Tick, tick, tick: a timely change for the Masters

The Masters needs to make a change and it’s not about its membership. In fact, membership is not a Masters matter per se anyway; that’s a club matter of Augusta National. And as the media was repeatedly reminded by Chairman Billy Payne on Wednesday, that’s a topic “subject to the private deliberations of the members.” I think a female member will and should be admitted to the club sometime in the future but when it does there will be no public announcement or fanfare. Badgering Payne on the topic will not make it happen sooner.

Separate from Sixty Minutes, the Masters needs to reset its clock

No, the needed change I’m talking about deals with how the Masters television broadcast ends on Sunday. The Masters is just too wedded to having the tournament conclude around 7 pm as a cozy lead-in to Sixty Minutes. Ideally, this illustrious Major should end an hour earlier, affording extra time for a multi-hole playoff scenario. By doing so, the Masters could also implement the more equitable aggregate score playoff system wisely adopted by the British Open and the PGA Championship.

In the past, the Masters has dodged the bullet by its playoffs never lasting more than two holes, always edging up against the fading light. But the day (and night) will come when a playoff goes more than two holes and then Masters officials will be faced with the embarrassing proposition of postponing the outcome of the tournament until Monday morning. Just think back to last year when a large group of players could conceivably have all tied after 72 holes. There was a distinct chance of four or more players in a playoff that may have taken three, four or more holes to determine the green jacket. But by ending at 7 pm there would’ve been limited daylight for such an extended playoff.

Someday, the Masters will get burnt by stubbornly adhering to this impractical television timetable. Instead, it should see the light and simply move up Sunday tee times by an hour. Phooey on Sixty Minutes!


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