Maestro, give us some music:
It's a balmy April Friday in Georgia, and it's time for one of the great traditions in sport: The Masters.
Admittedly, there are some who disagree with me about how great the Masters really is, and I respect that. There are those who view it as a stuffy congress of stuffy golf aficionados contested at a stuffy country club bastion of the "1%". I'll admit, if taking oneself too seriously were an Olympic sport, the Masters would be the Michael Phelps of that pursuit. It doesn't help that Jim Nantz has an affection for the event which borders on the uncomfortable, and lets that flag fly all weekend long. I've often thought that Jim Nantz is the unofficial voice of the Masters solely because he's really Dwight Eisenhower's reincarnated dog. Patton was right it seems, and that's why Ike's weimaraner has been droning on and trying not to chase the squirrels off Washington Road all these years. It's the kind of interspecies nepotism that made America great.
Be that as it may, I still love this tournament. If you ever have the chance to walk the grounds at Augusta National, and you have even a sliver of golf in your blood, you will too. The place is truly saturated with the echoes of golf's history. It's a place where they still respect the amateur and takes great pains to include great amateur golfers from around the world. One could argue that the Masters is a little too reverent of the past, but the ones arguing that are rarely seen on Thursday during the ceremonial tee shots, one of the truly great traditions in sport.
Obviously the chairman of the Augusta National Golf Club, Billy Payne, is a Bulldog. And Bulldogs Bubba Watson and Russell Henley are among those competing this week. So covering an event of this sort on a Georgia Bulldog site isn't much of a stretch. But frankly even if it were, we'd probably do it anyway, because we want to. Which is kind of a Master-y way of looking at it.
For what it's worth, I'm not expecting Bubba to do much. It's hard to repeat at Augusta, and Bubba's not exactly a robot like the Faldo-bot 3000, so I expect the week's distractions have taken a little out of him. I am hoping my fellow Maconite Henley builds on his decent Wednesday to do something special. But we'll just have to wait and see.
If you've ever made the pilgrimage over to Augusta you may have enjoyed a pimento cheese sandwich on the course, which to my mind is one of the great dining experiences in all the world. The combination of fresh air, miles of walking, and good sharp cheddar makes a "menta cheese" under the trees in Augusta an experience that I wish every one could have just once, But this week I had something almost as good. I spent most of the past week in Atlanta for a business meeting, and ate out a lot. Some of it quite frankly wasn't that impressive. Atlanta has a lot of places that remind me of an Applebee's on steroids, and sadly I ate at one or two. But one spot I visited on Wednesday offered something I only wish I had come up with: pimento puppies. It's pimento cheese. It's hushpuppy. It's both.
Okay, that's perhaps a little inaccurate. I'm fairly certain it was pimento cheese rolled in seasoned bread crumbs then deep fried until crispy on the outside and gooey on the inside. Either way, I am now on a mission to recreate it. Any pointers from the gallery would be appreciated. Feel free to fill the comments with your Masters analysis, predictions and quips, as well as any advise you can give me for frying dollops of pimento cheese (or any other cheese, for that matter). Until later . . .