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!
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.
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.