I love this time of year.
Granted, I might be a little biased — my birthday is on Monday — but some of my favorite childhood memories center around watching this tournament.
I can remember sitting on the couch with my Dad the day after my 11th birthday, quietly cheering on our all-time favorite golfer, Jack Nicklaus, pull off one of the greatest comebacks in sports history.
The “Golden Bear” started the day tied for 9th with 6 other people at 2 under par, four shots behind leader Greg Norman. And after 8 holes, that’s right where he remained.
But he stuck his approach on the 9th about 10 feet from the pin.
And that’s when the magic started to kick in.
He rolled in that birdie putt like it was no big deal — about 22 minutes or so into the broadcast — and cracked a little smile. Dad gently elbowed me in the ribs and exclaimed, “Ho-hooo… Watch out! He’s feelin’ it now!”
Dad was right.
Nicklaus rattled off two more birdies over the next two holes, sinking a 25-footer on the 11th — about the 49:20 mark — to move to 5 under for the tournament.
You can’t have a great comeback story without drama, though.
Nicklaus pulled his tee shot on the par-3 12th hole way to the left and my 11-year-old heart sank.
Then he chipped to within 10 feet and I felt relieved.
And I just got absolutely crushed when he barely missed his putt for par — 59 minutes in — pulling him right back into a tie for 6th and leaving him three shots back with 6 left to play.
But he didn’t dwell on it.
He charged on with a birdie and a tough par on the next two holes, before absolutely nailing one of the most clutch eagle putts ever (at 1:42:00).
And he followed that up with consecutive birdies at the next two holes, the last of which (at 2:06:00) gave him sole possession of first place. It’s largely considered one of the greatest single moments in the history of golf.
If that wasn’t dramatic enough, 11-year-old me also had to wait out eventual co-leader Greg Norman bogeying the final hole to seal Nicklaus’ record 6th green jacket and 18th major.
I’m not sure my Dad and I have ever celebrated someone’s failure quite like we did Norman’s on that day, but we were too excited to care.
In total, he shot a 7-under 65 with an incredible 30 on the back nine.
As I’m reflecting on that day here, the thing that sticks out to me most is that Nicklaus was able to accomplish this incredible comeback at age 46 — the same age I turn on Monday.
As Dad told me that very same day, “that’s why I think golf is so great. It’s not just a sport you can play your whole life. It’s a sport in which you can be competitive your whole life.”
And while I never amounted to much of a golfer, I love, love, love to compete.
The market analogy here is easy. The stock market has ridden northward for years on the backs of the FANG/FANGMA/FANGMAN stocks.
These mighty 7 of the Nasdaq — Facebook Inc. (Nasdaq: FB), Amazon.com Inc. (Nasdaq: AMZN), Netflix Inc. (Nasdaq: NFLX), Google/Alphabet Inc. (Nasdaq: GOOGL), Microsoft Corp. (Nasdaq: MSFT), Apple Inc. (Nasdaq: AAPL) and Nvidia Corp. (Nasdaq: NVDA) — have comprised as much as 25% of the entire stock market over the past year.
That faded a bit back in February and March as hedge funds were forced to de-gross during the GameStop short squeeze shenanigans and have largely fallen out of the headlines since.
But since putting in a bottom at $297.45 back on March 5, the Nasdaq 100 has very quietly cycled back up near all-time highs…
While volatility of the index is now back to year-long lows.
When price goes up and volatility goes down, that is what we call “good.”
Technical term, I know… But there’s more, too.
The ISM Services PMI — keep in mind, “services” are generally what these companies provide — has jumped up to a literal all-time high.
That means even if total subscriptions do not rise — and it is hard to believe they won’t — then all those companies are just going to charge more for services.
And once the Nasdaq 100 ETF — the Invesco QQQ Trust Series 1 (NYSEArca: QQQ) — moves up over its all time highs, it’s likely to melt up even further as momentum algorithms go back to chasing rallies.
So don’t overthink things — if for some reason you’ve been living under a rock for the last 5 years and don’t have exposure to big tech, be like Nicklaus in the 1986 Masters… Don’t dwell on it.
Instead, grip it and rip it, people… Get out there and compete alongside these Market Masters so you can go buy your own green jacket.
All the best,