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Replays Can't Replicate the Thrill of Sports or Any Other Reason We Watch

It's supposed to be Sunday at The Masters today.

This year's tournament is still scheduled to be played in November, but we'll never know what would have happened in the originally scheduled iteration of the 2020 Masters. Maybe Tiger Woods improbably pulled one more rabbit out of the hat in Augusta. Maybe Rory McIlroy would have won his first major since 2014. Maybe Rickie Fowler would have finally gotten over the hump and won his first major. We'll never know.

If you're desperate to watch a final round of The Masters, however, you actually can tune in to watch one — the one from 2019. And that's fine. Networks are going to show sports properties they have rights to because there's a longing for any sports right now and people will tune in.

But here's the thing: replays can never replicate any of the reasons we watch sports in the first place.

The one reason to watch sports over any other form of entertainment is the fact that nobody in the world — those playing, those watching in the stands or those watching at home — knows what's about to happen. It is the purest and realest form of drama that exists. You can't script moments like Auburn's kick six or the Cubs' 10-inning win in Game 7 of the World Series ... or Tiger Woods at the 2019 Masters.

If I was going to watch something of which I know the ending, I'll go watch The Hangover. There's comedic value in re-watching that. But watching Tiger try to hold off Brooks Koepka and Dustin Johnson today knowing full well what's going to happen doesn't have much appeal to me.

We all watched with baited breath last year on the back nine as Koepka got an eagle on 13 and Johnson birdied 15, 16 and 17 to get within striking distance heading into the final hole, with Tiger trying so desperately to have just one more moment in the Sun on the most famous golf course in the world.

It's moments like that, watching with your family and friends as something amazing is happening that are what make sports worth playing and watching to begin with. So I might tune in to the last few holes this afternoon, knowing what happens. But all it will do is remind me what we don't have right now.