Friday, April 4

Coming Home to the Masters

The par-4 10th hole at Augusta National Golf Club. (gomattolson/Flickr)
By Charles Prokop

Copyright © Charles Prokop. All rights reserved. Used with permission.

I LOOK FORWARD TO ALL THE MAJORS, but I do more than look forward to the Masters. Watching the Masters is an annual ritual, an emotional experience for me. I'll miss a day or more of other tournaments to play golf, take care of projects, or whatever. But I block out time to watch the Masters and don't let anything intrude. (Luckily, my wife understands and is fine with this.)

I've thought a lot about why I feel this way. It's just a golf tournament on TV. If I have something else to do, I'll walk away from most shows on TV without a second thought. I always prefer doing to watching. But for me, the Masters is more like doing than watching. It engages me in a way no other tournament does.

I've come to the conclusion that the Masters is like coming home. Not just coming home after a day or two, but coming home after a long time away.

The Masters is played on the same course year after year, and I think that has a lot to do with my feelings.

I come back to the same immaculate course every year at a time when nature is waking up and the season is full of promise. I come home to scenes that recall images of the beauty of past years and memories of former heroics and spectacular collapses. It doesn't matter that I've never really been there but go only in my TV-fed fantasy. It's still like I’m coming home.

My history may have something to do with how I feel about the Masters and coming home.

My wife and I have lived in our current house for 10 years, and that's longer than I've ever lived anywhere. By my best count I've had 23 addresses, not counting dorms and apartments as an undergraduate and the several years I traveled with no fixed address. I looked at Google Street View a while back and the house I was born in has been torn down and replaced with a much larger, upscale place. If I really wanted to go back home, I don't know where I'd go.

So Augusta, Georgia, in the spring is as good a place as any for me.

It's stunningly beautiful and full of tradition. It welcomes with open arms returning heroes and those looking for another chance. I can only imagine what it must feel like to drive down Magnolia Lane when you really belong.

I'll be happy returning to my Masters memories. Memories are all any of us can really come home to.

Charles Prokop is a clinical psychologist who writes about golf at fairwaywords.


Brian Kuehn said...

I miss Charles' writing since he stopped posting on "Fairway Words."

The Armchair Golfer said...

Me too, Brian. I do think he still writes a golf column for his local paper.