Here’s a question.
What is both “a tradition unlike any other” and quite possibly the only reason most sports fans are even aware that Augusta, Ga.—a city of 200,000 on the state’s border with South Carolina—exists?
Answer: The Masters.
The tournament that gets aficionados feeling reverential and renders on-air talent at CBS unable to speak above a whisper gets going for the 78th time on Thursday at Augusta National Golf Club. There, 97 players will tee off with an aim to have Adam Scott fit them with a green jacket on Sunday.
Scott became the first Australian to win the tournament last year with a two-hole playoff defeat of ex-champ Angel Cabrera. His quest for a repeat will be one of the top storylines in the injury-prompted absence of the world’s top-ranked player, Tiger Woods.
Woods will miss out for the first time in his career thanks to a back injury. That should delay chatter about his prospects for breaking Jack Nicklaus’ record for major championship victories until he presumably returns for the U.S. Open from June 12-15 in Pinehurst, N.C.
Fortunately for the rest of us, plenty of storylines still exist in the interim…and it’s our job here to rattle off a couple of them on the day of play, as well as to venture a guess as to who’ll be accompanying Scott and a quiet-as-a-church-mouse Jim Nantz in Butler Cabin come Sunday.
Read on to see what we think.