It’s a tradition unlike any other. An annual rite of spring. And for true-blue golfers, the most eagerly anticipated tournament of the year.
Conducted by the green-jacketed membership, the Masters, slated for April 7 – 10, generally presents the best and most exciting golf competition of any of the majors. The reasons are many.
Unlike the other majors—the PGA Championship, U.S. Open and British Open (a.k.a. the Open Championship)--the Masters returns to the same venue every year.
As viewers can attest, Augusta National is the most exquisitely beautiful inland course in the world. Built by Alister Mackenzie, a Scottish course designer, and legendary amateur Bobby Jones, who wanted to create an inland version of the Old Course at St. Andrews, the layout, ladled across rolling terrain framed by tall Georgia pines, is astonishingly beautiful, never more so than in spring, when the azaleas, camellias and dogwoods burst into bloom. Augusta National is a cathedral of golf, a national treasure.
Best of all, the club is returning to its pre-pandemic form in 2022. Grandstands have been erected. Full attendance is expected. The famous Augusta roars will return to their traditional decibel level, loud enough to rattle the pines. This stellar event can’t get here soon enough!
A few storylines to follow.
- The Course. Augusta National’s horticultural perfection hides a razor-thin line between success and failure. The course is much hillier than it appears on TV. The fairways pitch and toss. Players must contend with uphill, downhill and sidehill lies. The huge undulating greens have false fronts and slippery spill-offs. They’re also exceedingly fast. “Like putting down the hood of a car and trying to get the ball to stop at the ornament,” a competitor once said. From the tournament tees at 7,510 yards (par 72), this perfectly manicured layout provides a complete test of a player’s skill and mettle.
- The Contenders. With so many great young players in top form, it’s difficult to predict who will slip on a coveted green jacket on Sunday. On the short list is Scottie Scheffler, 25, who ascended to World No. 1 with his victory at the WGC-Dell Technologies Match Play event on March 27. Other twentysomethings to watch: Jon Rahm, Collin Morikawa, Victor Hovland, Patrick Cantlay, Justin Thomas, Sam Burns, Joaquin Niemann, Sungjae Im, Will Zalatoris and recent Players Championship winner (and putting wizard) Cameron Smith. Other formidable competitors: Brooks Koepka, a 4-time major winner; Mexico’s own Abraham Ancer, shot three rounds in the 60s and tied for 13th in 2020; and Rory McIlroy, who needs a Masters win to complete his career Grand Slam. Don’t overlook previous Masters winners, from defending champ Hideki Matsuyama to Dustin Johnson, Jordan Spieth, Sergio Garcia, Patrick Reed, Bubba Watson, Adam Scott and Danny Willett.
- Tiger & Phil. At presstime, it was an open question whether Tiger Woods would compete in the 2022 Masters. The smart money says he’ll tee it up in the Par-3 Contest on Wednesday but skip the 72-hole competition. Phil Mickelson has reportedly been “disinvited” from playing this year’s tournament because of his recent incendiary remarks about the PGA Tour.
- The Viewing Experience. With its limited commercial interruption policy, it’s a pleasure to watch the Masters. There’s the delicate, syrupy melody of the Masters theme song plus a familiar team of broadcasters to call the action: the dulcet-voiced Jim Nantz, the insightful Sir Nick Faldo (a 3-time Masters champ), plus a team of expert commentators at key holes.
Golfers need a big TV with a good sound system and a gathering of like-minded fans to fully appreciate this premier sporting event.
Here’s our pick of the best sports bars in Los Cabos to watch the Masters.
Lively, well-established sports bar and restaurant on Boulevard Paseo de la Marina in downtown Cabo San Lucas is popular with visitors and locals alike. Ten large-screen TV’s angled to all directions. In addition to a thirst-quenching Jamaica Punch, the bar menu features eight beer cocktails, notably the Cantina-Rita, a traditional margarita on the rocks served with an inverted bottle of beer in the glass. Popular menu items include arrachera steak fajitas, pork carnitas and chicken enchiladas. Good shrimp dishes, too. The Cantina takes pride in its friendly staff, laid-back atmosphere and reasonable prices.
Located in Plaza Peninsula in San Jose del Cabo in the same complex as Starbucks, this top-notch sports bar has multiple big-screen TV’s, indoor-outdoor seating. Spacious, elegant main room has a large rectangular bar with TV’s angled down to patrons. During the Masters, it almost feels like you can reach up and touch the grass. Good signature cocktails, excellent wine list, good beer selection. The District’s menu is a cut above: superb seafood (tuna crudo, Baja fish tacos), high-quality cuts of beef and good veggie options (butternut squash ravioli, Buddha bowl). Scrumptious desserts, too.
Latitude 22+ Roadhouse
A storied local watering hole and hall of taxidermy filled to the rafters with 1,000-pound marlin and other leviathans of the deep, not to mention ship’s figureheads, celebrity photos and 500-plus license plates. The Roadhouse was the singular creation of founder Mike Grzanich (1941 – 2021), originator of “NO BAD DAYS.” Expect generous food portions, low prices and friendly service. Casual hangout is frequented by long-time ex-pats, boat captains, golf pros, etc. Nice view of Land’s End from the bar. Croatian prime rib, slow-roasted over a mesquite grill, is served on weekends. Located in Cabo San Lucas on a side road southwest from CostCo.
The After at Quivira
This stylish, urban-themed sports bar, located at Pueblo Bonito Sunset Beach Golf & Spa Resort, is accented by brick walls, brass chandeliers, illuminated globes and backlit glass bottles. Occupying a spacious indoor setting with a large ocean-view terrace, The After, an adjunct of The Market food hall, has nearly a dozen oversize flat-screen TVs. The well-stocked bar turns out specialty cocktails (Mai Tais, mojitos, margaritas). Artisanal beers are available on draft. The menu features classic American pub fare with an enticing Mexican twist, including “legendary” chicken wings and homemade meatloaf.
Fenway Bar Cabo
This off-the-beaten-track hideaway in downtown Cabo San Lucas, named for the famous ballpark where the Boston Red Sox play, is a gem. The beer of choice is Victoria, the first Mexican lager. The Green Monster Mojito, Fenway’s take on the classic Cuban cocktail, is made with Bacardi rum, mint muddled with simple syrup and a splash of soda. Served with a sustainable bamboo straw. The on-site grill turns out Tacos Villamelón, classic Mexico City tacos made in the style of one of the city’s most famous taquerías. The owner, a native of Mexico City, is an avid golfer. Fenway’s TV’s will be tuned to the Masters from the opening tee shots to the final putt.