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First, it is still proudly the Masters in 2021. It is still the Masters in Georgia in 2021, and the course and clubhouse are not festooned with self-abasing slogans. I am only a very casual fan of sports, prefer high-level mixed martial arts to most other professional sports, and yet enjoy watching a good final round of golf played by the best in the world. This Sunday afternoon, after three preceding days of play, a Japanese man stood at the top of the leader board, with four men tied four strokes back. As they all turned onto the back nine, Hideki Matsuyama was holding or extending his lead one hole at a time. This was compelling viewing, versus the not-so-earnest politicized nonsense being put on by basketball and baseball organizations.
I say not-so-earnest because the NBA courts are now missing the big bold signs signaling supposed virtue. They seem to be back to trying to pay their massive salary overhead with commercial sponsors’ branding. The college basketball courts still had the false premises “UNITY” “EQUALITY” painted in bold all caps on their sidelines for the NCAA basketball tournament. My read of the signs on the two levels of men’s basketball is that the NBA players, who entirely control their league, have declared mission accomplished. Their parlor pink comrades are in full control of the national government, which was the whole point of the past year’s posturing. Never mind that President Trump was objectively better for black Americans of every economic level and showed more real respect for black citizens than the party of Xiden and the KKK ever has. The vanguard of the proletariat gets paid in every “people’s revolution.”
But let’s not spoil a perfectly good Sunday afternoon with the antics of the super-rich. Let’s enjoy a really great walk unspoiled by athletes striking political poses instead of balls.
Matsuyama started the day poorly, while a young player, Will Zalatoris, seemed to be on fire, closing to a one-stroke difference over the first few holes. But then Zalatoris stumbled a bit and Matsuyama showed championship resilience, opening the lead and holding it even as some of his drives off the tee landed in pine needles between trees flanking the course. With five holes to play, the final pair, Matsuyama and Xander Schauffele were right where they started the day, with Schauffele in second place trailing the leader by four strokes. Matsuyama found the water, then Schauffele found the water. As they teed off on the final hole, Matuyama and Schauffele were exactly where they started the day (-11, -7), so the only way Matuyama could NOT win was if he double-bogeyed, putting himself in a playoff with Zalatoris, waiting in the clubhouse at -9 for the tournament.
Matuyama bogeyed the final hole, winning the Masters by one stroke at (-10). So it was that a 29-year-old Japanese player walked off the course into history, becoming the first Asian man to win the Masters golf tournament and the first Japanese man to win one of golf’s majors. Mind you, if the race police had not force Tiger Woods to renounce his early multi-racial identity, he would have been both the first black and first Asian man to win the Masters. There surely will be a dip in productivity in Japan this week, as the nation watched in the middle of the night for their first native son to join their countrywoman, Chako Higuchi, who won the LPGA Championship in 1977. Indeed, as Hideki Matsuyama teed off on the final hole, his compatriots were likely listening and watching on their smartphones as they hustled into their places of work Monday morning.
If five hours of golf is too much for you, there is a harder, faster sporting option. National What League? National Who Association? Dude, Florida is open for business, and Dana White is bringing the show live to 15,000 screaming UFC fans, with three championship fights topping the UFC-261 card at VyStar Veterans Memorial Arena, Jacksonville, Florida. The first huge post-China-virus event will feature the first Chinese champion, Zhang “Magnum” Weili, defending her strawweight title against American former champion Rose “Thug” Namajunas. Yes, this is one institution where real diversity is a strength, as the other top billings go to a Nigerian champion facing a Miami native and a Kyrgyzstani champion defending her belt against a Brazilian former champion.Published in