The Open Championship: what makes it so special

 

The Open Championship is truly the most historic tournament in all of major golf. What is it about the tournament that is so magical? The courses play a huge role in it.

 

The Open Championship is near yet again, six times and golf’s oldest major championship will take center stage at the legendary Royal Birkdale Golf Club. With the Masters and U.S. Open being won by Sergio Garcia and Brooks Koepka respectively, anybody can come out and win the coveted Claret Jug.

 

But, what is it about The Open Championship that captures the hearts of golf fans all over the world? One of the magical things about the tournament is the rich history of the event, which dates all the way back to the 1860’s.

 

This alone, adds to the intrigue, as you walk to links lands, and feel the history beneath your feet. Each course tells a story, as you dive into a fairy tale filled with Kings, Queens and noble knights.

 

The tournament is so old, that there are courses that were Open Championship hosts, that folks may have forgotten about. In particular, Musselburgh Links, a nine hole course, that has hosted The Open, but last hosted in 1889.

 

That just shows how long this great tournament has stretched. Not only that, Prestwick, the legendary course which was where the tournament was born, has hosted The Open 24 times but the last one, incredibly was all the way back in 1925.

 

With Royal Birkdale being the host course this year, it’s a course that has brought fans many memories. From Arnold Palmer’s win in 1961 Open, to Mo Martin’s amazing victory at the 2014 British Women’s Open, Birkdale has become one of the most recognizable courses when it comes to golf’s oldest major.

 

No doubt that this Open at Birkdale will be another dandy, with the richest depth of talent in recent golf history, anybody can come out on top. With world number one Dustin Johnson and U.S. Open champion Brooks Koepka among the favorites, Royal Birkdale can definitely favor the powerful hitters off the tee.

 

One thing’s for sure is that, The Open Championship never fails to thrill us. If the duel between Henrik Stenson and Phil Mickelson last year at Royal Troon wasn’t and indication of The Open’s greatness, then I’m not sure what is.

 

The walk to the 18th green at Royal Birkdale, with its iconic clubhouse staring down at you, is truly one of greatest walks in golf. We as fans, eagerly await to see who makes the triumphant walk come that Sunday, to raise the Claret Jug in victory.

 

The breathtaking courses, history, players, and fans, is what truly makes The Open Championship special. July 20th can’t come soon enough for the 146th tournament.

 

You can follow me on Twitter @ChiGolfRadio! I don’t have a Claret Jug, but I do have a jug of sweet tea! 


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Jimmy Walker has officially proven that he’s one of golf’s best

 

Jimmy Walker turned professional in golf in 2001. For years, he was a name nobody knew on the PGA Tour, and has been constantly confused with the legendary actor of the same name.

And then, in 2014, it was quite a turn of events for Walker, who had a terrific season. He racked up three wins right away and he wasn’t done yet.

He also had three top 10 finishes at the majors in 2014 at the Masters, U.S. Open and PGA Championship. His 26th place finish at The Open was also nothing to sleep on.

In 2015, Walker added two more wins to his resume. He also had two runner-up finishes as well, meaning he was close to an impressive seven wins in two seasons.

Despite the success, people were still unsure who he was. Certainly he slowly started to build a fanbase after playing so well but, some believed his wins occurred too early in the season.

But now, with a good performance at the Ryder Cup in 2014, and a PGA Championship win to his credit, he has officially joined the PGA Tour’s elite. Even if it was ever so quietly, like a ninja in the night.

But, the man who wears all black isn’t throwing stars and slinging nun chucks. He uses a sword, and that sword is his deadly putter.

Despite ranking 55th in in the world in putting, Walker was 12th in 2014 and second in 2015. No doubt his putting slump may have had some people on edge during the tournament but, on the last couple of holes, Walker hit the putts he needed to.

However, he hit the shot of his life on the 10th at Baltusrol, where he holed out of a bunker for his birdie. No putter needed.

On 18, he decided to go for it in two and pulled out his 3-wood. He missed the green and ended up in the greenside rough.

Cool as ice, Walker hit a gorgeous flop shot that made the green with tiny bit of spin on it. All he needed was a par for the win.

He had a very long putt for his birdie chance, and this was the moment when his putter caught fire again just like in 2014 and 2015. He hit his lag putt close enough to where it left him with an easy par chance.

The long putt nearly dropped, but nonetheless, Walker knew that he was a sweet par away from his first major and to hold off defending champion Jason Day. The putt dropped, and Walker joined Tiger Woods and Phil Mickelson as the only golfers in the last 20 years, to go wire-to-wire for a PGA Championship win.

He also became the fourth first time major winner this season. He joined Danny Willett (Masters), Dustin Johnson (U.S. Open) and Henrik Stenson (The Open), all of those players being in the top 15 in the World Golf Rankings.

And after 15 years of being a pro, Jimmy Walker was a major champion. A great way to cap off one of the hottest stretches of golf in a two-year span.

The man went from 13 years without a title, to instantly getting six wins, including a major. You can bet we’ll see Walker representing team USA in the Ryder Cup this Fall.

If he can help the U.S. squad win its first Ryder Cup in eight years, he will prove yet again why he’s one of the best golfers on the planet.

Be sure to follow me on Twitter @ChiGolfRadio! It’s all golf with the usual video game post or reference as well!


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The UL International Crown, a new way to view team golf

What’s one of the big reasons why we love sports? To witness greatness, to witness competitive play from some of the most talented human beings (horses if you’re talking horse racing) in the world.

But what fuels the passion? In most cases it’s the teams and the rooting interest in those teams.

That’s what the UL International Crown brought last week as it brought fans from all over the world to watch theor countries duke it out. The event took place at the Merit Club in the Chicago area and the ladies not only had to battle the course and each other, but they also had to battle the heat, as Chicagoland had one of its hottest weeks in history.

The heat was so bad, that team England star Charley Hull had to miss the Friday round due to illness. She came back firing off all cylinders and ended up finishing strong.

I had the chance to cover the Saturday round and taking in the atmosphere, it certainly had a Ryder Cup feel to it. Only difference is that there are eight teams compare to two teams in Ryder Cup and Solheim Cup.

This is what makes the UL International Crown such a great tournament. It’s not limited to two squads to root for, there are eight teams so there is rooting interest for everyone no matter who you are or where you’re from.

Certainly, a fan from China can root for team Europe or team USA in the Solheim Cup as it doesn’t matter who you root for. However, the fact that team China is a squad in the UL International Crown adds to that home team feeling and is closer to your heart as a fan.

The Merit Club, located in the Chicago area was a great host. Chicago is known as one of the best sports towns on the planet with teams like the Bears, Bulls, Cubs, White Sox, Blackhawks and Fire representing the city’s deep sports culture.

In the interview room, team USA addressed the media center and I had the chance to ask them what it meant to play in such a big team event in a town that is crazy about their sports. Here’s what Stacy Lewis had to say.

“I think that it’s great that we’re in this city. We’re going to be here in the next couple here the next couple of years with the KPMG tournament, as well.” Lewis said. “So it’s a market that we did well in with the Solheim Cup. I think it’s a great place for us to be playing, and hopefully we can get playing here more consistently, not just big events and majors.”

Lewis continued:

“Maybe get something a little more consistent.” Lewis said. “We were talking about it in the car ride on the way home, just the number of cities that have multiple sports teams in the same sports, and Chicago is one of not very many in that aspect. It’s a cool city, and we got to take part in it last night”.

Chicago is one of those towns that does make you discuss sports. It’s a city that can compare to other cities with multiple teams as Lewis mentioned.

This is why it would be great for the UL International Crown to continue having tournaments in major sports towns around the world. Teams help fuel a sports fan’s interest and it’s very marketable as well.

Although the individual sport is great and brings out the mental toughness of the best golfers, the team game brings a fire. As we’ve seen, college golf has increasingly gotten popular due to the drama of alternate shot among other formats as well as being live on Golf Channel.

The UL International Crown was also a great test before the Olympics in Rio next month. All eight teams were able to get a taste before the big games as the tournament was dramatic and ended with a team USA victory.

So although the UL International Crown is still a relatively new event, with so many teams reeling in fans from all over, it can blossom into something bigger.

Be sure to follow me on Twitter @ChiGolfRadio! Send me tweet! Don’t worry, I don’t bite….unless it’s a tasty sandwich or something!


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Why people shouldn’t trip over Rory’s “not here to grow the game” comment

Many of the world’s best golfers have dropped out of the Olympics due to the fear of the Zika virus and is totally understandable. But when asked further about not competing, Rory McIlroy stated that he’s not in golf to “help grow the game” but is there to win major championships. 

This comment specifically caused a stir within the golf community whether it’s from fans or golf media, it caused quite a controversy. Many people believe that it is McIlroy’s duty to help grow the game but it’s far from true. 

The best way for guys like McIlroy, Jordan Spieth and Jason Day to help grow the game, is to play the best golf they can. The cool thing about is that it’s not just one dominant player, it’s multiple guys who are winning week after week. 

This shows how deep the talent is in golf today, and if all of these young talented players continue to play well, that will automatically get a boost. Like with other sports, surely, we have watched a team or a player that was so great that it fueled our passion for that game. 

Michael Jordan certainly helped with the popularization of basketball thanks to his jaw dropping dunks, clutch baskets and shutdown defense. Same with golf as when Tiger Woods was in his prime, many kids wanted to be like him, fist pump and all.

But with the competitive balance that the current PGA Tour has, it makes things that much more interesting. And, in fact, this generation of pros is so deep, that despite the many dropouts from the Olympics, the field is still fairly strong.

Rickie Fowler and Bubba Watson alone will get some eyes glued to the TV and ears leaning towards the radio due to their immense popularity. This bring me to my next point and that is, guys like Fowler, like Watson (Hate him or love him), like Spieth and like Henrik Stenson, they all have colorful personalities. 

Fowler has built quite a following on Twitter, reaching well over one million followers because he’s funny and people wonder what he’ll post next. This alone can help “grow the game” because personalities can cause intrigue and the fact that a guy like Fowler is as good a player that he is, it adds to this. 

There are numerous other ways to help grow the game and one of those ways is to televise unique tournaments. For example, the R&A will doing an annual nine-hole amateur tournament each year the week prior to the Open Championship and will be on TV.

It’s a good way to bring people into the game who think 18 holes takes too much time and money (which I agree). The Major Series of Putting is a new tournament that hopes to be televised next year.

The MJOP shows off the simplest and arguably the funnest part of the game which is putting. This is a great way to promote the game as it shows how much skill and fun can be put into just using one club. 

Because let’s face it, we watch in disbelief when someone drills a 30-foot putt on a crazy slope. Especially if it’s on one of the last few holes of a tournament. 

And golf is arguably the most versatile sport in the world which is why it’s so easy to create tournaments like these. Sports like basketball and soccer are so popular because they are extremely accessible.

All you need is a basketball and then find a court. In soccer, all you need is a soccer ball and find a pitch or you can use your imagination.

In golf, really all you need is a sand wedge a few soft golf balls and you can hit the streets and play. Use the world around you to become a golf course designer and build your own track. 

But many of us have this strange mindset that we have to play 18 holes, no questions asked. This mindset needs to change if people want to “grow the game”.

 After all, golf wasn’t always an 18 hole game anyway. The Old Course at St. Andrews wasn’t always an 18-holer and Oakhurst Links in West Virginia is the oldest course in America and it’s a nine hole track. 

So promoting the nine-hole game is also a great way to grow the game and is fitting for those who don’t want to try the unique offerings as mentioned earlier. The last thing I’ll mention is that video games are also good for golf for a couple of reasons.

One of these reasons is that the gaming industry has exploded more than ever before. If a kid or someone in their early to mid 20’s plays a golf game, it may help fuel their interest. 

On a personal note, playing one of the old Tiger Woods games was immensely important in getting me interested in the sport. I’ve never looked back since. 

Especially if it involves motion control where people can take a real golf swing in their house without damaging anything. The good thing about all of this is that there are numerous golf games that are out or will come out soon. 

So many people, golfers and non-golfers alike can enjoy the experience without the high costs of the 18-hole game. Plus, as mentioned, golf can score a ton of new fans this way.

So, for people tripping over Rory McIlroy’s comments, I just gave you many ways that the game is continuing to grow. I can go on and on with more reasons but I’ll just leave it there. 

McIlroy was honest and I think we all can appreciate that. 

So, want the game to grow? Golf is arguably the most versatile sport on the planet, so why not take advantage?


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Inbee Park is golf’s most dangerous player by a mile

 

In a world where we’ve seen a new generation of talent rise on the PGA Tour, with guys like Jordan Spieth, Rory McIlroy, Jason Day and Bubba Watson leading the charge, the Tour has since grown in popularity. However, another Tour that has shined bright is the LPGA Tour thanks to the unbelievable job done by commissioner Mike Whan and the talent that has risen.

 

Who’s leading the pack on the LPGA Tour? None other than Inbee Park who once again won the Women’s PGA Championship for the third straight year (YES, third straight year). She also won the Women’s British Open at the legendary Turnberry golf course in Scotland, to complete the career grand slam at the young age of 27.

 

I’m going to come out right now and say “my bad” after I had wrote a piece a while back, stating that Stacy Lewis is the best golfer in the world. Although Stacy is terrific in her own right and got the LPGA’s triple crown in 2014 (She won the Player of the Year, Vare Trophy and was the money leader on Tour. This has never happened before), it’s fair to say that Inbee has been the best player so far.

 

I think Inbee and Stacy have quietly put together one of the best rivalries in sports, although it’s not considered one, they’re both always towards the top of the leaderboard it seems. It was Stacy who held off Inbee at the 2013 Women’s Open Championship as Inbee was on her way to becoming to first golfer ever to win four majors in a season.

 

At one point, Yani Tseng was a dominant force in golf and she has five majors to her credit. Even she can’t match what Inbee has done so far and Yani was an absolute monster and is still good.

 

What’s amazing about Inbee Park is that she doesn’t have a massive amount of skills. She relies simply on a hot putter and igniting at the right time.

 

In just a five year span from 2010 to 2015, she has won an incredible seven major championships. One of them, the Women’s PGA Championship were won three years in a row by her as mentioned.

 

She’s a deadly ball striker, ranking fifth in the world in that category. Combine that with her deadeye putting and you have the best golfer on the planet.

 

She’s better than any player on any tour right now (Again, I said this about Stacy Lewis and again, “my bad”). And with the skill set that she has, makes it that much more impressive.

 

She’s not going to “wow” you with big drives like Michelle Wie or Lexi Thompson or hit laser straight drives like Lydia Ko. But what she brings to the table is consistency and knowing how to attack a golf course.

 

Course management may be one of the most important things in the sport. She’ll read greens like books and then drop putts at an alarming rate.

 

I think for most of her competitors, their hopes is that she doesn’t make all the greens in regulation. If she does, you’re simply screwed.

 

She’ll likely one putt each time. Only Stacy is a better putter at the moment.

 

Another thing that stands out is her competition. She has to go out there against players like Lydia, Stacy, Brittany Lincicome (Two-time ANA Inspiration champion, or basically the Ladies Masters), Suzanne Petterson, among others and still dominates.

 

Not to mention all of the young talent that keeps coming up. We just saw a 21-year old In Gee Chun win the U.S. Women’s Open and we obviously have the aforementioned Lydia Ko who is an accurate driving machine and just won the Canadian Women’s Open for the third time.

 

Who did Lydia beat? None other than Stacy Lewis.

 

So please don’t use talent as an excuse for Inbee Park’s terrorizing of the world. She has dangerous competition on her tail each week.

 

She also won the Women’s British Open at Turnberry, a course that has hosted many Open Championships on the men’s tour including the famous “Duel in the Sun” between Jack Nicklaus and Tom Watson. So the courses she plays on are as tough as the men’s tour.

 

There’s nothing that tells me that she isn’t the best golfer on the planet right now. Rory is the nearest competitor and he’s not even close to what she’s done.

 

And it’s a fair comparison:

 

Rory – Age 26

Inbee – Age 27

 

Rory – 18 wins globally

Inbee – 24 wins globally

 

Rory – 11 wins on PGA Tour

Inbee – 16 wins on LPGA Tour 

 

Rory – 4 majors

Inbee – 7 majors

 

Rory – won 2 majors in a row in 2014

Inbee – won 3 majors in a row in 2013 and was very close to winning 4 in a row.

 

Rory – All-around talent. Can use any shot in the bag.

 

Inbee – Simply relies on her ball striking and putting. 

 

I know, I know it may seem like an unfair comparison due to two different tours. But, I think it’s also unfair when the number one player on the PGA Tour is automatically the “best player in the world” when clearly the best player in the world is a woman.

 

You can definitely make a case for Jordan Spieth who is the current world number one on the PGA Tour. He’s extremely consistent but he’s only 22 so that’s where things may get a little unfair.

 

It’s kinda hard to compare a 22-year old to a 27-year old with the experience Inbee has. We don’t know where Jordan will be at by the time he turns 27 although it’s easy to take some guesses.

 

Inbee has led a charging LPGA Tour and I think three of the best five players in the world are ladies (Inbee, Stacy and Lydia). And Inbee is leading that by a mile so think about that.

 

She’s a quietly electrifying player too. A player who can shut the door on a tournament when that putter is en fuego (If it’s a double door, she’ll shut those too) and I honestly think she’s the best closer in golf, simply the way that she’s put away majors.

 

No noise. No ice. No pressure. Just pure heat.

 

And that’s one of the reasons why we love golf.

 

Sure, I think a girl like Lydia is definitely the future of the LPGA Tour. She already has built an outstanding resume for herself and hits putts in the clutch and almost never misses fairways.

 

But in the meantime, it’s Queen Bee’s show. She just needs the credit she deserves.

 

Be sure to follow me on Twitter @ChiGolfRadio for no apparent reason other than the fact that I’m a pirate (At a mini golf course?)!

 

YAR! 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 


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What Standard is the Golf Fanbase in Today?

Tiger Woods and Phil Mickelson have been the face of golf for the last 15 years.

Tiger Woods and Phil Mickelson have been the faces of golf for the last 15 years.

Golf is one of the world’s oldest sports. It’s been a symbol of greatness, royalty and full of rich history. We’ve seen some of the best players in the world play this great sport on all levels from high school to amateur to the PGA Tour. Although this sport is ancient and has survived for many many years, do we need to start questioning the golf fanbase? Although there are many dedicated hardcore golf fans out there, there are still quite a few who seem to only watch golf when a Tiger Woods or a Phil Mickelson plays and are both playing well.

That’s quite a lot to ask for considering those are two golfers out of many golfers that play in tournaments and they both will not always be towards the top. Rory Mcilroy is another one but, on the PGA Tour has been relatively quiet lately despite his European Tour win this year. If those three guys are towards the top of the leaderboard, everyone watches. But how many times out of 10 will we see Tiger, Phil and Rory at the top at the same time? Not often. Some people believe that if Tiger is winning every tournament and dominating the field, it’s very entertaining but when another player comes into a tournament and dominates then people think it’s boring and everyone rolls their eyes.

Why has it come to this? Why do we need that one big player to catch our attention? Because we have to realize that Tiger and Phil won’t always be towards the top every time. Is it because of some of the shots they hit? We’ve seen many players hit some impressive shots over the years though. Bubba Watson always seems to hit some amazing shots, Rory was hitting some great shots when he was on top, and Martin Kaymer at the U.S. Open hit some impressive shots and putts. How can we forget Bubba’s outstanding recovery shot at the 2012 Masters? Or Martin Kaymer’s unbelievable putt at this year’s Players Championship on the world-renowned 17th hole? During the 2010 Masters, the one that Phil won, Anthony’s Kim’s performance gave me chills and could have pulled it off.

Although I was happy for Phil, I thought Anthony’s performance was outstanding and being as young as he was at the time made it more impressive. Similar thing with Jordan Spieth at this year’s Masters. He played terrific golf but Bubba knew Augusta too well and pulled off the victory for his second Masters victory. That was some amazing drama until Bubba finally started to pull away a bit. When Martin Kaymer pulled away from the field at the U.S. Open, he put on one of the most dominant performances in U.S. Open history, but nobody cared. They wished that Martin’s clothes were changed to Tiger’s signature Sunday red shirt and Phil’s trademark KPMG hat.

They didn’t want to see the same dude with the white shirt and the Sap hat. On the women’s tour, last year, Inbee Park had one of the most dominant seasons in golf history. It was one of the most exciting things I’ve seen in my sports life. Nobody really cared though. They all wanted to see Tiger and Phil on the men’s tour. Even if Inbee’s performance did catch major attention, it took an unbelievable performance like that to do so. If Tiger or Phil win a regular tournament, everyone goes nuts.

Peter Kostis said it best in this tweet:

As much as we should appreciate what Tiger and Phil have brought to the sport, we need to look and pay attention to what the other great players are doing. Because if we feel that Tiger and Phil are above the sport then what’s the point of the hundreds of other players on tour? Just get rid of all of the players and let Tiger, Phil and Rory duke it out at every single tournament and change it to the TPR Tour (Tiger, Phil, Rory Tour). We always seem to want the next big thing, not just in golf or other sports, but in life. However, some don’t want to see the next big thing in golf. They just want it to be the Tiger and Phil show. Now that Tiger and Phil are slowly coming down the home stretch of their careers, we wonder who will follow in their footsteps. Rory was supposed to be that guy and still very well could be. However, we can’t think like this.

It’s great when there’s a player on tour that’s playing very well and dominating but when another player comes out to win a tournament, I feel they deserve respect, no matter who they are. No matter if they aren’t the big names that we want them to be. It should be exciting to see different players win because you never know if those players will come out and start dominating themselves and it adds to the conversation. I mean, wouldn’t it be boring if we just talked about Tiger and Phil all day? Look at Brendan Todd for example. He won the HP Byron Nelson tournament and he played well after that as it seemed he was always towards the top of the leaderboard.

He also played well at his first U.S. Open and there’s no doubt he could be in contention again in coming tournaments. So why is it like this? Why do we need that one big star to show up and play to keep our interests in the sport? I personally think it’s a shame. There are too many great players that we’re passing up on because we’re looking at the same guys. It’s the same song over and over again. We’ve seen some historic golf performances this year and last year but nobody really paid attention and missed out on some spectacular golf.

It’s awesome to appreciate greatness but the field of players we see today are some of the best we’ve seen in years yet we always come back to the same song and put it on repeat. The Tiger and Phil song. You want the next big thing? Well, they’re all right in front of us, we just have to take advantage of what we’re witnessing.

I’d love to hear your comments on this topic. I’m always listening! Also, hit me up on Twitter because I have things to do post about things that involve things and stuff: @ChiGolfRadio


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Will This be One of the Greatest Masters Finishes of All-Time?

Kuchy Kuchy Koo!

Kuchy Kuchy Koo!

This year’s Masters has been nothing short of amazing. I don;t think I’ve ever seen a Masters with so many different things to talk about. Some of the best players in the world such as Phil Mickelson, Dustin Johnson and Jason Dufner all missed the cut and Rory Mcilroy barely made it himself. You got two guys in their 50’s playing terrific golf in Freddie Couples and Miguel Angel Jimenez. You had the defending champion Adam Scott who had the lead one point in time and the 2012 champion Bubba Watson now shares the lead with a 20-year-old in Jordan spieth who’s trying to become the youngest Masters champion in history.

Now, if that all doesn’t excite you then I don’t know what will. For anyone saying that The Masters suck this year because Tiger isn’t playing is out of their minds. This Masters leaderboard is so tight that it’s anyone’s tournament as to where the last couple of years were more predictable yet were still exciting. What if Tiger sucked? Would it still be exciting then? I don’t think so. If you’re someone who thinks that if Tiger or Phil playing on Sunday will make The Masters more fun, then they better be playing their best golf because otherwise it’s boring to watch them play.

What we’ve seen were some amazing shots and rapid changes on the leaderboard in these first three days. There were so many near hole outs, it was ridiculous and Matt Kuchar hit a very impressive pitch shot on the 15th hole AKA “Firethorn”. There were some incredible tee shots from Bubba Watson despite having a slow day. Almost every tee shot he hit nailed the fairway and went a really long way. Heck, despite having the worst round of the day, Bubba still remains the co-leader along with Jordan.

It’s ANYBODY’s golf tournament as the leaderboard is tighter than that shirt you’re probably wearing right now. However, if I had to pick one person to win and rock the Green Jacket this year, I’d give it to Matt Kuchar. Because Matt is getting it together and is started to understand the course more and more. What makes Matt extremely dangerous is his ability to recover from bunkers and bad second shots as we saw on the 15th on Saturday as he nailed that awesome pitch shot. It’s still anybody’s Green Jacket but I think Kuch has the slight advantage over everyone at this point. He doesn’t destroy you with power off the tee or laser like accuracy, he gets you in many other ways and it’s why he’s one of the best players in the world.

So, get ready for one of the best finishes in Masters history my friends!

Hit me up on Twitter @ChiGolfRadio!


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8 Reasons Why Augusta National is the Greatest Venue in All of Sports

A painting of the gorgeous and iconic 12th hole at Augusta National Golf Club

A painting of the gorgeous and iconic 12th hole at Augusta National Golf Club

With The Masters this week, its time for golf’s greatest tradition. What makes The Masters so amazing is the golf course and that course is none other than the world-famous Augusta National Golf Club. The place is unlike any other place in sports and in my opinion, it’s the greatest venue in all of sports and here are some reasons why.

1: The Atmosphere – What makes Augusta so amazing is the looks of it. So many people dream of going to The Masters to experience Augusta and all of it’s beauty. Jay Coffin of Golf Channel once told during an interview on my radio show that it’s like going to Disney World. He’s right but it might even be better. The flowers and tall trees make our jaws drop as if we’re in some kind of fantasy dream. Augusta National used to be home to a nursery which why there were so many beautiful flowers and the flowery tradition still goes strong today. Even the road that goes up to the clubhouse is a treat as Magnolia Lane as been an Augusta National icon for decades and was created many years before the course was built when it was still a nursery.

2: The Rich History – Although Augusta National came on the golf scene a little later than legendary courses like Pebble Beach and Pine Valley, the history still runs so deep as if it’s been around before those courses with Augusta being built 21 years after Pine Valley (Established in 1913) and 15 years after Pebble (Established in 1919). What’s help made the history so rich is how the course stood out from the others and how it hosted what now is one of the biggest sporting events in the world which is The Masters. The legendary Green Jacket ceremony as well as all of the great players that have played and won there also contributes to this history. Bobby Jones and Dr. Allister McKenzie stepped on the former nursery and decided to make a golf course, the rest is history.

3: The Location – Georgia is one of the most legendary states in the country with a rich history. It was only fitting to have a course with beautiful tall trees and flowers in a location with usually warm weather. Having the course and the tournament in Augusta, Georgia has really helped put the historic town on the map.

4: The Weather – I know it’s Georgia but all states have their bad days with weather. For some reason, when The Masters comes around, the weather is always perfect or nearly perfect. Even when it’s a cloudy day, the course looks gorgeous. It seems like it has some kind of magic to it with the way the weather is at Augusta National. It’s always a perfect day at The Masters.

5: The Crowd – I believe that the crowd at The Masters is one of the most under rated crowds in sports. Every incredible play and every dramatic putt will get that crowd roaring like dinosaurs. If you’re on hole 9 and someone hits an amazing shot on 10, then you better believe you’ll hear them roar in the distance and on Sunday, it’s one of the loudest venues in all of sports.

6: Amen Corner – Amen Corner is arguably the best group of holes in golf. It features the 11th, 12th, and 13th holes. The name “Amen Corner” was created by legendary golf writer Herbert Warren Wind and has since become famous all around the world. These three magnificent holes have drawn as much and maybe even more attention then the course itself and has inspired many with their artistic beauty and continue to amaze us. Back in the 1934, holes 11, 12 and 13 were holes 2, 3 and 4.

7: Hole 12 or “Golden Bell” – Hole 12 as I mentioned is part of Amen Corner but it’s probably by far the most famous hole on the course. It’s also widely regarded as the best par-3 hole in the world with some considering TPC Sawgrass’ world famous 17th hole or Pine Valley’s 3rd hole as the best. Although the holes mentioned are gorgeous and challenging, the look and challenge of the 12th at Augusta is unreal. The way the tall beautiful trees and flowers are tucked in the corner with Hogan’s Bridge and Rae’s Creek showing themselves in the image as well. It’s the only famous hole where hitting a shot in the bunker is OK because otherwise it’s going in Rae’s Creek. Just an unbelievable hole.

8: The Masters – Well, this one is as obvious as a pool full of water. The Masters has matched perfectly with Augusta National to create one of the finest sporting events in the world. All the great fans, players, caddies, employees, writers and broadcasters that left their marks on the hollowed grounds during The Masters and has been a dream for a lot of people for years to attend the tournament. The Green Jacket ceremony i one of the best traditions in sports and despite some people saying that the jackets look ugly, I think they look freakin’ great. The Masters has brought people from all over the world to experience this haven on earth of a golf course with its sights, great competition, the great southern style food, the historic clubhouse and now the new practice facility (Built in 2010) is a beautiful addition to this masterpiece of a course. There is absolutely nothing at Augusta National that isn’t iconic and this year’s Masters should be a blast. 11-time National Sportswriter of the Year Rick Reilly named The Masters in 2009 as the best sporting event to attend live.

“Hello friends, and welcome to The Masters.” – Jim Nantz

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