Hear the announcers talk, and everything is always perfect on the rolling acreage that is Americas most course. The wind freshens instead of howls, greens always roll fairly for any well struck putt and the ghost of Bobby Jones lives on everywhere.
Thats the Augusta National most of the world sees for four days every April. For all but the privileged few, the closest theyll get to Amen Corner is on a couch in front of the living room Sony.
But theres a lot the television cameras dont catch. So heres a look at what you didnt see Friday while watching Tiger Woods drop more f-bombs than putts in the second round of the Masters:
' Ian Poulters shoes. Jones was a bit of a fashion plate himself, but he would have probably drawn the line at pink and white footwear.
' Hank Haney as a spectator. Woods swing coach stood outside the ropes of the eighth fairway waiting for his famous client to hit and telling anyone who wanted to listen that a few bad breaks was all that was keeping Woods out of the lead.
' Planes. For some reason, corporate jets buzzed the course all day long from the nearby Augusta airport, while a small plane towed a banner advertising free admittance to a strip club for all patrons showing their badges. With the power of the green jacket around here, its surprising another plane wasnt ordered into the air to shoot it down.
' Lloyd Baker, who was manning the ropes on the 9th hole fairway crossing for the 14th year in a row. The retiree should be celebrating his wedding anniversary Saturday with his wife back in Houston, but she seems to be the understanding sort. Hes at the course before the gates open at 8 a.m., ready for a day of raising and lowering ropes, and answering questions from the patrons.
For most of them the first question is `Where is Tiger? Baker said. The second question they ask is how I got this job.
' A white man in his 20s walking along and holding hands with a black woman on the 17th hole. No big deal, but 20 years ago in this part of the world people would have been pointing fingers, and maybe more.
' Black fans in the crowd. Again, no big deal, but a Masters that used to be a lily-white affair now has a more integrated crowd than most major championships.
' Kids. Theyre being admitted free when accompanied by badge holders, and they dress the part. On some holes you saw three generations, with grandpa, dad and kid all decked up in the latest Masters attire.
' Six on a board. The majestic white scoreboards at Augusta National are manned by teams of six, who slide in names and numbers as easily as the crack crew at Wrigley Field. They havent sold out to electronic scoreboards flashing advertisements, and its not likely they ever will.
' Beer. At $2 a cup, its the last great buy in American sports, and the patrons seem to appreciate it. Two young women who work the concession stand near the 18th tee announced last call Friday afternoon, and quickly there were fans trying to juggle two or three cups of suds on their way back to their viewing positions.
' Roars. For the second straight day, there werent very many of them. Augusta National has been toughened up so much that even the hint of a good shot brings excitement, but there were no eagles on the par-5 15th and just a handful on the 13th despite a relatively easy pin placement.
' Bleacher madness. The sight and thundering sound of an entire bleacher emptying out after Woods finishes a hole is worth the price of admission. Justin Rose, Henrik Stenson and Toru Taniguchi had to feel unloved as they watched the bleachers on No. 8 suddenly clear out as they waited to play their second shots.
' Gloaming. Thats a word used a lot by golf writers who have run out of other words to describe scenes at Augusta National and want to impress readers with their wide range of vocabulary. Loosely translated, it means a time of day when it is getting dark but not so dark that you cant find your ball. Expect to read a lot of stories about Woods sinking a putt in the gloaming Friday to keep his hopes up.
' Attitude. There wasnt any among the players, at least publicly. This is the only tournament of the year where players are afraid to complain about anything, lest they risk the ire of the green jackets who run the place. Phil Mickelson thought the course setup at the U.S. Open last year was dangerous to his health and said so loudly, but they could put alligators in Raes Creek and he wouldnt say a word.
And, finally, whats a second round at the Masters without a little false bravado from the greatest player of his time. Woods hasnt sniffed the leaderboard since the tournament began, and needs a miraculous comeback that his game has shown no signs of giving him to erase a seven-shot deficit on the weekend.
Yet he stood in the gloaming off the 18th green and proclaimed himself in great shape for the second straight day.
This golf course, you can make up shots here quickly. Just got to hang in there.
For Woods legion of fans, that may have been the best sight of all on this day.