Every year at the Masters we hear the tagline, “A tradition unlike any other.”
Earlier in the week, I posted a piece about players who couldn’t make up their minds on whether or not to retire. I received a comment condemning my praise of 53-year-old Greg Norman.
This person (entitled to his opinion) said that Norman was washed up, taking someone’s spot in the British Open away. I started thinking about how misunderstood golf’s tradition is.
Golf is a game that lends itself to history and heritage. If anything, the quirks of golf preserve its history and allow it to serve as a link between past and present.
In major championships, we get to see special appearances by the game's greats: Watson, Lyle, and in the past Nicklaus and Palmer.
To the average eye, they are old and washed up; but if you look closely at the way they play, you see the greatness that once existed.
It allows them to be spoken of in the media, for their stories to be told, their illustrious accomplishments appreciated and reborn.
Palmer and Nicklaus host tournaments to honour the game, and in return the players come to honour them. The Masters is to Bobby Jones what the Colonial is to Ben Hogan.
In other sports, the past names become insignificant, unknown, and unappreciated.
Every so often in golf’s tradition they come alive…if only for a moment.