As Bubba Watson's tears began to flow as he bent over to pick his ball out of the cup on the second playoff hole, I started wondering if Sunday at Augusta is, in fact, the greatest sporting event of the year. Not the entire tournament, just Sunday ... from start to finish.
The reality is the average - another polite way of saying normal - sports fan is only truly interested in the Super Bowl if his or her team is in it. Same with any Game 7.
Call me about the World Cup when America is in the last game. If the NHL playoffs were about a month shorter and half the number of teams were in it, I might be interested; but not enough to plan my day around them. And when is the last time the United States won a gold medal in an Olympic event that we weren't predicted and expected to win? Or if there was an upset, one that you got to watch live as it happened.
The Masters is different.
Even if your favorite golfer is out of it before the final hole (Phil Mickelson) or before the players on the leader board even tee off (Tiger Woods), you still tune in and stay tuned in to see who will don the green jacket. When's the last time you stayed up past 11 to watch the confetti come down on an NBA team if it wasn't your favorite. But admit it, if the sport was played under the lights you would have stayed up as late as necessary to see Watson's snap-hooked wedge shot.
What intrigues us? Unlike golf's other Majors, we have this course memorized ... and it mesmerizes us. We know the names of the bridges and the water hazards, and even though we ourselves can't fathom hitting that next shot over Rhea Creek, we know whatever golfer is getting ready to can ... maybe.
I've never played at Augusta, but in some ways feel like I have. And it never gets old.
-- Top 5 reasons we average golfers can relate to Bubba Watson:
1. He has never taken a lesson (but we should).
2. He doesn't care how his hair looks (but has more endorsements than us).
3. He swings like you and me (before you see the results).
4. He takes huge divots (but he does on purpose).
5. He can hit the ball 340 yards (on one shot, not two).