Wednesday, April 01, 2020


Hey kids: Welcome to April A-to-Z blogging 2020. I’ve been farting around with this for a bunch of years, actually completing the entire challenge in 2015 with 26 must-read books, which may have been some of my most useful blogging ever. I followed that up in 2016 with 100 must-see films which I am very happy with - so far - and I still plan to complete this effort one day!

This year I have outsourced my topic assignments to my associates. Without further ado, I give you the amiable, affectionate, almost-altruistic, athletic and academically apt… Aqualad! And he has assigned the topic:


The very prestigious invitational Masters golf tournament was first launched at Augusta National Golf Club which was built specifically for the occasion (as far as I understand), in 1934.

Craig Wood was a damn fine golfer in the day; though perhaps not as big as the threesome of Bobby Jones, Gene Sarazen and Walter Hagen for each of whom the Masters would prove fairly elusive.

Wood finished the inaugural tournament second only to Horton Smith at 2-under and 4-under par respectively.

Then in year-two of the gig, 1935, Craig Wood kicked ass, leading his nearest challenger by three strokes as he entered the clubhouse on the final day. That challenger was Gene Sarazen who was informed by playing mate Hagen that his chances “were dim” with four holes remaining.

“Oh you never know,” Sarazen is reported saying. “The ball can go in from anywhere.” He then hit a mighty drive on the 530-yard par-5 fifteenth hole, and then aggressively opted to go for the green in two. Today there is a plaque at that very spot, titled “the shot heard around the world.”

The long ambitious shot bounced, then landed on the green, then rolled… right into the cup.

The incredibly-rare three-under par shot suddenly tied him for the lead with Wood, who at that moment first coined the phrase “Are you fucking kidding me?” [not true that I know of].

Sarazen finished the round still tied and the two then played a 36-hole playoff (unheard of today) which Sarazen won decidedly.

The three under-par result is called a “double eagle” in America due, I assume, to some amazing American mathematician concluding that -2 (an eagle) multiplied by two is, not -4, but -3. Who knew? In the British Isles/UK/Great Britain/whatever such a feat is called an albatross. So there.

This feat gave Sarazen his only Masters victory and combined with previous PGA Championship, British and U.S. Open victories, gave him the very first Career Grand Slam status in golf history. That feat has only been replicated by Ben Hogan, Gary Player, Jack Nicklaus and Tiger Woods.

Craig Wood, meanwhile, did not so much wear “an albatross around his neck” having finished runner-up twice, but more of a “monkey on his back.” Always the bridesmaid…  

This first phrase loosely refers to being haunted by something you are guilty of. It comes from lyrical ballad The Rime of the Ancient Mariner in which an angry crew hangs a dead Albatross around the captain’s neck, believing the captain doomed them by killing this bird who had evolved to be a good, not a bad, omen. Or something like that.

But Wood would finally shake the monkey off in 1941, winning the Masters three strokes ahead of two-time Masters champ Byron Nelson.

See you tomorrow!


bookworm said...

I have never played golf. On the other hand, my husband, as a teen, worked as a caddy and enjoyed the work. The highlight of me going to a Masters, if I ever got to one, would be looking at all the beautiful landscaping - azaleas in full bloom when nothing is blooming where I live. (I'll have to ask husband if he has ever heard of the Albatross term, if I remember). Thank you for visiting my A to Z blog. Alana

April Moore said...

Fascinating stuff. I'm not one for golf, but you sucked me into this story. Love the theme you have for this year's challenge, too--very clever.