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                                          The answer is…golf – It’s history (and) it’s future. I bet you were going to say Tiger Woods! – Yeah – He 
                                     did win the (83rd) edition of the Masters Invitational – I’ll get to that – but the bigger winner was the game.
                                         Because, while we were all getting ready to watch the spectacle that is the Masters – the week prior to the 
Masters – history was made with the playing of the 1st ever Augusta National Women’s Amateur (and) the 6th Annual Drive, Chip, and Putt Championship.
   The impact of these (2) events on the continued growth of the game, the inclusion! in the game is truly immeasurable. No women’s competition was ever played at Augusta National – (and) – by staging some of the finest women amateurs in golf at (especially) Augusta National, the major organizations in golf have moved strongly towards letting everyone now know -All- are welcome.
   And the kids – aged (7-15) – who are of all races and backgrounds – are also finding out about how golf can use its magic to teach them so many fine life lessons – as well as – showing them a world they would probably never have seen otherwise.
   (All) the kids won -and- all the women who competed won! The actual women’s title was won by 2018 NCAA champion Jennifer Kupcho, who played brilliantly – but if you witnessed her interviews – her sportsmanship is what truly shined through, and she will long be remembered for that. 
   Many of these fine young women and juniors will someday most probably show up on the radar of one of the world wide tours – but (2) guarantees are certain: 1) This is something they will never forget. 2) A positive impact has been made on their lives through this experience, which will make them better and stronger adults.
Now – For the Masters
   Excuse me for saying…I don’t know how to explain it! -so- let me just make a list of what I saw, and you can take it from there.
* Tiger Woods won his 5th Masters title – at age (43) after having not won a major of any kind since the 2008 US Open – (which he won while playing with a badly fractured leg) – After having (4) major back surgeries over recent years – (including back fusion!) – which may have caused him to never! play golf again! - * I still have more exclamation points coming; the records set or tied – including now having won the Masters in (3) different decades; longest period of time in between victories at Augusta (14) years; - moving closer to Jack’s (18) major titles by having (15) now; - advancing to within only (1) title of the great Sam Snead’s (82) tour victories. *(Tiger now has (81) career wins on tour); moving from 1,199th in the world (2) years ago to #6!; (and) all while playing against another generation! of the best players in the world! – Excuse me for saying I am completely overwhelmed! This game is hard! Did I mention he had his back fused? And it was entirely possible he would be unable to walk, sit, or lie down without pain for the rest of his life – let alone play golf!!! I don’t know how many exclamation points to use – so I’ll just continue.
   Best comeback ever? in sports – There have been many others – most notably (in golf) Ben Hogan’s return after nearly dying in a car accident and being told that it was possible he would never walk again – and many others in other sports. (But) who cares? That’s one category I think most of us would like to avoid! Best golfer ever? …You decide. I believe the best ever will always be a generational situation among many – Bobby Jones, Hagen, Snead, Hogan, Palmer, and of course Jack – but who cares – What happened at this (2019) Masters – and what he did – and what he has overcome is magical in life, in golf, and…just simply defies logic! – Exclamation point (last)!
   *The man not only shot the T.V. ratings through the roof – but turned the Empire State Building a Masters jacket color of green - *I would put an exclamation point there, but I am out.* - Tiger is just…well, Tiger. And just like all great athletes and records, etc…there will be others that will follow – but this, what we just witnessed, is beyond exclamation.
   But…back to my original question in the title of this month’s article – April ’19 – Augusta National G.C. – who won? – The fine women golfer’s won, the kids (all) won, Tiger won, but most notably – golf won.
Golf Shots
   Obviously the Masters was the “elephant” of all the events played on the world’s tours in the last few weeks -but- there was much more great golf played, including:
   On the LPGA Tour – the Kia Classic saw the continued rise of Japan’s Nasa Hataoka who – at 20 – now has (3) LPGA Tour victories; the 1st major of the year on any tour – the Ana Inspiration – was won by (23) yr old South Korean (2018) Rookie of the Year Jin Young Ko, who has now moved to the #1 women’s player in the world; and another great young player – Canadian Brooke Henderson – who is only 20! – won the Lotte Championship for her 8th title on the LPGA – tying her with Canadians Sandra Post, George Knudson, and Mike Weir for most victories by a professional golfer in Canadian golf history, and -again- she is only (20)!
   The PGA Tour Champions held (2) events – with the Rapiscan Systems Classic being won by Kevin Sutherland in a (7) hole playoff; and the Mitsubishi Electric Classic title went to Scott McCarron for his 9th senior circuit victory.
   The Men’s PGA Tour held the WGC math play event in Austin, Texas – and saw Kevin Kisner work his way through the (64) great players to victory; northern Ireland’s Graeme McDowell won the Corales Pontacana Resort Championship; the 89th Valero Texas Open was won by Monday qualifier Corey Conners of Canada for his 1st career win on tour; and the 51st RBC Heritage Championship was won by Taiwan’s C.T. Pan-In beautiful Hilton Head Island, SC – also his 1st win on tour.
Quick Shots
   Mother’s Day – Sunday, May 12th – Take Mom out for a special day at the course – many courses let Mom’s play free on Mother’s Day! Call around – also maybe a little dinner at one of our fine courses – beautiful sunset views at – Pheasant Valley C.C. in Crown Point as an example – or maybe Duck Creek G.C. in Portage Township – fish fry at Scherwood G.C. in Schererville -or- just go hit balls at the range at Wicker Park (&) go elsewhere for dinner – but whatever you do – treat Mom great – she deserves it on her day – and always!
   Junior golf – be inspired by what you saw at Augusta – sign your kids or grandkids for the (2020) Drive, Chip, & Putt now at drivechipandputt.com – qualifiers are everywhere -or- call around to find out about our great local junior programs, camps, 1st Tee, (and) PGA Tour junior leagues – everything is just now getting started – and are all run by locals who really care!
   New golf equipment is arriving daily at all our local golf shops & golf stores – take advantage of the new technology in our game – it really helps -and- (always!) spend your dollars locally – keep region dollars in the region.
   Special thanks this month: To Mike Modrzejewski who keeps this train on the tracks every month – to Augusta National G.C. and all the governing bodies in golf who are making such great strides to grow our sport; and to my mom, who introduced me to the game so many years ago -she- like all Mom’s everywhere – are the best! Sunday, May 12th – Mother’s Day – Make her happy!
   (And) if you have a suggestion for a feature article you would like to see covered -or- if you just want to chime in – please contact me at our e-mail address: golfplus3@netzero.com or leave me a voicemail at (219)617-3276, and to read past golf course reviews – or to just visit Golf Plus newspaper online – visit our website at GolfPlusOnline.net.
   Lastly: Maybe a reminder to us all can be taken away from Tiger’s victory in April – golf teaches us a lot – we all get knocked down somehow – we all make mistakes – we all face obstacles of one kind or another in our lives – but you just have to fight your way through – it’s never what you accomplish life that matters…it’s about what you overcome. Enjoy the spring weather!
   See ya next month - Pete



May 2019 - Augusta National. G.C. (April ‘19) - Who won?
by Pete Mandich
GPO Correspondent