Masters brings family together

Talked to my sister on Sunday. We're close, but like many relatives, probably don't talk often enough. However, her birthday gave us a good excuse to get on the phone.

It was a conversation like we all have: How is the family? The job? The work projects? Anything exciting coming up? What was that noise? Did your kid just destroy something? You know the drill.

She asked me what I was doing, and that's how the conversation drifted toward the Masters. That little golf tournament in Augusta, which concluded on Sunday, grabs the attention of even casual golf fans, and my sister is no different.

She didn't really have a choice. Our dad was a huge golf fan. He wasn't a selfish guy and didn't demand much private time. But if it was Sunday and the final round of one of golf's major tournaments was on TV, we knew where he (and the rest of us) would be.

I don't know how much my sister cared about other tournaments, but she and my mom were drawn to the Masters and Augusta National Golf Club like so many other casual fans. It was the beauty of the azaleas, the lushness of the fairways and the reverence people have for the whole thing that

interested them.

And all of that made it a special trip years ago when the whole family drove down for a practice round. She wasn't that way at most sporting events we attended, but my baby sister seemed to enjoy Augusta National as much as me and my dad.

She liked the flowers, the layout, really just everything about the place. A big Seve Ballesteros fan, she liked following his practice group, and even managed to get me to take her picture with Seve in the background as he walked past.

But it wasn't individual golfers that captured her attention. She's never even heard of Trevor Immelman, this year's winner, but to my sister, like a lot of casual fans, the Masters is much more than a competition. It's a rite of spring.

"I've been a lot of places," she said during our Sunday talk, "but I don't think I've ever been anywhere more beautiful than the Masters."

I'm not sure if that memory is influenced by her current home in Minneapolis (those azaleas have to look extra pretty when snow is on the ground or in the forecast), but it was a nice sentiment to hear. And it brought back good memories for both of us - of our dad, family trips and time together.

It's always easy to get jaded with the familiar. You see that ubiquitous Masters logo on plenty of shirts and caps around here, talk to a lot of people who have been to the tourney. And I've been lucky enough to attend the Masters several times, losing a little of the awe that people who live more than two hours away from Augusta have for the tournament.

Sometimes it's nice to be reminded of how special the familiar can be and how nice some of the things you take for granted really are. Like watching the final round of the Masters with the family, or chatting with your sister on a sunny Sunday.

Todd Cline can be reached via e-mail at todd.cline@gwinnettdailypost.com. His column appears on Tuesdays.