Sunday, July 10, 2011

My Five Favorite Golf Events

   Having made another journey to the British Open this week -- it's become something of a summer present to myself -- it got me to thinking about my favorite golf events, and I'm not talking about the occasional birdie I make.

   Here are my five favorites:

  1. The Masters

    No surprise here. It's the best golf tournament in the world when you roll everything together -- the course, the history, the time of year, the feeling, the pimento cheese sandwiches and the green jackets. It's special enough that even non-golfers take a few minutes to look in on the azaleas in April.

   Almost without fail, the Masters finds a way to generate drama like no other tournament can consistently do. In the dead of summer, it makes me wish for the yellow sheen of pine pollen, Phil Mickelson going at the 13th green with his second shot and those big white hand-operated scoreboards that are better than anything computer-generated.

 2. The Ryder Cup

   Because it happens only every other year, it allows the storyline to twist and build until we all make more of it than we probably should but it still manages to deliver spectacular stories.

   Golf is a solitary pursuit but put into a team concept with flags and continental pride at stake, it matters like nothing else.

   And every decade or so, the Americans win.

3. The Open Championship

   Growing up, watching the slightly fuzzy television images from the Open Championship, it seemed so romantic -- in a golf kind of way. The wind, the knee-high fescue, the funny bounces, the dunes, the shots of the sea, the sweaters -- all of it captured my imagination and holds on to it today.

   It's probably the most important tournament in the world outside the United States and given our current standing in the world game, it only enhances the Open's stature.

   When it's played at the Old Course, it's magic -- even when Louis Oosthuizen wins by about 25 shots. When it's played somewhere else, even at Royal St. George's which hasn't inspired the poet's soul in many historians, it's a week that feels as different it looks to most of us.

  4. The Wells Fargo Championship

   A decade ago, we didn't have a PGA Tour event in Charlotte. Now people are fretting over what could happen if it's not renewed after the current contract expires in 2014. It's become special which many things try to be but few actually are.

   The annual springtime week at Quail Hollow Club has created its own niche in both Charlotte and in professional golf. It's our good fortune to have it in our city.

  5. The Heritage

    Rory McIlroy's victory at the U.S. Open may be the biggest win on the PGA Tour this year but landing a five-year title sponsorship agreement with RBC and Boeing to keep the tournament alive at Harbour Town Golf Links is on the list of biggest victories in 2011.

   It's a golf tournament scented with springtime, sunscreen and the good life. You're likely to see a gator sunning along a fairway and you might see Ernie Els riding bikes with his family around the island. It's a cocktail party with a golf tournament in the middle, all of it framed by Spanish moss and the Calibogue Sound. 



Anonymous said...

Good list, but I have to say....

#1 British Open - there is nothing more historic than a seaside links course in wind, sun, and rain. Peter Allis calling the action does not hurt either.

#2 The Masters - It is awesome. It is everything Ron says it is, just not the absolute best in my opinion.

#3 Hilton Head - It is laid back, and the course is great.

#4 Quail Hollow - It is nice to see an event in the hometown on a great course that attracts a great field.

#5 Ryder Cup - A great event losing appeal to me because of manufactured over the top exhuberance.

Wiley Coyote said...

Woods said he feels it's time for a change.

Tiger, you've changed everything else but yourself.

You have still to hit bottom and become humbled by your own deeds.