They call it “a tradition unlike any other.”
The Masters cannot be matched to in the world of golf. The first major of the year at Augusta National Golf Club always carries a special weight.
In 2015, though, the tournament gave the golf as a whole just what it needed to continue to drive attention on the sport this season.
Because this year’s Masters brought something that’s rarely, if ever, seen in any other sport than golf.
What if Joe Montana ever got to face Tom Brady? “Legendary” would not do that quarterback match-up justice. The two are separated by 21 years of age, and have stapled their names at the front of two separate eras in the National Football League.
While the NFL cannot produce a match-up between two leaders of separate eras, the best part about the game of golf is what we just saw this weekend – age does not determine how good or bad a player is, and there’s room for a young kid still in the gentlemen’s game.
On Sunday, 21-year-old Jordan Spieth finished off what was a wire-to-wire run to win the green jacket. The Texas native became the second-youngest player to win the Masters, and winning the championship fully established that Spieth can do big things at the major championship level.
What’s so cool about golf?
The youngest player to ever win the Masters was in contention too. Spieth equaled his scoring record as well, finishing 18-under.
That would be Tiger Woods. The 39-year-old watched Spieth win the jacket just 18 years after he shell-shocked the golf world with his dominating performance.
A week before the Masters, Woods was a question mark as to whether he was going to even play at Augusta National. He is currently outside of the top 100 in the World Golf Rankings, but Woods’ 5-under performance over the weekend was still a big step in the right direction for the sake of his 2015 campaign and for the world of golf.
To have Spieth, who became just the fifth wire-to-wire champ ever in the 79-year history of the tournament, and Woods on the same stage created enough buzz, but that wasn’t the end of it.
If you’re a golf fan, and you don’t particularly like “Tiger,” then you’re probably a “Phil” guy.
44-year-old Phil Mickelson was his normal self on Masters Sunday, right in contention, and finished second along with 2013 U.S. Open champion Justin Rose at 14-under.
If that was not enough for golf to grab some attention, the world’s No. 1 player did not fail to entertain, as 25-year-old Rory McIlroy put together his best finish ever in the Masters, taking fourth at 12-under.
The question heading into this season was whether McIllroy is officially golf’s new face.
How about this question though?
What if, for 2015, there were several?
We have not seen Woods, McIllroy, and Mickelson all dominate golf in the same season, and we have not seen them do it with a 21-year-old making big splashes as well. Maybe we’re in for a year to never forget in golf.
The game needs it, and it would only be fitting that the “tradition unlike any other” is the starter.
John Fanta can be reached at firstname.lastname@example.org or on Twitter @John_Fanta.