Masters watching: Some views from on-site
As you prepare for an afternoon of Masters watching -- one of the great TV sports days of the year -- here is a list of some of the wonderful quirks about the place to keep in mind for your own mental picture while viewing:
--There is no signage at the Masters; nobody is allowed to advertise, promote, brand or do anything that might spoil the scene or deflect attention from the course and golfers.
--This is the only place where you will not see the usual parade of cameras and media people inside the ropes. Nobody goes inside the ropes at the Masters except the players and their caddies.
--There are no cellphones. Anywhere. The media is allowed to have them inside the press center, but if they step onto the grounds with one in their pocket, even if it is turned off, they risk losing their credential and being tossed from the grounds.
--People leave the gift shop with multiple bags of shirts and caps and other materials with the Masters logo because it isn’t sold anywhere else. If it is the real thing, you get it here or nowhere.
--The scoreboards are still operated by hand. In an era of technology that could post scores in milliseconds, Augusta has people high up on stands behind the boards, getting their updates on headphones and hand-replacing the names and numbers. It is wonderful, because the pace of the score-reporting matches the pace of the game.
--Spectator viewing is never a problem because every hole is built with surrounding hills. Each hole is its own little theater. Every hole is like No. 18 at Riviera.
--Prices remain 1950-ish: $1.50 for some sandwiches, $3 for beer. And no beer sold after 3 p.m.
--The driving range is like the nicest country club hole you have ever played. The stands behind it are filled by Masters greeters who ask how many in your party and usher you to the best seats they can find for you. Between practice shots by the pros, a white-suited worker steps out to the area in front of the hitting players -- the area where the pros hit from the previous day -- and rakes the divots so they don’t look unsightly.
--Spain’s Miguel Jimenez enhanced the image of the pristine driving range by carrying with him a small cigar holder that he stuck in the ground. That allowed him to keep his lighted cigar off the ground, fresh and clean, while he took a few swings.
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