As I note every year, today is probably my favorite sporting event during the course of the year. And it's a sporting event that's wonderful even for people who tend not to watch sports. Wonderful even for those who abhor golf as the most boring thing on earth. And it's golf.
Today is the Masters Par 3 Contest.
Hold on, don't go running off screaming. Wait a moment. Let me explalin. The Masters Par 3 contest is an event held the day before the official Masters Tournament begins on Thursday. It's played -- as the name implies -- on a par 3 course, far less daunting than the actual tournament. And it's just a single day event which has no official status, and does not count towards the season statistics.
None of that, though, is why it's so wonderful and joyous and adorably fun. It's because the pro golfers who play in the event can have their family members along with them on the course -- caddying for them, just walking hand-in-hand with them, even putting for them on the green.
(A player who does the latter, letting his kids putt for him, is not allowed to qualify for winning the Par 3 contest, but it's clear they don't even remotely care.)
What makes this all the more fun is that so many of the pros not only bring along their children who have an idea about what's going on, but also their littlest kids, the three-year old toddlers, who don't have a clue. Dressed up in their official caddy jumpsuits, carrying around clubs bigger than they are, toppling over when running too fast to catch up (or when gravity hits them) or doing somersaults down the fairway. And not just their children, but sometimes their grandchildren. Running around the greens in the path of a putt, or being held in their dad's arms while he putts. There's also a lot of falling down. Did I mention falling down? There's a lot of that, both intentional and un.
And the legends play, too. You'll likely see Arnold Palmer, Jack Nicklaus and Gary Player together in a threesome.
It's just a glorious event to watch, and I can't recommend it enough. To be clear, it is a golf event, so it's not like every moment is a hoot. But enough of it is a hoot that your time is well-rewarded. It airs today (Wednesday) at 3 PM East Coast time or noon on the West Coast, and lasts for two hours, on ESPN.
Here's a short video that gives just a hint of an idea of what goes on. It's only about a minute. At the very least, do yourself a favor and spend the minute. You might find yourself tuning in later today.
Robert J. Elisberg is a political commentator, screenwriter, novelist, tech writer and also some other things that I just tend to keep forgetting.
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