Survive? Without a cell phone?

One can’t, or at least shouldn’t, spend every waking moment chained to a keyboard churning out prose, priceless or otherwise. From time to time, one needs to get out into the real world. As a proud resident of the great state of Georgia, there are plenty of attractive options available for my free time, one or two of which are utterly unique. This past weekend I had the chance to spend an entire day with my son, Brett. The two of us ventured onto the hallowed grounds of the Augusta National Golf Course on the final day of this year’s Masters Tournament. It made 2019 a most memorable year indeed.

Like millions of others, I’ve spent a good bit of time watching previous Master’s Tournaments, but I quickly discovered there are a number of things which make this particular event different from all the others.

For starters, I had no idea that bringing a phone or a camera along was a strict No-No. At the Masters, phones will not be ringing at any moment, let alone during critical ones. Nor will anyone be taking selfies. Such things didn’t occur in 1934 when the Masters was first played, and by golly, they won’t happen nowadays either.

Luckily, we discovered that CBS had captured us during their coverage of the event. We saw ourselves on a replay when we got home a few hours after the match ended. Here we are at the green on the 11th hole, the first half of “Amen Corner.” The guy in the upper right-hand corner wearing a red shirt, is Tiger Woods, who, in case you hadn’t heard, won the thing. The blue smudge on the left is my son’s attempt to point us out. He’s wearing a green shirt; I’m wearing a straw hat from the ’96 Atlanta Olympics. And yes, this is as close to a selfie as we could get!

Photos of yours truly in that hat are understandably rare, but my bride was kind enough to snap one of me later to prove that the 4-micropixel portion of the image above is truly moi.

Despite the No Phone Edict, some things at the Masters have changed, but only slightly. Like, for instance, the food concessions. Help yourself to an egg salad or pimento cheese sandwich on white bread. Price: $1.50. A domestic beer, which by the way, you can’t purchase until the last church service in Augusta has ended, will set you back $4. (I’m told they cost ten bucks each at the Superbowl.)

I found some other interesting facts about this year’s Masters. The Augusta National Golf Club has a membership of 300, including four ladies (Dianna Murphy, Condoleezza Rice, Darla Moore, and Ginni Rometty). Jack Nicklaus was the only player older than Tiger to win the tournament. He was 46 at the time; Tiger is 43.

Average daily ticket prices for this year’s event ranged from $2250 to $2600. (And no, we didn’t have to pay anywhere near that much, thanks to a friend of a friend.)

Television coverage of the Masters began in 1956 with a two and a half hour show. In 2019, there were 18.5 hours of broadcast time devoted to the tournament. The good news, for viewers: commercials were limited to four minutes per hour. All 63 years of TV coverage has been on CBS.

The pot o’ gold at the end of this celebrated rainbow? Just under $2 million for the winner. (The winner’s caddy gets 10%.)

And, just so you know, 90% of the world’s golf carts are made right here in the Peach State. Maybe we should change our nickname to the “Golf Cart State.”

Okay, now you can go back to work on your epic.

–Josh

About joshlangston

Grateful and well-loved husband, happy grandparent, novelist, editor, and teacher. My life plate is full, and I couldn't be happier. Anything else I might add would be anticlimactic. Cheers!
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9 Responses to Survive? Without a cell phone?

  1. Susanne says:

    I guess it makes sense that after you pay $2000 bucks for the privilege, that your egg salad Sammie is practically free. How thrilling to be there for the return of Woods.

  2. Barry D. Womack says:

    Argg! So jealous!

    • joshlangston says:

      Legend has it that Twain described golf as “a good walk spoiled.” For proof, check with Francesco Molinari about his Sunday double bogeys on 12 and 15. Poor guy had to settle for a mere $403,938 (5th place) minus his caddy’s share.

  3. Amanda says:

    Wow-y’all had a great view! Very cool experience…

  4. joshlangston says:

    One of the many, many things I failed to mention was the absence of bugs. Saw maybe two the whole time we were there. In addition to the No Phone Edict, there’s apparently a No Bug Edict as well. It was a great view, but it would’ve been even better if I were as tall as Brett.

  5. Dorothy Heinlen says:

    Thank you for the education! Everything except Condoleezza Rice was new to me.

  6. Lloyd Blackwell says:

    Josh, you are now part of an epic event in sports history – and you can prove it.

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