The Masters Diary: Hats off to the irrefutable legends of the game

The juices are flowing for players like 48-year-old Tiger Woods who has made the cut at Augusta for a record 24th consecutive time and has overtaken Fred Couples and Gary Player

By Nick Tarratt, Khaleej Times Guest Golf Writer LIVE at The Masters

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Tiger Woods of the U.S. acknowledges the crowd after securing a record-breaking 24th consecutive cut at The Masters. - Reuters
Tiger Woods of the U.S. acknowledges the crowd after securing a record-breaking 24th consecutive cut at The Masters. - Reuters

Published: Sat 13 Apr 2024, 2:08 PM

At the start of the week, and as we have spoken about before, the writer is immediately struck by the history and tradition of The Masters.

Walking around the grounds at Augusta you casually bump into legends of the game and not just former Masters’ champions.


Tom Kite, Hale Irwin, Andy North, Greg Norman, Rodger Davis, and so many more are all hear to soak in the extraordinary atmosphere that only an event like The Masters can offer.

They all add historical flavour to an already overload and are obviously enjoying themselves.


Many are still in the business of golf be it in the media or part of the many Golf Federations attending this week's golfing extravaganza.

Spain's Jose Maria Olazabal plays out from the bunker during the second round  - Reuters
Spain's Jose Maria Olazabal plays out from the bunker during the second round - Reuters

Tom Watson seems to hit as many balls on the range as any of the current players and appears to be still looking to improve his game.

The honorary starters – Watson, Jack Nicklaus and Gary Player - hit their tee shots on a slightly delayed Thursday morning to officially commence the 88th edition of The Masters.

The writer assumed that all the legends would now step aside and leave it to the youngsters to play out the first Major of the year. But they did not.

After one of the toughest days in recent history on Friday, with gusting winds to test the best in the world, the cut mark fell at six over par with the average score for round two of over 75.

Vijay Singh of Fiji. - AFP
Vijay Singh of Fiji. - AFP

On their way down Magnolia Lane and off home or to their next tournament are Sergio Garcia, Justin Thomas, Justin Rose, Victor Hovland, Brian Harman, Jordan Spieth and Dustin Johnson, plus a disappointed Dubai-based Adrian Meronk.

If these names were at the top of the leaderboard – no one would be surprised – it was perhaps expected.

Another look at the leaderboard reveals two former champions, Jose Maria Olazabal and Vijay Singh, have made it through to the weekend.

Olazabal, 58 years old and two-time Masters champion in 1994 and 1999, makes it on the mark while the big Fijian Singh, now 61 years old and the 2000 champion, is further up the leaderboard in tied 35th.

How do they do it and why do they do it?

They still have talent and are both reasonably active in senior golf around the world. They have both looked after themselves physically and are obviously very healthy.

But why?

They are both eligible to tee it up as former champions.

They both probably feel they have a game – but playing a Major off a full golf course playing its toughest, the obvious loss of length is going to hurt?

It is at least – surely, ambitious!

But no, the juices are flowing, the ball does not know who is hitting the ball and they do it – they not only play well – but both made the cut.

This article would not be complete without reference to a 48-year-old, Tiger Woods, who has hardly played in the last 12 months or so since making the cut last year and then having to withdraw after struggling with injury.

Tiger has made the cut at The Masters for the 24th consecutive time – that is some record – overtaking Fred Couples and Gary Player.

What other sport could we talk about guys in the maturer stage of their careers still competing on level terms with the current best in the game?

It is weeks like this that we all realise how special the game of golf really is.

The third round is up next in a few hours – we cannot wait – the week is going too fast!

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