April 01, 2009
The following tale is complete fiction, presented in the spirit of April Fool's Day. Nothing you're about to read has any basis in truth.
When you think Augusta, you think in colors: the green of the fairways and the jackets, the pink of the azaleas, the white of the clubhouse verandah ... the purple of FedEx? Yep. Believe it.
In a press release, Augusta National chairman Billy Payne has announced that starting in 2010, the Masters will, for the first time in its history, take on FedEx as a presenting sponsor. It's a pretty stark departure for Augusta, which has so prided itself on independence to the point that it can dictate the number of ads in its television coverage. But, as with so much else in the world these days, it looks like the rules are changing, even in Augusta.
"FedEx has a long history of reliable overnight delivery, and the Masters delivers tradition, year after year," Payne said. "This is simply an ideal partnership. It's going to benefit both parties going forward, and we couldn't be happier." Left unsaid were the reasons for the sponsorship, but it's not a huge leap to assume that Augusta, like so many other PGA entities, is feeling the pinch of the economy.
Now, this is certain to make the purists howl that tradition is being thrown out the window for the sake of a quick buck. And, yeah, it probably is. But this could be worse -- this isn't college football; the tournament will now be known as "The Masters at Augusta, presented by FedEx." That's not terrible, is it?
And fear not -- the famed Green Jacket isn't going to become The Purple and Orange Jacket. That would be just silly. Instead, Payne said, the Green Jacket will bear a tasteful, specially designed FedEx/Masters logo on one breast pocket. That logo, which will be unveiled at a special ceremony next Monday, will be exclusively used for Masters memorabilia, and is likely to become a collectible all its own.
"This is a brave new form of partnership for Augusta National, for FedEx, and for golf fans all over the world," Payne said. "We're all thrilled at the opportunities this partnership presents us. Remember the day."
Remember, this is completely made-up. None of the above ever happened. Happy April Fool's Day!