banker in New York, Augusta National Golf Club was founded by the legendary golf champion, Bobby Jones. When Jones’ dream to build a golf course became a reality, it was decided the Augusta National Golf Club would be built near Augusta, Georgia. 

Since 1934, the Masters Tournament has been the home to some of golf’s greatest moments. Amidst blooming azaleas, towering pines and flowering dogwoods, the first full week of April ushers in a stage unique to golf. Over four days and 72 holes, the top qualifying players in the world representing some 23 countries will descend on its immaculate grounds to compete for a chance to capture the ‘Green Jacket’ and a place in Masters history. 

The Purse in 2023, 1st place was $3,240,000. At time of print the 2024 prize money had not yet been posted.

Masters 2024 Survey
(Golfweek/ March 29, 2024)

The coolest thing about the Masters from the golf pros themselves

• You’re walking down the same fairways where Bobby Jones was trying to figure it out. It’s a historical place and just to be a part of that for me is so cool.

• The enthusiasm by the galleries and the fact that the tournament is played at the same venue every year. Augusta National knows how to make it better and better.

• The entire atmosphere is fantastic but if you had to single out one thing I’d say the way it is manicured to the nth degree. You will never see another golf course like it.

• Just being in the field. When you're not there, you wish you were there, just to experience the whole week.

• There’s nothing like making that turn on to Magnolia Lane. I get goose bumps every time. That turn down Magnolia Lane is like coming down the stairs as a kid at Christmas. You just know something awesome is around the corner.

• The tradition. Just the history of the place. You feel it driving down Magnolia Lane. There's just nothing else like it.

Magnolia Lane – 60 Magnolia trees line the entrance to Augusta National. 

As someone who loves the sport, the closest I have come to the Masters is a story about a friend – a bachelor, a successful businessman who married late in life. On his honeymoon they drove from Toronto to Florida. Some how, he managed to book a game of golf at Augusta National Golf Club (a stop in their road trip). For a long-time single-digit handicap, this was a dream come true. When he announced to his bride she could go shopping while he took a few hours to play golf, (she not being a golfer couldn’t appreciate the importance of this opportunity) she insisted they continue their journey. He was broken hearted because he caved to her wishes. I love telling this story because he has to be the only golfer in existence that cancelled and didn’t show up for a game at the Augusta National Golf Club, home of The Masters. 

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