First of all, we at TGC Masters Mania Guide understand that quite a few of you have jobs run by bosses who have not yet entered the age of enlightened employee benefits. Therefore, you are not given your due: the all-expense-paid, badges-included trip to Augusta the first full week of April every year. So heres how to enjoy the Masters Tournament remotely.
Monday. Check the Internet for weather conditions in Augusta. Furrow your brow about any hint of Wednesday rain. Calculate the new landing area for drives on the lengthened first hole (hint: the far bunker is now 300 yards out). Imagine re-clubbing yourself after years of experience with that hole. Think of lengthened 11th hole. Hyperventilate. Take your medication. Get back to work. At home that night, watch tapes of Nicklaus in 1986. Hyperventilate.
Tuesday. Contemplate renewed importance of Eisenhowers Tree on No. 17, which is also longer. Think about learning to shape your drives. Give up on that. Check tournament website for player interviews while you eat lunch. Realize when youre done that you didnt taste a single bite of your tuna sandwich. If you live south of Baltimore, stop at local course on way home to putt and chip. If you live north of there, do it anyway. At night, watch TGC coverage. Then watch the re-air.
Wednesday. Wake to the thought of pummeling a drive on No. 2 and watching it roll way down the hill. Smell the pine in your nostrils. Over 10 a.m. coffee, ponder why this tournament and everything connected with it are so revered. Conclude that its not necessary to know why, but just to enjoy. Order egg salad for lunch. At home, watch TGC coverage while gripping and regripping your 52-degree wedge, the one you used to jar a birdie chip in the club championship last August, effectively cleaving your brother-in-laws heart in two. Smile. Do your Dr. Evil imitation.
Thursday. Arrive at work with a bold prediction. Make sure its Miguel Angel Jimenez or Brandt Jobe. Be utterly unshakable in your conviction that said player will win. Tune TV at your desk (What? You dont have a? Oh, fer Petes) to network coverage three hours before its due to come on. While taking calls from customers, let your voice trail off into complete distraction as a putt snakes its way into the hole on 10 for a birdie. At home, order a pizza and watch the highlight show. Invite the kids to join you. Shake your head when they decide to go upstairs and play video games. Make mental note to disinherit them.
Friday. When you wake up, your stomach hurts. No, really; it hurts. [wink] Better call in. Sleep in, then relax in front of TV while pain subsides. Medicate yourself with remains of Thursdays pizza. Have fun picking the best round that will still miss the cut. Listen to your blood pressure rise as the cut line wavers throughout the afternoon. Ignore family. Let someone else worry about dinner. Try to explain to the dog that walks arent all theyre cracked up to be.
Saturday. While mowing the lawn, grouse to yourself about the intense injustice that theres no morning TV coverage. Muse about Moving Day. Imagine birdying 16 and 17 to get onto the first page of the leaderboard as dusk falls. Hyperventilate. Pick grass clippings out of your teeth. At grocery store, almost collide with other crazed golf fans who, like you, are restocking their supplies of onion dip, black bean tortilla chips, and Michelob. (Note to Canadian fans: Insert Labatts where necessary.) Imagine sleeping on the lead.
Sunday. Clear your schedule of everything, and I mean everything. Make pancakes. Read Bernard Darwin. Have more coffee. Pace impatiently as noon approaches. Give spouse and kids wad of bills and send them off to bowling alley or movies. Smile broadly and fight back tears of joy as one child, the one you always knew was your favorite, asks if he or she can stay and watch the Masters with you.
As TV coverage begins, remember Masters past. Remember what it was like playing golf with your Mom or Dad when spring came. Resolve to call a long-lost golf buddythat evening. Cheer for every good shot, whether you like the player or not. Wish you had known Bobby Jones. Hug that child. Answer his or her questions patiently. Forget the world. Watch all the way through the jacket ceremony. After dinner, clean your clubs.
Monday. At the office, call for a Saturday tee time. Re-enter the world, slowly. Restart your golf year with a clean slate, a hopeful heart, and a renewed soul.
Email your thoughts to Adam Barr