Archive for April, 2009
6.) The proximity to Easter — As it will this year, The Masters frequently concludes on Easter Sunday. I’m not a Christian, but I generally think, I swear, that Christians are pretty cool. Still, Easter rests on a fairly creepy mythos, and a non-Christian like me can—in my part of the world, anyway—pretty easily get inundated by it. Maybe, you think to yourself, a little golf will provide a nice Sunday-afternoon distraction from all that? Think again. In 1993, after taking his second Masters title, Bernhard Langer found time to note that Easter was “the day when [his] Lord and Savior rose from the dead” and that it meant more to win on the day he “celebrate[d] the resurrection of [his] Lord and Savior.” Langer’s not alone, either: As the close of the last linked article (from The Baptist Advocate) indicates, many different players have found golfing wins a chance to bear Christian witness. The Masters at Easter invites that. No thank you.
7.) Butler Cabin — If there’s any duller, more awkward winner’s celebration in sports, I haven’t seen it. Television viewers have to withstand an uninformative conversation with the low-amateur, if one made the cut, before a seated, tepid panel discussion featuring Jim Nantz and the champion breaks out. Ok, “breaks out” is too strong a phrase. In fact, I usually start a nap about this time. More energy and excitement (and, hey, better lighting), please?
8.) Yes, the green jacket — Congratulations. You’ve just won the highest honor in your sport. In celebration of that, we’re doing to dress you up like a Shriner. Enjoy.
9.) Larry Mize — He’s back, you know.
10.) Having it both ways — The Masters is supposed to be all about the tradition (“it’s a tradition unlike any other,” Nantz repeatedly intones on CBS), but the course has seen many changes. Once, the controversy was the switch from Bermuda to bentgrass. More recently, the course underwent significant changes to fend off long-hitters like Tiger Woods. This is not the same golf course that Snead, Hogan, and Nelson once played, and we’d all be better off if we recognized that.
1.) The small field — The Masters is supposed to be one of the four great championship events of the year, yet the field is small. It’s essentially an invitational event. A championship is supposed to tell us who the “best” is. What’s the best of an invitational field? I dunno, but my tennis club does the same thing. Why isn’t CBS there? I’ll take the U.S. Open’s qualifying free-for-all any day.
2.) The tradition — Unlike Wimbledon, where the tradition is almost charming, it’s stultifying in Augusta. And, yes, I’m saying there’s too much of the “wrong kind” of tradition. Lee Trevino didn’t feel welcome there. Lee Elder qualified for the tournament 15 years before the club had—in the 1990s!—its first African-American member. There’s a good reason Martha Burk was protesting the event. Yuck.
3.) CBS’s reverential coverage — As I understand it, the club mandates a certain tone in the coverage. If I’m forced to choose between the raucous(?) Jack Whitakers and Gary McCords of the world and the unctuous, Masters-approved Jim Nantzes of the world, I’m going with the Whitakers and McCords every time.
4.) Larry Mize
5.) Exclusivity — I’m not welcome—as, ahem, a “patron”—at the tournament, and you’re not, either. This is from the tourney’s website: Tournament or ‘Series’ Badges (Thursday through Sunday) have been sold to those on our patron list which was closed due to demand in 1972. A waiting list began in 1972, and was closed in 1978. It reopened in 2000, and it too is now closed. No applications for ‘Series’ Badges are currently being accepted.