Monday, April 9, 2007

Phil's Masterful Week

So...I’ve spent the past couple days and at some point pretty much a whole week, in Augusta, Georgia...covering the Masters Golf Tournament.

The Masters leaderboard in Augusta

The Golf Fans out there are probably saying holy crap...that’s like the greatest thing ever. He’s on Holy Ground. Well, it sort of is like that...but really it is like setting foot in an episode of the Twilight Zone.

Old School...

Everything about the place is “Old School,” it is almost like they’ve built a little protective bubble around here that keeps everything stuck in a time warp. It’s kind of like stepping back into 1978 all over again.

What most of you have heard is true. The place is immaculate - all the time. There is an armada of people whose sole job is to walk around and pick things up. And yes, they do stay busy doing that.

This is probably the one place in the world where all the so-called “Official Types” as they call them here...members will always be walking around in Green Jackets. It is tradition. The jackets...well, they aren’t the most attractive things ever made...but they are the tradition. These are folks who aren’t known by there first names, only Mr. So and So.

The food is probably the most old school thing ever. You basically have a choice if you want to eat here. Egg Salad, Pimento Cheese, Ham and Cheese and Turkey and Cheese...that is pretty much it. The good part of it, it isn’t expensive, around $1.25. The bad part, if you are here for more than a day, it gets really old - really fast.

Seeing Stars...

The cool thing for me was on Wednesday. Wednesday is Par 3 day where most of the players and some of the legends of the game come out and have a little fun on the Par 3 course. Easily the highlight this year...the “Big 3” - Arnold Palmer, Gary Player and Jack Nicklaus, playing together and pretty much receiving a continuous standing ovation.

Jack Nicklaus (left), and Gary Player

If you walk around the course here (not an easy’s crowded, hilly and very long), chances are you’ll run into someone famous. Sometimes it’s a basketball or football coach, sometimes a celebrity and sometimes you just walk into some really strange people.

How cool is it?

This year marks my 8th Masters as a member of the Media. I do enjoy getting to come out and cover the event even though it is a lot of work. I don’t get to see large parts of the tournament, but usually walk out on the course on Sunday just to check things out.

It is a long week, Masters week, but one that is usually a lot of fun. There are always stories to find and interesting people to meet. It has gotten a little more difficult every year to do my job out here, because slowly...and I mean slowly, they are squeezing access out to people who do what I do. By that I mean they are limiting the amount of things you can shoot on the course once the tournament starts. In that way, they are stepping into the 21st Century and becoming just like every other “Big Sporting Event.”

--Phil Cantor

“The time has come, my song is over, thought I’d something more to say” Time (Pink Floyd)