The greatest golf tournament on the planet is here, and it's time to sit back, relax, and enjoy the spectacle that is The Masters.
The key word here: relax. Yes, the serene scenery at Augusta National, the time of year, and of course, that soothing golf announcer voice all add up to make watching The Masters one of sports' most relaxing experiences. It's just science. Here's why watching The Masters is so relaxing.
Spring is in the air
For a large swath of America, tuning into The Masters is a signal of the weather turning for the better. Subconsciously, you know it's time for you to dust off your clubs and start working on your game again. (Hopefully this is the year you break 70. 80? 90? 100?)
Just the anticipation of playing golf can be relaxing. Why? Because for most of us, golf is a game of leisure. As you watch the four days of The Masters, your desire to get on the course increases. You see Dustin Johnson bomb the ball 300+ yards and envision yourself doing (or at least attempting) the same. You may even take a few practice swings at home, whether with a club in hand in your backyard, or in your living room playing “air gold.” Either way, it feels good to imagine yourself out on the links.
Everything's better with friends
One of the best parts about watching The Masters, or any sporting event, is doing it with friends. Golf is a social game, filled with high fives, handshakes, and hugs. You spend hours together talking smack, taking hacks, and throwing a few back (after the round, of course.)
Saturday and Sunday of The Masters are a signal to get the crew together and share stories about that all-time best round, which may or may not be a few strokes better than actually happened. That putt was actually a gimme but the sun was in my eye and the greens had just been aerated.
With today's HD broadcasts and big screen TVs—not to mention a nice food and drink spread—watching The Masters with a group of friends practically puts you at Augusta, becoming your "19th hole" that lasts as long as you want.
One of the best parts of The Masters is the first two words spoken on the CBS telecast by Jim Nantz: “Hello, friends.” And it is like catching up with an old friend. A friend that's been around for years and will be with you for the whole weekend. Nantz's voice elicits a Pavlovian impulse to sink deep into some couch cushions.
From there the subsequent sounds from The Masters telecast are like one of those "relaxing sounds" phone apps: birds chirping, silence when the players are hitting, and the commentators' patented almost-whisper all add up to peak serenity. Look, even other sports become incredibly soothing with golf announcer voice:
On the complete opposite end of the spectrum, there's even something relaxing about the crowd roar from The Masters. That sound when a golfer hits an incredible shot that sends the crowd into a frenzy, the white noise of the whispers building to rumbles building to cheers. The resulting rise and fall of adrenaline and dopamine can put you in a momentary state of bliss. No moment exemplifies this more than Tiger Woods' chip-in at 16 in the 2005 Masters:
It's straight-up beautiful
When you want peace and relaxation, you typically go on vacation to somewhere beautiful, where you can lose yourself in your surroundings. Watching The Masters is the staycation version. Four days of picturesque scenery, impeccably manicured Perennial Ryegrass, magnificent Juniper Trees, and flowers so spectacular that every hole at The Masters is named after a different one.
Of course, there's also beauty in the game of golf itself. Watching Adam Scott’s swing or Phil Mickelson scramble around a tree and land it within 5-feet of the hole is as soothing as getting a seaweed wrap on the beach. Seeing the flight of the ball through the spring Georgia sky as the best of the best attempt to conquer the game's most iconic course, you just have to sit back and admire. It’s like the sports version of an Instagram sunset photo.
Watching The Masters, and golf in general, is different from watching other US sports. Sure, you root for the golfers you like, but all great shots are worth celebrating. There's no vitriol against the opposing team—there are no teams. Just man vs. sand, grass, water, wind and his own mind. You don’t curse at the TV or yell at the ref over a blown call. And when Rory McIlroy sinks a putt and starts making a run up the leaderboard, it all makes you feel good. The competitors' success becomes your success.
One word: napping
Ah, sleep: really, it's the pinnacle of relaxation. Few things go together as well as watching golf and napping. It doesn't take a double-blind scientific study to know that every year since The Masters first aired back in 1956, generations of golf fans have been napping to it.
Sure, for some golf diehards, there's no way you want to miss a single shot of action. But for others, it's the Super Bowl of napping. Turn on The Masters in the afternoon and find a spot in your favorite chair or couch. Crack your favorite beverage, tuck in to some choice grub, and all of a sudden you start to realize how comfortable you are. Then you decide to close your eyes for a minute. Just to see how it feels. The next thing you know you wake up refreshed, with the final pairing on the back nine. Perfect! Time to finish out the tournament strong. You've earned it.
The way you feel after watching it
Coverage of The Masters culminates with the green jacket ceremony, around 7 pm (EST) on Sunday. At that point you’ve watched anywhere from one to forty hours of Masters coverage. Your days were filled with naps, hanging out with friends, and witnessing amazing shots from the best golfers in the world. Next up: dinner and bedtime. After giving everything you’ve got to the tournament you love, it’s time for even more rest and relaxation. You'll dream of the the tee time you booked with your friends for next weekend, where you'll break out that new driver that's been hibernating since Christmas. What a feeling!
Oh, and we forgot about one thing: the music...