The Masters

Sergio Garcia is no longer one of the best players to have never won a major tournament.

Golf has a new Masters champion.

And I’m going fishing tomorrow.

At this point, you might be asking yourself why I’m planning to dunk a few worms on a Monday – the beginning of the work week.

My answer?

Tomorrow is my birthday. I’ve taken the day off and I want to spend it breaking in the new rod I bought last week as a present to myself.

I’m not sure why I bothered to fetch a new pole home from the sporting goods store. I don’t deserve it. I’m a terrible fisherman.

The thing is, though, I’m an even worse golfer. You’ll never see me in a major tournament playoff like the one Sergio Garcia and Justin Rose engaged in to decide the 2017 Masters at Augusta National.

But if Garcia can stick with golf and finally win a major tournament after more than 70 tries, the least I can do is try to actually catch a birthday fish or two.

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Why am I all of a sudden interested in golf?

Maybe I’m just getting older, but I’ve been surprising myself lately when it comes to sports.

I’ve never been much of a fan. I’ve tried, however, sports just aren’t a big priority to me. I’m more the fair weather type – someone who waits for the end of any particular season before getting interested, if at all. But I do like to go to the ballpark from time to time. In fact, early spring baseball games seem to be turning into a tradition.

For the second year in a row, our son and I spent our birthdays shivering through nine innings.

Our oldest kid came into the world 16 years ago this week – two days before my own birthday. You could say he’s the gift that keeps on giving. And, in all those years, he’s never failed to disappoint.

When he was younger, it was a birthday present to just have him around. It still is, only now he’s getting more expensive. It’s his superpower. For example, this year he presented me with the school form the DMV requires for a learner’s permit. I see a long line in my near future that’s just going to end with a more expensive monthly insurance bill.

His ability to drain my bank account notwithstanding, last year we celebrated our birthdays in Washington, D.C. I took our son to his first major league baseball game at Nationals Park. It was a great day for baseball, but by the time the sun went down, I could hear my mom in the back of my head warning me to take a jacket. “You’ll freeze,” she used to warn the teenaged me as I left to join my friends for a minor league game in my hometown of Charleston.

This year, I actually became my mother for a moment and warned my son that he’d “catch his death of cold!” if he didn’t bring a jacket along. And not only did I remember mine, I even grabbed a blanket.

Despite taking mom seriously for once, we still shivered in the stands, but at least I didn’t spend as much money for the privilege. Since our son is taxing my wallet more with each succeeding birthday, I opted to stay closer to home this year. We drove over to Hagerstown and spent a teeth-chattering evening this week watching the minor league Suns play.

My interest in following a sport such as baseball so early in the season, must be having an unusual impact because now I’m actually paying attention to golf, too.

Many of the world’s best players are at Augusta National for The Masters, the first major tournament of the year.

I’ll be watching Sunday’s final round closely, even though I don’t know exactly why.

Watching players walk the links trying to sink a small white ball into a hole over and over again isn’t normally my idea of fun. But maybe some sort of collective memory is catching up to me. After all, I was a newborn 50 years ago when the legendary Arnold Palmer won his fourth green jacket. It was Palmer’s last major tournament victory.

Of course, there’s another possible reason for my newfound interest. I’m getting older, which means I may not be as easily bored.