The Masters: A Thing of Beauty

Posted: April 4, 2012 in golf
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The first time I walked the Augusta National Golf Club course I thought it was the most beautiful place I’d ever seen.

That was 43 years ago, and at that time I hadn’t seen Pebble Beach’s 17-mile drive, the Maine cost, Hawaii, the Caribbean Islands, the United Kingdom or an Amelia Island sunrise. Good fortune has allowed me to visit all of those places since then, but I still fondly remember my first visit to Augusta National and the Masters.

There’s no time limit on beautiful memories, fortunately.

It is, indeed, the golf course that makes the Masters so special. The course has allowed the golf tournament to create a tradition like no other. (Don’t think for a moment that CBS’ Jim Nance was the first to utter that phrase.)

Regardless of what you think of golf or the Augusta National Golf Club membership, the Masters is special. In a world where tradition is usually an afterthought, the Masters has remained true to what Bobby Jones and Clifford Roberts created 79 years ago.

Pure and simple, the Masters is a celebration of playing golf and enjoying watching the best play the game. Commercialism be damned. There are no billboards at the Masters. Know why the $1.50 sandwiches come wrapped in green paper? So if a wrapper winds up on the ground it won’t show up on television. A fallen wrapper, by the way, doesn’t stay on the ground for long thanks to a crew of workers who immediately scoop up any trash.

The Augusta National Golf Club is often criticized for its rigid and discriminating rules. Membership is guarded more closely than Fort Knox. There are still no women members. It took way too long to include blacks among the players.

Know this: Augusta National Golf Club members have always been snobby toward anyone who wasn’t a wealthy male and in love with the game of golf. You can make your own judgment about a private club that asks for nothing from outsiders.

But also understand this: If you don’t like commercialism that has taken over our world; the obscene concession prices at our entertainment venues; the ridiculous salaries paid our athletes and entertainers regardless of their performances; the unsportsmanlike conduct of the competitors . . . then you should at least appreciate the Masters.

The tournament itself is as beautiful to me as the golf course.



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