This is one of the very few times I can say the Masters has ever crept up on me. As great as the One in November was, I am beyond ready for things to get back to normal. As most of you know, the Masters isn't my favorite major but I do appreciate the tradition and lore of what it brings. The Masters and Augusta National are in a tier all their own, people who try to replicate it will never be able to achieve what it has become. People spend their entire lives living in the lottery system just trying to get practice round tickets....PRACTICE...we're talking about PRACTICE...sorry had to. This is going to be one of my longer blogs but wanted to get in-depth in the areas that I think make this week so incredible. (Outside of the new Augusta Women's Amateur Championship and the Drive, Chip & Putt - which I love).
The drive into August National for the players starts with the world-renowned Magnolia Lane...players spend the entire lives waiting to be invited to this event knowing a win can immortalize them forever. The chills someone must feel playing in their first as they drive up the perfectly (and sometimes fake) manicured landscape is on a whole new level.
The Oak Tree
One of the most well known things around the Masters is that cell phones are not allowed. Yes, there are pay phones on-site but living in a world where everything is controlled with your cell, it's a very new experience to not have it. The Masters is also a meeting spot for the leaders not only in the golf space but also within the business world. To setup meetings during the week on course, instead of texting these leaders will set times leading up to the week on set days & times to meet at The Oak outside the clubhouse. Just imagine walking around the prestigious grounds and seeing Michael Wahn hanging out under this oak tree awaiting a meeting with Seth Waugh (one of my favorite humans in the world and overall badass). It reminds me of elementary school where your friends were in a different 5th grade class but you all would agree to meet out by the swings at lunch to play football, tag or kickball. The Oak Tree really is the epicenter of the golf world during the week of the Masters.
The Nightly Parties
To continue talking about how all the powerbrokers in golf and the brands that support them, they use this week to entertain off the course as much as they do on the course. Since Augusta is so expensive during the week, so many organizations will rent out houses in local neighborhoods and especially at Champions Retreat where their leadership will stay for the week but they will also host gatherings to entertain clients and colleagues in the golf space. It's almost like a camp getaway for people who run the entire golf world. These are exactly what you may think they are....obviously, I was never invited to them but did help coordinate efforts. (I'm jealous, they sound awesome)
The Merchandise Tent
This truly is a madhouse. I love Masters apparel as much as most the fixed structured has every type of merchandise you can image. They have hole flags, doozies, hats, shirts, mugs, literally everything you want with the coveted Masters logo plastered on them. When we went, I got orders from a few friends and easily spent a few hundred dollars and I feel like I got out of there with a much smaller bill than those around me.
One of the things I truly enjoy the most about the Masters is seeing how brands will activate during the week, specifically around the apparel companies. Each company will set out their scripts for their golfers for the week and spend the week marketing the Masters inspired apparel that their athletes will wear. Let's take a look at how some of these companies are setting up for this week.
Bryson DeChambeau (Puma)
Kevin Kisner (Peter Millar)
Cameron Smith (Original Penguin)
Max Homa (Footjoy)
Billy Horschel (RLX)
Dustin Johnson (Adidas)
Carlos Ortiz (Greyson)
The top 10 odds (courtesy of BetMGM)
Dustin Johnson +800
Bryson DeChambeau +1100
Jon Rahm +1200
Justin Thomas +1200
Brooks Koepka +1400
Rory Mcilroy +1400
Jordan Spieth +2000
Xander Schaufelle +2000
Patrick Cantlay + 2500
Collin Morikawa +2800
I can't tell you how excited I am to see Spieth back in the winners circle (Valero Texas Open) but also at the top for betting again for the Masters. He has gone from being one of the most dominate players on tour to barely getting through rounds to competing and finally winning again. That being said, we are going to focus on (4) players we are going to put money on this week.
Dustin Johnson - As the defending champion and world #1, it is always smart to put money on him. There have been very few golfers in the last 40 years that when they want to turn it on and lock-in can and do. He is the world #1 for a reason and as the returning champion, I don't see him backing off this time.
Justin Thomas - I love the way JT plays, the fire he has and the precision with his irons are what makes him a favorite this week. I would have Jon Rahm here but just having a child this past weekend, who knows where his head is at. JT will always be at the top for me, he seems to play better in big moments and enjoys this type of environment. I LOVE ME SOME ME!
Jordan Spieth - I've already mentioned Spieth and his phoenix type assent but the 2015 Masters Champion is back in form and will have the opportunity to grab his 4th major by the age of 28.
Kevin Kisner - Kiz is another that I will always love to pick. He isn't the longest golfer on tour but is from the Southeast and sitting at +5000 for the week is a great payday. He has made the cut every year he's played, minus 2020. If you want a long shot and someone you are going to enjoy riding this week with...go with Kiz.
Whiskey Pines National Limited Edition Release
We are going to be releasing limited edition shirts / hoodies for each of the major events in golf....The Azalea is now available on the website!
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"No regrets that's my motto....that and everyone wang chung tonight" - Out Cold
I love me some me! - Justin Thomas