The Masters is so much more than a golf tournament. Every year when the calendar hits April, golf fans eagerly await the most famous tournament of the year. And even without Tiger Woods this year, the tournament still carries an aura that you just don’t find anywhere else in sports.

Saying the Masters is just a golf tournament is like saying the Super Bowl is just a football game, or Seinfeld was just a TV show. No, it's THE football game, THE TV show, and THE golf tournament.

If you were to ask a baseball fan if there was one ballpark they could take batting practice in, they might say Yankee Stadium, or Fenway Park, maybe even Wrigley Field. A basketball fan might shoot hoops in Madison Square Garden, Staples Center, or maybe the old Boston Garden. Football fans might go to Lambeau Field, the Superdome, or Cowboys Stadium. But for golf fans, everyone will tell you if they could play one round on any course, it would be Augusta National.

It’s a golfer’s version of heaven. It is the undisputed pinnacle of the game. Fans tune in every year not only to watch the best players at the year’s first major, but to daydream about what playing there is like. They talk about staring down Amen corner, hitting the tee shot on 12, crossing Hogan’s bridge, and making a birdie putt. Fans drool at the idea of stepping up to the 18th tee, and knocking one through the gap between the trees, just like that famous Tiger Woods picture. They dream of slipping on the green jacket, after making a putt and jumping 6’’ in the air like Phil Mickelson. The Masters is all about hope, and dreams, and not just for the players.

The Masters also signifies the start of the golfing season across the country. Sure, the PGA has been going strong for 3+ months, but once the Masters rolls around, fans know it’s time to take the clubs out of the garage. Not only do the Masters give fans a reason to not leave their couch on the weekend, but it also means that for the next 6 months, they’ll be able to get out on the green themselves.

All of the above is why the Masters doesn’t lack any excitement just because Tiger Woods is not playing, which no other tournament could say. It’s so much more than a golf tournament to fans.