On the 10th, when the final round of the Masters Tournament, the world’s most prestigious golf tournament, was held, an extraordinary scene unfolded around the green of the 11th hole at Augusta National Golf Club in Georgia, USA.
When Fred Couples (USA, photo), a veteran with gray hair, stepped onto the green, about 1,000 galleries who were sitting on stands and camping chairs stood up at once. They applauded and chanted “Freddie” (the couple’s nickname). Couples succeeded in passing the cut in this tournament at the age of 63 years and 182 days this year, rewriting the record for the oldest cut (63 years and 78 days) set by Bernhard Langer (Germany) in 2020.
Couples hit 5 over par in the final round. He ended the tournament with a final total of 9 over par of 297 and a tie for 50th. Grades didn’t matter. The galleries cheered for Couples’ self-management, which was not inferior to players his son’s age physically and mentally even at the age of over 60 years old.
Couples entered the event as the 1992 winner. Only about 90 players can participate in the Masters, including the winner of the US Professional Golf (PGA) tournament that season, the top 50 in the world rankings, and past Masters champions. Like Couples, Phil Mickelson (53), who competed as a former champion (winner in 2004, 2006, and 2010), tied for second place in this competition and set a record for the oldest top 5 ever. His world ranking is 213, and he would not have been able to compete in the Masters without winning in the past.
Giving qualifications to past champions is one of the ‘Masters spirit’, ‘respect for tradition’. The day before the start of the tournament, the winner of the previous year holds a ‘Champions Dinner’ to serve past champions, or ‘golf legends’ such as Jack Nicklaus (83), Gary Player (88), and Tom Watson (74) announce the start of the tournament with hits. It is also in the same context. Even though the prize money of the Masters ($18 million) is smaller than that of the Players Championship ($25 million), everyone recognizes the Masters as a more prestigious tournament thanks to this inimitable tradition and legacy.
What is the reality of Korea? Even if you are over 30 years old, the modifier ‘veteran’ is attached to the front of a player’s name. Even more so for female players. A scene in which a female athlete with a child competes with players in their early 20s becomes a ‘rare video’. The Korean Women’s Professional Golf (KLPGA) Tour changed the qualification for permanent seed rights in 2021 from ‘KLPGA Tour 20 wins’ to ’30 wins’. In the 45-year history of the KLPGA Tour, no player has achieved 30 wins. There is an evaluation that “means that we will not give permanent seed rights”.
During the Masters tournament, the KLPGA tour opening match (Lotte Rent-A-Car Women’s Open) was held in Jeju Island. Ahn Seon-joo (36),카지노사이트 the “golf mom” who has the permanent seed, vomited her spirits by coming in a tie for 4th place in this tournament. It was evaluated that it showed that the competition becomes even richer when the spirit of young players and the experience of veterans are added. It is time to overhaul related systems so that Fred Couples can appear in Korea as well.