I don’t necessarily disagree with Mo’Golf anointing the US Open as the best pro tournament on US soil, but, in my opinion, The Masters has to rate pretty high up the food chain.
The Masters, and the US Open have so many pluses that it is really hard to choose between the two. So, I won’t make a decision, however, I’ll present what I think are some points of comparison.
Both have tradition, but, I give a slight edge to The Masters because its traditions extend way beyond just its longevity in golf. From the cottage where amateurs stay to the ridiculously low prices for on course food and beverages to the conscious effort to keep commercialism at bay, The Masters is unsurpassed in all of golf.
Yes, there are some traditions (its membership policies, for one) that could use a real dose of modern reality, but, all in all, The Masters has stuck vehemently to its heritage.
Both The Masters and The Open attract the creme de la creme of golfers, but, I give the edge to the Open for its qualifying policies. Nothing beats watching some amateur or obscure pro race up the leader board on day one. Of course, in the end, talent wins out and these interlopers usually find themselves on the wrong side of the cut-line, but, it is great drama while it lasts.
The US Open is usually played on some of the finest and most spectacular tracks in the states, but, for sheer beauty, I don’t think any course can top Augusta National. From the explosive colors of the flowers that spill from the hills surrounding the 13th green to the reflection of the stone bridge over Rae’s Creek to the lush fairways that often cascade down from tee boxes to greens, Augusta is a sight to behold.
As for the competition, I find both courses a bit of a mixed bag. The Masters can yield a ton of birdies and even eagles that often lead to spell-binding finishes, but, the relative ease of some of the holes often allows for golfers to survive without the benefit of their ‘A-game’. On the other hand, the US Open courses are set up so severely that it often becomes a matter of attrition rather than a true test of one’s abilities. Maybe a compromise between the two would be the best, but, would more than likely diminish the allure of both events.
So, there you have it. Two great events that often capture the interest of viewers who are only casual fans and that is never a bad thing for golf.