April 02, 2010
One of the best and worst things about Augusta National is their push to do things their way. Back in 2002, when Martha Burk made an uproar about the club's "men only" policy, sponsors pulled out as not to back a club with such limitations. "No worries," Augusta wrote, and decided to go after the Masters without a sponsor. It has been like that ever since, and has worked out great for Augusta.
This coming week they're about to host the most watched and talked about golf tournament of all time. Tiger Woods is heading back to golf and they get to host him. If Tiger is in the hunt on Sunday, it will absolutely be the most watched golf event ever, with people both behind Tiger and against him rooting at their respective televisions like never before.
That is a truth. What isn't so much is what Augusta could do with Tiger's tee time come Thursday. As you know, tee times are split on Thursday and Friday, with a player either going out in the morning or afternoon one of those two days. With the limited coverage the Masters gives us, watching the afternoon guys is all you get, and so my plea is made. Please, for the love of golf fans everywhere, who equally love watching great golf and who would slice off fingers and toes to get a chance to even sniff the turf that is Augusta National, play Tiger Woods in the afternoon on Thursday.
It's the least we could do for people that have been bombarded by Tiger talk for the last four months. It's the least Augusta could do to make people realize that they do love the fans (heck, I'll even call them patrons from now on if you promise to do this). It is exactly what should happen for Woods' first round back as a professional golfer.
The problem is, Augusta knows it doesn't have to do, and that is true. It doesn't have to give us a chance to watch Tiger live on Thursday, but it should. Fans want to see this. They deserve to see it. For 99 percent of golf fans out there, stepping foot on Augusta will never happen. Most of us won't get passes or credentials or, hey, a player's badge. We know Augusta from what pours out of TVs during that special week in April, and we fall back in love with the course every year. If you love golf and hate Augusta, you really don't love golf. It is everything that makes this game beautiful.
I just pray that on Tuesday, when the pairings are announced, Tiger is a late tee time in the first round so we can all watch the man that has been so hidden all his life prance around the track that he once owned in actual time. Do it for the kids. Do it for the fans. Do it for golf.