I was going to start a Masters thread but since you have done so I will just post here, although I am not big on the Tiger Woods reference.
The Masters is my favourite sporting event of the year. It is the hardest ticket in the world to get to a sporting event. World Cup soccer final, Super Bowl or Olympic opening and closing ceremonies all can be had much cheaper and easier than a Masters ticket. There are some 40,000 tickets available to “patrons”. These tickets are generally passed down by Will through generations. In the 1970’s there were some 10,000 people on a waiting list for tickets and then they closed the waiting list. It hasn’t been opened since and probably never will be. It’s all black market unless you are one of the fortunate few.
Two of my colleagues, before I knew them, once had tickets to the Masters practice rounds for two days. Those are easier to get but still hard to get. It cost them a fortune for even these tickets and a crazy amount for accommodations, roughly $25,000 in total they say just for practice round tickets and accommodations, although they sold one day’s ticket and recouped 3/4 of their monies. Many of the residents of Augusta abandon their city during Masters week and rent out their homes, much like many New Orleans residents abandon that city during Mardi Gras. Apparently the rental monies usually pay their mortgage for the entire year.
What I love most about the Masters is that after a long wait it is the first major of the year, a panacea for golf fans like myself and it takes place in what I consider to be the most beautiful setting in all of sports. Unlike other majors it is always played at the same venue so anyone who regularly watches it is familiar with the history and every hole on the course. It rarely fails in the competitive drama department as well.
It is not all roses and magnolias, however. The history of the Masters is rife with Old Boys network control, misogyny and racism. They have been dragged into the 21st century unwillingly it seems. Any infraction of any of their sometimes ridiculous codes of conduct can get a spectator banned for life. This includes carrying a cell phone and running on the grounds. Commentator Gary McCord was famously banned for life for describing the ultra fast greens as having been bikini waxed.
We are going on some 38 years of tradition with a small group of us gathering for the weekend at my residence to watch the Masters. Everyone stays overnight and we all chip in and make a fabulous pizza from scratch dinner. We have a long running Masters draft and our own ridiculous rules, such as no cell phones on and no answering the door during play. Play is virtually continuous as there are no more than 4 minutes of commercials per hour by order of the club to CBS. I am not sure how we did it without a PVR which we watch on about a half hour delay.
The club is so wealthy that during the year of the infamous dispute over female membership they paid CBS for all their commercial time and the entire broadcast was commercial free. CBS has televised the Masters since at least the 1960’s, remarkably on a series of one year contracts (CFL reference here). We complain about TSN having too much influence over CFL game starting times, but not the case here. The Masters tells CBS what they can and cannot do right down to the last detail. A true anomaly in sports. They limit broadcast coverage (boo), were the last tournament to show all 18 holes, must approve of the broadcast team and control how certain references are made, including the aforementioned “patrons” and “first cut”. If an announcer mistakenly refers to a “gallery” or the “rough” they potentially face discipline and even banishment a la McCord. Curious but unique.
I will post some pictures of the venue and get ready for the week I refer to as the High Holy Holidays.