MCCULLERS COLUMN: Spring is here, even if it may not look like it

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Spring is in the air.

Well, not really.

You couldn’t tell winter has technically come to an end by looking out your window, of course, not with the below-freezing temperatures and heavy snowfall expected over the next few days here in the Flathead Valley.

But tune your set to ESPN or CBS, and you’ll be assured spring has indeed arrived, even if only in a land far, far away.

That’s right, it is time once again for The Masters, the event that forever serves as the unofficial sign that spring has sprung, even if the calendar insisted as much back on March 20.

I’ll have to settle for the sights of Augusta National this year, but I’ll never forget experiencing golf’s most hallowed grounds in all their glory on Wednesday, April 8, 2015.

I could go into all the intricate details of the blissful day spent perusing the place, from the celebrity encounters to the obscene amount of walking required to traverse the larger-than-life course, but they would go far beyond what this single column will allow.

In short, Augusta National Golf Club is as beautiful, as majestic and as special as it seems from afar. It is, quite simply, sports nirvana.

The famous azaleas that wrap around the all-too-narrow fairways and pristine greens burst with color in a way that belies the brutal north Georgia winter they’ve just endured.

The sounds of the cardinals and wrens singing in the pine trees pair perfectly with the explosive sound of club-to-ball connection radiating from the tee boxes (though, as CBS has admitted in years past, the sound of the birds you’ll hear on TV is indeed amplified).

The scent of the club’s famous pimiento cheese sandwiches, which are famously cheap at just $1.50, wafts through the air omnipresently, so tempting it’s almost unfair.

Augusta National’s natural beauty is so striking, in fact, that it can almost — almost — make the tens of thousands of patrons forgot about all the history inside those gates.

If we’re lucky, we’ll see more history made over the next several days.

Spring is here. The Masters tells us as much.

And, if for no other reason than this tournament, that is reason to rejoice.

Evan McCullers is a sports reporter and columnist for the Daily Inter Lake. He can be contacted by phone at (406) 758-4463 or by email at emccullers@dailyinterlake.com.

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