Tim Crone: Masters still a challenge for best golfers in the world

The Examiner
Tim Crone

This past year has been memorable for a multitude of reasons. It seems crazy that the Masters was played only six months ago and here we are playing the 85th tournament at its normal time.

Without Tiger Woods, the golf world needs someone to fill his shoes to bring back the excitement he always seemed to generate. The tournament was interesting as a golf fan but it did not have the pizzazz of past tournaments.

A lot of great young golfers played in the Masters, but most of the names at the top of the leaderboard do not create the excitement of the closing two rounds like the days of Tiger, Phil Mickelson, Ernie Els, etc. The entire world would be watching every time if one of the all-time great golfers was moving on Saturday. When Tiger began a move on Saturday, the whole world took notice.

Former winners Justin Rose, Justin Thomas and Jordan Spieth were in the hunt but this spring tournament just did not have that big bang effect. When the Masters was played last November, the sporting world was excited about watching a big-time sporting event with the world’s No. 1 player, Dustin Johnson, winning his first green jacket.

The course is still the best in the world. The greens are lightning quick and bring the world’s greatest golfers to their knees. Every golfer seriously dreams about playing just one round in golf paradise. Like everything else in life, time moves on and the names change, but the course is still the master of all players.

Many of the best players are from all around the world and the young guns can hit the ball a mile. It was interesting to watch all the big hitters taken out of their game. A player has to be solid in all phases of the game to master the Masters course.

Nine of the 20 winners of the Masters have led the field in hitting greens in regulations. All of the latest winners have been the top five in putting during the tournament. That is what makes the Masters Tournament so special. You have to be the total package to wear the green jacket.

They say that the key to winning the Masters is to read the putts. There is no amount of distance off the tee that will help you to negotiate those greens.

It was weird to see how small the crowds were because of the pandemic. I have two photos of the Masters in my man cave and in those pictures all the fans are packed together to watch the greatest golf tournament in the world.

Times have changed but there will always be new champions and new great shots for people to talk about 50 years from now. At least we are able to play the Masters in April and it is still one of the greatest sporting events in the world.

• My condolences to the family of former William Chrisman boys basketball coach and Independence administrator Bill Norton. Coach Norton passed away during surgery last week. I visited coach the week before and he was upbeat and positive just as he had been throughout his life. He was a great mentor and a good friend throughout his life and his career. May he RIP.

• The quote of the week comes from former Masters champion Gary Player: “Class is good manners, cleanliness (body and mind), consideration for others, humility and good sense of timing.”

Tim Crone, a William Chrisman High School graduate, is a former activities director and coach for Blue Springs High School and is a host of a weekly radio show, “Off the Wall with Tim Crone,” on KCWJ (1030 AM) 6 p.m. every Monday. He writes a weekly column for The Examiner. Reach him at t.crone@comcast.net.