Golf tends to get a bad wrap as a boring sport of guys in funny clothes, but, while Fred Couples shoes did support half of that stereotype during today's first round at Augusta National, if you watched this afternoon's Masters and weren't totally captivated then you, my friend, are a pure adrenaline junkie who likely needs to base jump just to check your pulse.
Tiger's return was of course the top story, with ESPN going live for his first shot in 144 days, but surprisingly soft greens and tamer afternoon winds than expected led to a whole slew of big names going very low on Thursday. The aforementioned Freddie Couples, who has been a crowd favorite for 2+ decades, shot an amazing 66 and took the solo lead into the clubhouse, but is followed by a pack at -5 which includes another fan favorite in Phil Mickelson and the 60-year old Tom Watson. Tiger, not to be outdone, carded a 68 (his best ever opening round at Augusta) and is sitting just two shots back of the leaders. It was as fun a golf weekday (that Monday playoff at Torrey Pines a couple of years ago not included) as there has ever been and sets the stage for what could be an awesome weekend.
To give you perspective on how rad todays golf was - I actually listened to it on XM 146 for an hour today during my slow drive up the 405 after a meeting in Orange County... Yes, I literally listened to golf on the radio - and was enthralled!
My only big beef with the Masters so far this year is that they arent giving us enough golf. Tomorrow Tiger tees off at 10:30a ET, but ESPN's coverage wont start until 4p ET - meaning that if there is no rain delay, he will likely be in the clubhouse paying the bill on a his club sandwich by the time we get to see live TV footage. I know there are all types of legal rules and business that is at play here, but I just cant believe that the powers that be at the Masters, ESPN, CBS and whoever else is involved couldnt figure out a way to come together and pull the trigger on carrying more total TV time for what is shaping up to be the most exciting golf tournament a fan could ever hope to watch.
You best believe that when Project Franchise gets a team and makes it to our leagues "World Series", we're not going start the coverage somewhere in the middle of game 3!