Masters -- now, it's spring - 04/08/14

  I love the Masters golf tournament. I've been to the World Series, the NBA finals, the Rose Bowl, and various NFL games, but nothing is like going to the Masters -- or watching on TV, for that matter.
  For me, the Masters is spring. The NCAA Final Four tells me winter is coming to an end, but the Masters tells me the sun will shine again, the temperature will rise for good and the flowers will bloom. Literally, in the case of the azaleas that come out (almost always) in sync with the tournament in Augusta.
  It also honors tradition. How can you avoid thinking about Jack Nicklaus winning six of them -- his last at the age of 46? Or Arnie and his army taking the course by storm, winning four times with a swing that always seemed a little out of control. Tiger in 2005, chipping off the green on 16 and watching his ball hesitate for what seemed like forever... before dropping in the hold for a birdie. And then there's the shot by Phil Mickelson behind a tree in the pine needles on number 13 in 2010. (By the way, he missed that eagle putt. But the birdie kept him going.)
  That's another thing. Augusta is the only pro course where I know almost all the holes by their numbers, some even by their names. I've watched the best players heading into Amen Corner, hitting into the "postage stamp size green" on number 12. I've seen them hit the ball on the wrong side of the fairway on 13 so they won't be able to get home in two on the iconic par five. And I've cheered on the players to "skip it" across the lake on 16 on practice day (Wednesday) and booed them with everyone else in good humor as the ball bounces several times and then disappears into the water short of the green. I've sat in the stands on number 8 and watched a player take a wedge out of his bag to play a ball just off the green and, with everyone else who'd been sitting there for an hour, nod knowingly when the perfectly hit ball rolled off the green on the other side. (We could have told him, on these greens, you should have used a putter.)
  Yes, the Masters is something special. It's finally spring.


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Last Update on October 05, 2015 08:48 GMT


ATLANTA (AP) -- The Atlanta Braves haven't exactly had a lot of big hits this past season -- which is why they finished about two dozen games behind the first-place New York Mets in the National League East. But their catcher A.J. Pierzynski delivered a big hit during yesterday's final home game. It wasn't during the actual game; Pierzynski sat that out with knee and shin injuries. But he did manage to tough it out long enough to sneak up on a group of tool mascots who run a foot race around the midpoint of each Braves home game. Pierzynski took out the paint brush and hammer characters with body blocks. The drill bit escaped Pierzynski's antics -- and ended up winning the race.


MARGATE, N.J. (AP) -- Think it's hard to address the big elephant in the room? Try taking up the subject of the big elephant that sits near the beach in Margate, New Jersey. This pachyderm has had its share of troubles. Lucy the Elephant has been hit by lightning -- twice -- and has had a giant tent pole slammed into her rear end. But the biggest problem it faces is erosion. Grains of windblown sand are constantly wearing away at her wooden railings and the coat of paint that protects her from the elements. Officials say they want to give the 134-year-old tourist attraction relief -- in the form of replacing some of its wood and giving it a new coat of paint.


GREENSBURG, Pa. (AP) -- You'd think a guy who had just left a courtroom where he was sentenced to 20 years in prison would have had his fill of legal proceedings by now. But not long after drawing his sentence late last week, Greg Howard went right back to court -- this time to marry his girlfriend. The Pittsburgh Tribune-Review reports Howard got married after being sentenced for robbing and assaulting an elderly woman during a home invasion. That wasn't enough to deter him and his future spouse from saying their "I dos."


FAIRBANKS, Alaska (AP) -- You can't beat Santa Claus when it comes to name recognition -- especially at the North Pole. But only time will tell whether Santa Claus can be beaten for a City Council seat in the tiny Alaska town of North Pole. The Fairbanks Daily News-Miner reports Claus has launched a write-in campaign for the office. Claus -- whose driver's license bears his legal name of Santa Claus -- has held office before. He's the former head of the North Pole Chamber of Commerce.


TRENTON, N.J. (AP) -- Can passing gas cause you to be expelled from your job? Before you pooh-pooh the idea, consider a lawsuit that may end up being aired out in a New Jersey courtroom. One of New Jersey's top pork roll makers is being sued by the wife of an employee who she says was fired for firing off too much gas in the workplace. The Home News Tribune reports that Louann Clem claims in the lawsuit that there's a medical reason for all the flatulence. She claims her husband had gastric bypass surgery and is now gassy -- and has uncontrollable diarrhea.

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