Every year, TBG tells me the same thing: "I love watching the Masters. I've been watching it since I was 10 years old, sitting on the couch with Dad. I fell in love with Arnie just when the rest of America did. It's just so beautiful, so manicured, so pristine."
I like watching him watch it, a peaceful smile on his face. He's communing with his decades-gone father, calling out to me when the camera pans the flora, and, this year, hooting and hollering when a player makes a hole in one.
I always thought that those shots were rare. Today, there have been three of them.
It must be wonderful to have your shot-of-a-lifetime recorded forever on television. The question is, does the player have to buy a drink for everyone who saw it?
The weather is beautiful in Augusta, but here in Tucson it's been raining on and off all day.
I pulled on my flannel shirt to go to the grocery store; 75 degrees demands it.
I'm not complaining, mind you. In fact, I'm proud to say that all my plants are in the ground, benefiting from the intermittent sprinklings. The clouds give the ground time to absorb the water rather than sacrificing it through evaporation to our usually sunny skies.
Besides, I have the sunny skies of Georgia on the big screen.
"Look at that. It's just so beautiful."
And it is.
After making four birdies (one under par) in a row, Jordan Spieth bogeyed (one over par) two in a row. Last night he squandered a four stroke lead at the end of his round; he entered today's final round only one stroke ahead of the field. And the field is filled with youngsters just like him. He's paired with a kid he knew from a tournament when they were middle schoolers.
We are watching him fall apart. His ball is in the water.... and so is the one he hit right afterwards.
It's a beautiful pond, surrounded by lovely tall trees.
I'm not sure Jordan is seeing it with the same rosy glasses.
He's probably not that thrilled with the glistening white sand in the trap holding his next ball, either.
The slump of his shoulders tells me Jordan Spieth would give anything for a transporter. Beam me up, Scotty.
And now there's this British kid, a new father, playing five strokes back and then suddenly in the lead. His jaunty stride is in sharp contrast to Jordan Spieth's dejected pace and bowed head.
Danny Willett is his name, and he's a happy camper as he doffs his cap to the clapping fans at the 18th hole. There's nothing else he can do. His fate is in the hands of those still on the course.
At moments like these, I flash to Robert Redford's face in Downhill Racer... he doesn't want to wish a mishap but.....
And now, Jordan Spieth approaches the 16th tee, from which three holes in one have already been played. The fans are standing and cheering and he's standing a little straighter and TBG is exhorting him and I'm much more nervous than I'd like to be.
He's eyeing the putt for what seems like forever.year
I can barely watch... and the ball doesn't break. He biffed it, sighed TBG. The fans along the green are morose as he lines up for the birdie.
The bloom is off the rose; their applause is muted.
And so the young man who won last year tees off to applause on the 18th and because it's not a hole in one he's lost what seemed to be his to win.
He'll put the winner's green jacket on this year's champion, and go off to nurse his wounds.
TBG and I will watch the Golden State Warriors and the San Antonio Spurs. The Warriors want to match the Bulls' best record ever over a season. The Spurs want to maintain their unbeaten record at home.
Someone's going to be disappointed.... but not us. It's a great day for watching sports on tv.