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James w. Harper's 2013 Entries
The Return of Spring
By Shawn Peters
Special to ESPN.com
Robyn Beck/AFP/Getty Images
Tiger's success at Augusta is well documented, but can he make enough birdies and eagles to propel your Best Ball foursome to victory?
How do we know spring has sprung?
Is it when our calendar gets to that magical date of March 21 and winter is "officially" over? Of course not. There are still storms capable of dumping snow on large swaths of the country, reminding us that the calendar is just a piece of paper.
Is it when the first blooms appear in flowerbeds that were recently crusted with ice? The day when men and women alike ditch their sweaters for short sleeves, exposing millions of acres of pale skin to the sun for the first time in months? Or could it be when one of our nation's many microbrews releases its new seasonal beer, flavored with lemon zest and impossible-to-pronounce hops?
I'd argue that it's none of these signposts that signal the true beginning of spring, because I know spring hasn't sprung until I've filled out my fantasy foursome for The Masters edition of ESPN's Best Ball Challenge.
But that's just me.
Speaking of our venerable fantasy game: a brief recap for first-timers and returning swingers alike. The point of the ESPN Best Ball Majors remains to assemble a fearsome foursome of golfers who will work together to post the best round possible using "best ball" rules. What does that mean? Your four players' scorecards are combined and you get the lowest score of any of your four players on each hole. So if three of your pros can't find the newly re-contoured 14th green in regulation while the fourth snugs up his approach and rolls it in for a birdie, you get credit for the bird and the bogeys are forgiven. That's huge, because this game is built on birdies and eagles, not overall scores. Also, you still have limit of 50 fantasy bucks to spend on your active roster, so if you plan on picking up one big money stud, that's fine. Two is okay too. But if you think you can just load up on the biggest names, you're going to blow your budget and get no credit at all. Don't let it happen.
Of course, picking players isn't the only choice you have to make, because there are two different ways to play our game, with separate leaderboards for each... MORE
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