Every April, the PGA Tour makes its yearly appearance at August National Golf Club for the Masters, which kicks off the major tournament season in earnest. Putting aside the horrible history of discrimination employed by Augusta, the Masters are generally where most casual golf fans check in on the sport. It’s always a beautiful course and the Masters generally has an exciting conclusion; since 2010, all but one has finished with a 3-stroke or less difference between 1st and 2nd place.
Playing the Masters is a tradition unlike any other, but so is watching it. And so it attracts a variety of dad fans who tune in to see who wins the famed green jacket. Some sit, white-knuckled and watch the entire four-day affair; others tune in to watch the last few greens; still others take advantage of the announcers’ white noise-voices and nap the tournament away. While no two dads are the same, those who watch the Masters most definitely fall into one of these five categories.
The Masters being on is the least of this dad’s worries. Usually found on the couch with a half-drunk second beer on the side table, he is mildly ambivalent towards whatever is on TV. It’s easy to watch, the grass is soothing, and the ASMR-like whisper commentary allows him to kick back and score the perfect afternoon nap. Wake him up at 4 p.m. on Sunday and he’ll have no idea who is winning, or even who is playing. While he might know enough to mutter something about Rory McIlroy as he wakes, he’ll certainly have a nice spot of drool on the corner of his mouth.
This guy is aware of every flag placement and figure of Augusta. He subscribes to Golfer’s Digest and only makes sharp commentary during the telecast.
Oh, you think Rory is going to take it this year? Pfft. This guy will pick Patrick Reed and brag about his day two lead in the group text he has with his barely-paying-attention relatives. Sure, he only watches the four majors – and sometimes, he doesn’t even bother with the PGA Championship, because who cares about that one? But you bet your ass he’ll have talking points on Monday. Sure, he’s aware of every flag placement and figure, has analyzed wind patterns and adjusted his picks based on humidity. But ask him who won the Houston Open last week, and he will look at you like you asked to punch him in the face (Ian Poulter, who?).
The Tiger Fan
While he may have lapsed for half a decade, this dad will be following the Masters all weekend long, if only for one golfer: Eldrick “Tiger” Woods. This dad was a young adult during the peak of golf’s popularity in the late ’90s and early 2000s. He’s got a bunch of tight-fitting polos in his closet and sure that Tiger just needs one more major to kick off a late-career renaissance that will finally propel him past Jack Nicklaus on the all-time major wins list.
Does he know who won at Augusta last year? No (It was Sergio Garcia, who he might be shocked is still around.) But he’ll be there the whole weekend, obsessively checking the CBS app for hole-by-hole Tiger updates. He’s not a bad fan, but he’s definitely a bit deluded if he thinks Tiger will overcome his slow start (shooting a 2-over-par on Thursday) to win his 15th major title. Crazier things have happened, but Tiger isn’t all the way back just yet. There’s always the U.S. Open in June, though.
The “Back Nine on Sunday” Guy
While this dad might enjoy playing golf, and even might do it on a semi-regular basis, he knows very little about the pros. Sure, he knows Tiger and McIlroy, and can keep up with casual conversation, but he only really tunes in if and when the Masters get good. After coming in from doing yard work on taking the kids to the park, he’ll sit down on the couch and finally turn on CBS to watch the “good parts.” Of course, like anyone who stumbles into college basketball every March for the NCAA tournament, this dad will immediately pick someone to root for based on a completely random reason. Whatever the case, he’ll be super-invested for about two hours before either going to do something else with his Sunday or turning into The Napper. For those two hours, however, he will be the most passionate golf fan in the world, and don’t you tell him otherwise!
The “True Fan”
This is the guy that rushes through early morning tee times so he can come back home in time to tune in for the bulk of the Masters each year. This is his March Madness, his Stanley Cup Championship. He can wax poetic on the speed of golfers’ swings and know the 7-iron distance of most players. He definitely has a Masters ritual, which likely involves angling the TV just so and a mixed drink. He’s not a Tiger fan anymore, but won’t trash him because of all that he did for the sport at the turn of the millennium. And he will stay tuned until that green jacket is placed over the shoulders of the winner. He might get misty. He will say aloud, but to himself, isn’t that something. He definitely knows who Ian Poulter is.