How to Watch the Masters on TV

This diagram is from the program of the first Masters, in 1934. It shows what were then the first and second holes, and are now the tenth and eleventh. Both holes have changed dramatically since then, but the elevations give you the basic idea.

This diagram is from the program of the first Masters, in 1934. It shows what were then the first and second holes, and are now the tenth and eleventh. Both holes have changed dramatically since then, but the elevations in the drawings give you the basic idea.

Every golfer should make every effort to get to Augusta National during Masters Week at least once. Television doesn’t do justice to the topography of the course. The drop in elevation from the tenth tee to the eleventh green is more than a hundred and fifty feet—fifteen stories. Once you’ve studied the place in person your brain can supply the missing third dimension when you watch on a flat screen at home.

That’s what I’m doing this year. I love being on the grounds during the tournament, but I don’t feel deprived when I watch from home. The Masters is the last unscrewed-up major event in sports, and the CBS broadcast is sublime. And if you stay home you can play golf with the gang while you wait for the show to begin.

The only challenge is to find something productive to do with your hands while you watch. On Friday afternoon, as Tiger was climbing the leader board, I polished all my golf shoes. Then I polished them again—an afternoon well spent.

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Tomorrow afternoon (after paintball with some friends from high school and college) I’m going to clean the grooves of my clubs.

[Just as I was posting this, Tiger made that extraordinary third shot on the fifteenth hole—the one that hit the flagstick and spun back into the water. That shot was unlucky but it was not, as David Feherty claimed, “unfair.” Nor was Tiger “cheated” by it (Feherty again). The flagstick was stationery, and it was in place when he lined up his shot. Golfers capable of hitting inch-wide targets from eighty yards away may need to aim a few inches to the right or left, but they’re not entitled to feel ripped off. And, Feherty notwithstanding, I would bet that Tiger doesn’t.]

9 thoughts on “How to Watch the Masters on TV

  1. Apart from cleaning my golf gear, I managed to sink a few beers. The only cheating going on was the affair of the one shot penalty for Tianlang, the first such decision in 77 years.of Masters play at Augusta National. The second round was 36 minutes longer than the first, how can this be attributed to one player.

  2. “Cheated” and “unfair” have been applied to the situation created by that shot now in quite a different way. What do you think, David O.?

    • I defer to my Golf Digest colleague Guy Yocom, whose thoughtful analysis you can read here: http://golfdig.st/13017zR.
      I have two other reactions: if you’re going to study only one part of the rule book, study the part about hazards; if you’re playing in a major championship, consult one of the zillions of rules officials before taking any corrective action whatsoever.

  3. Hope the shoes polished up well. When you’ve finished with them put them on Ebay. I’m still surprised at the amount of used golf shoes I see listed. Sorry I won’t be tempted myself……….I’m also very concerned that you appear to have a damp problem staining your wall (in the left of the picture near what looks like an electrical socket). Cutting back on house maintenance can only lead to expensive repairs. Perhaps a layer of neutral polish would help stop the rot.

    • Shadows cast by chair backs, my friend. You are talking to someone who once wrote a long essay on Sheetrock for The Atlantic Monthly. Dampness! Hah!

      • David, did you once write a piece on red M&M’s for the New Yorker or the Atlantic? I read it when I was a young journalism student. I thought it was such a perfect piece of humorous writing. I read it many times, and still have it filed somewhere. Now I’m a golf journalist! Wishing I had your sense of humor, not for writing but as a golf-coping mechanism.

          • Thanks for the link! I remember this very well, and knew what was coming word for word at several points: “while I sat ill and immobilized,” and “crimson pellets of death,” for example. I wonder what ever happened to Fiuczynski. I imagine him sitting in his office with a purring white cat in his lap. Which of your golf books should I order from Amazon? I’ve played quite a bit in Scotland, do you have anything set in the British Isles?

  4. Are there elevation drawing for any other holes that make up this wonderful golf course.
    This simple yet so informative illustration of the complexities of Augusta National just start to tell the story.

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