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Chris Gay: Masters Week is the most wonderful time of the year

Posted: April 2, 2017 - 1:36am

Andy Williams had it wrong.

In 1963, the crooner's popular Christmas album was released. The album, chock full of holiday hits, features the classic, "It's the Most Wonderful Time of the Year." I love the song, but I politely disagree.

For sports fans, this is the most wonderful time of the year. We have finally escaped a wild, weird and wacky winter, knowing that summer is now near. Until then, we have a smorgasbord of sports to whet our appetites.

In the span of a few days, the NCAA Division I women's basketball championship will be held, along with the NCAA Division I men's basketball championship. Then, there's the start of baseball season. On Thursday, the Masters Tournament - the world's greatest golf tournament - officially swings into action. And don't forget about the various college football spring games, along with the continuation of the NBA, NHL and NASCAR seasons. Also, we have our Class A baseball team, the Augusta GreenJackets, starting their season. A little later this month, the NFL Draft will be held.

The start of April is arguably the greatest time of year to be a sports fan. The only other time that compares is in late October when the World Series is taking place, football is in full swing and the NBA and NHL seasons are just beginning.

We are spoiled to live in the city of one of the greatest sporting events in the world. Yes, there are other major sports that compare. The Daytona 500 and the Kentucky Derby are each held in the same spot every year, while the Super Bowl moves around the country.

Wimbledon might compare the most to the Masters, because each are prestigious events held at the same location for an extended period of time. The tennis tournament is held for two weeks during the summer in London. While they have tea and cakes in England, we have sweet tea and pimento cheese sandwiches in Augusta - and at a reasonable price, too. And we have azaleas and dogwood, even if they bloomed a little early this year.

I'm looking forward to the Masters. It's always fun to walk onto the Augusta National Golf Club grounds and see what's new. This year, we have the press building, the mansion. I'm told it's unbelievably nice inside. I'll let you know more in the near future.

I hope all of you enjoy the week. Whether you get to escape the craziness of Augusta for a few days or whether you're driving vans for various companies, may you all have a good time. Some of my family members are going to soak in one of the off-course activities this week. They are planning to attend to the Country Fore! Dough concert Tuesday night at the Lady A Pavilion. Excuse me. It's called "Rock Fore! Dough," even though the main performers, Darius Rucker and Lady Antebellum, are country artists.

Despite the mislabelling of the event, I hope it's a wild success.

If you go (and find somewhere to park), enjoy the Rock Fore! Dough concert. I'm not a fan of current country music, but I have respect for Rucker and Lady Antebellum. Kudos to Lakeside High School alumni Dave Haywood and Charles Kelley (two-thirds of Lady A) for having successful careers in Nashville.

Now that organizers have loosened the rules for Rock Fore! Dough performers, I have a suggestion for next year: Funk Fore! Dough. Why not bring in the Gap Band, George Clinton and Parliament Funkadelic and Kool & the Gang? Now, that would be an awesome concert.

Or get performers like Atlanta-based OutKast and we could have Rap Fore! Dough. Until then, you can enjoy one of the legends of rap on Wednesday. And you're going to need some dough to see him.

Snoop Dogg is performing at the Country Club Dance Hall and Saloon. Someone must have had a little too much gin and juice when they set ticket prices at $175 a pop, excluding the $12.81 service fee. Snoop Dogg? More like $noop Dogg.

Another concert this week is the Major Rager on Thursday night at the Augusta Common. Alternative rock band The Flaming Lips is the main act. Tickets are one-fifth the cost of the $noop Dogg event. Then again, $noop Dogg might be five times the performer.

The main action this week will be on the course, though. Tens of thousands of people will walk through the Augusta National gates and soak in the full experience. The course will surprise some folks, who will be taken aback at how hilly it is compared to what it looks like on television. Some folks will be amazed at how well-manicured the course is, how beautiful the plants and trees appear.

Next Sunday, we'll talk about how fast the week zoomed by. That's what happens when you're having fun. And make no mistake, this is an enjoyable week. Bring on the Masters. Bring on the Atlanta Braves. Bring on the basketball championships. Bring on all our favorite sports.

After all, this is the most wonderful time of the year.

 

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