Masters Is Made For TV

Gushing about Augusta National is a rite of spring. Rightly. And it’s absolutely worthwhile seeing the place in person, ideally during one of the practice rounds, a more “natural” setting — in terms of observing both the golf course architecture and the players – than during tournament play. The holes themselves, familiar from TV, are preternaturally vivid, and of course the contours look nothing like they do in the 2D, 3D, or HDTV versions.

Even so, my preference is to catch the proceedings on the tube. This is true to some extent of most tournaments, but none more so than the Masters (the only real contender being The Ryder Cup). I suppose that contemplating all the subtleties in club selection and ball-striking while, say, spending the entire final round behind the 12th tee would be diverting. But the attraction of the back nine on Sunday is the rapid-fire succession of ups and downs. It demands a multiple-camera perspective.

Although every effort is made to record golf competitions, thereby to fast-forward through commercial interruptions, it’s often tough to evade the results before replay. The appeal of real-time viewing is fully realized in the Masters’ advertising-averse programming, and even the cloying, clinking theme music serves a useful purpose, i.e., as the cattle prod-like reminder to get up and do something productive. Like stretch. Or get a beer.

For a golfer, there’s nothing about the Masters not to like, including the benchmarks represented by this year’s installment: the 50th anniversary of Gary Player’s victory, the 25th of Jack Nicklaus’s, still among the half-dozen most exciting home stretches in golf.

At a time when almost everything about the game is filtered through the prism of its effect on participation, though, it’s interesting to ponder what outsiders think of Augusta National’s splendor.

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TheAPosition writers love the PGA tour.