You know when you don’t feel your best and you can barely make it out of your dressing gown during the day? Showering and getting dressed is a huge achievement and being grumpy is your default mechanism. Well, that’s how I was during Masters week and the fact I couldn’t keep my eyes open after 10 o’clock at night and had to record and watch the end of the day’s play the next morning didn’t help my mood either.
Before the tournament got underway I was bewilderingly wondering had my living room turned in to some kind of religious meeting place. The reverential tone of the ads with references to iron-clad resolve, nobility, passion, perfection and traditions running deep had me feeling I should be kneeling at the altar of Augusta National – had I been physically able to do so. The relentless sycophancy of the broadcast teams, too, is a little wearing to say the least – especially when there is absolutely nothing else going on in your life.
Patricia, my golf-watching partner-in-crime had caught Covid and was self-isolating at home and my better half came down with Covid on the Tuesday. We spent the rest of the week circling each other at a distance, neither of us really well enough to prepare the comforting, nutritious food we both needed.
I only tell you the above so that you understand the background against which the following observations emerged.
Why do the Americans have cameramen who decide to stay on a player after a chip or putt instead of following the ball to its destination? Not good and very, very annoying.
We must all be expected to have instant photographic memories if the amount of screen time given to a player’s scorecard is anything to go by. I doubt it’s even longer than three seconds before, whoosh, the card disappears and you’re reaching for the remote to rewind and then pause the card when it comes up on the screen. One unexpected bonus is the little bit of time this affords you to scoot on through the next lot of ads.
On Saturday everyone was complaining that the temperature was only in the 50s – shock, horror! If you don’t play golf in this neck of the woods in those temperatures, you don’t play much golf at all. Constant references to the wind chill factor, the difficulty of the course and the players wearing beanies and carrying hand warmers abounded. Danny Willett, meanwhile, strolled around in shirt sleeves. It was one of the few times I laughed during the week.
I would love to see a green jacket on a player with a hairstyle like Cam Smith’s. Come to think of it, I’d love to see a green jacket on Cam Smith.
I still feel disgusted at seeing players spitting. The usual suspect, DJ, was at it again but so, too, was Scottie Scheffler.
Why, oh why, was Sky’s “studio” a rectangle of decking with a lone screen and all open to the elements? Not even a seat for Butch Harmon, that 78-year old doyen of commentators. Remember how cold it was on Saturday? And I do remember how quickly the temperature drops after sunset which was when all the analysis was being done at the end of each round. Hope the team had Sky Sports-issue thermals.
I did manage (just about) to pull myself back from being relentlessly grumpy and critical and enjoyed certain aspects of the coverage. Top of the list was the innovative drone coverage showing Augusta National and its topography as never before. It gave those of us at home a glimpse of just how exacting the course is as a test of golf and just how demanding it must have been for Tiger simply to walk round it. By the weekend I found it almost too painful to watch Tiger put himself through the physical agony of getting from the 1st tee and safely back to the clubhouse.
One question kept coming to mind: “Why would anyone at this stage of their career put themselves through this?” I have no sensible answer.
This has never professed to be an unbiased blog and in keeping with that proud tradition it would be remiss of me not to rejoice in the best-ever Irish showing at the Masters. Third for Shane-O was a stout effort and the fact that he was so terribly disappointed with that speaks volumes.
And, finally, Rory, with a 64, equalling the lowest final round ever at the Masters and finishing runner-up. If nothing else, he’s proved to himself he can do it round Augusta. Get thee behind me all who say he can only do it when he can’t win – I’ll have none of that!
Ah, maybe it wasn’t such a bad week after all.