Tim's Take: The Masters

By Tim Guidera - bio | email

AUGUSTA, GA. (WTOC) - So many things are called something they're not at Augusta.

A second cut known elsewhere as rough. Patrons others refer to as fans.

But nothing here has ever been more appropriately named than the beginning of this Masters Tournament, the ceremonial opening shots that were as heartwarming a ceremony as they were  poignant open to this week.

"Well, you know,'' said Arnold Palmer, who hit one of those shots, "that's wonderful.''

Especially wonderful this year with Jack Nicklaus joining Palmer on the first tee for the first time. They took just one swing each, but did more than enough to personify Masters history.

"It wasn't any different, though,'' said Nicklaus. "You're standing up there and you've got a big crowd and a nice line to hit it between and you try to hit it.''

Except it was different, from anything else in sports, as much for its statement as its symbolism.

Truth is both Palmer and Nicklaus would prefer not to do this.

They are among Augusta's most regal champions, sharing 10 green jackets and 95 Masters appearances and having both moved the game forward in their own way.

Palmer did it with a charisma that generated new attention for golf and drew an unmatched affection from Augusta galleries, Nicklaus with a pursuit of excellence that earned him the fans' unremitting respect.

But they do it anyway because they know that's what people want - whether it's to relive memories or create them.

And along the way they managed to enjoy the experience themselves too.

"It's a great feeling and it kind of typifies Augusta and what happens here,'' said Palmer. "The politeness of the crowds, everything is overwhelming."

Nothing as much as the sense everything was as it should be with these two great champions hitting the shots to start the week at Augusta.

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