AUGUSTA, Ga. - Imagine, if you will, the Hallelujah Chorus punctuated by armpit farts. The roof of the Sistine Chapel depicting Adam in jorts. A dead mouse floating in a bottle of Château Lafite Rothschild. You'd be heading in the direction of this: someone yelling "get in the hole!" at Augusta National.
It happened, friends, it happened as Tiger Woods was teeing off on the 17th hole on Thursday at the Masters. Put aside the creative bankruptcy of a mind that would think yelling "get in the hole!" in 2013 is in any way clever or funny. (This is probably the kind of person who's still crowing Austin Powers-style "Yeah, baby!"s.) No, anyone who would holler anything — not just a moronic phrase, but anything — at Augusta is courting disaster.
Before the second word was out, the Augusta National security team — well, security pair — shadowing Woods was snapping into action. A guard in white shirt and black slacks, earpiece crackling, and a supervisor in well-pressed khakis began craning their necks, trying to see along the rope line for who would have dared lift their leg on Augusta National's decorum.
No luck. And as Woods settled into his second shot, the guards tensed, waiting for a repeat performance ... one that didn't come.
"So," I asked the security guard, "would there be any warning for the get-in-the-hole guy?"
"You see who it was?" the supervisor said, in that kind of Southern-cop hint-of-menace voice that made it sound like this could go very well or very poorly for me, depending on what I said next.
"I didn't. But you'll take his badge, right?"
"Oh, yeah," the guard said, with more than a hint of anticipation, and resumed scanning the crowd. This time, alas, the screamer escaped to yell again. But if he did lose his badge, he wouldn't just lose it for this afternoon. He'd lose it for this year, and every year afterward, forever and ever, amen.
In most cases, I tend to favor the little guy over the authority figures. You know, fight the power, viva la revolución, all that. But in this case? Man, I'd happily sell out my own flesh and blood if they crossed this line. Friends don't let friends scream "Get in the hole!" And if they do? Losing their badge rights to Augusta for all eternity is a good start on punishment.
-Follow Jay Busbee all week from Augusta National on Twitter at @jaybusbee.-