The rites of spring: Red Sox fans lamenting the end of the baseball season and golf fans celebrating the beginning of the golf season.
It was all there Thursday when Sports Center segued to the Masters on ESPN. One ended with details of another Red Sox' loss, the other began with the ceremonial tee shots from Arnold Palmer and Jack Nicklaus to open the Masters.
Red Sox fans, of course, are are notoriously and reflexively pessimistic.
FYI: ESPN came on the air an hour earlier than it did a year ago. Tiger Woods was on the 15th hole when the telecast began, enabling viewers to see his final four holes, at least. Had ESPN been on the same schedule, viewers would have seen none of Woods' round live.
Then again, had Masters.com seen fit to include Woods in one of its Featured Groups in its online live coverage, we might have seen all of Woods' round.
ESPN'S Tom Rinaldi to Woods, who shot 71: "Do you feel good about where you are?"
"Absolutely. I'm only six back," Woods said, smiling.
Joe Ford, vice chairman of the Augusta National Golf Club, once again explained that the club "is pleased to continue our tradition of minimal commercial interruption by bringing you 56 minutes out of every hour of golf action."
For the record: It fell short of 56 minutes of live golf action in the first hour. The first live shot wasn't shown until nearly five minutes into the telecast.
Peter Kostis: "Henrik Stenson is having a daytime nightmare. Plus-11, which included an eight back at the fourth hole, a par three."
David Feherty: "Just a glorious day. The only way you could ruin a day like this is to play golf on it."
Ian Baker-Finch: "The look of modern golf, this grouping of three [Alvaro Quiros, Jhonattan Vegas and Gary Woodland]. They hit it so far."
When Phil Mickelson hit his tee shot well left at the 13th hole, ESPN had a timely lineup of players commenting on Mickelson's remarkable 6-iron from the pine straw and through the trees on the same hole in the final round of the Masters last year.
Vegas: "I remember being at home watching this shot and thinking, man, this guy's crazy."
Justin Rose: "Suicide is what I thought. I mean, this guy's got the best wedge game in the world. What's he doing?"
Kevin Streelman: "I was texting my caddie,saying, can you believe he's trying this golf shot right now?"
Dustin Johnson: "Some of the guys were kind of criticizing him. What is he thinking, what is he doing? But I thought it was making the right play."
Edoardo Molinari: "I think that was the most unbelievable shot I've ever seen."
On Facebook, from Tod Leonard, golf writer for the San Diego Union-Tribune: "We had a little pre-Masters drama in the house last night. While we were barbecuing a bat flew in the door. He swooped around before settling on the roof beam. His body wasn't much bigger than a hamster's, but we called animal control because they can have rabies. They netted him at 11:30."
On Twitter, from Golf Digest's Dan Jenkins: "One of the secrets to McIlroy's success may be his short haircut. He no longer looks like Barbara Streisand."
From Rickie Fowler's post-round interview with the media, on whether he would wear his hat backwards: "Well, around here it's forwards. Once I get off, if I had a chance, I might throw it on backwards."
-- John Strege
(Photo by Getty Images)