I’m never one to complain about The Masters. I love everything about the event, as I believe it is the most influential, most well run sporting event in the world. Nothing is overlooked, everything is anticipated, and not to mention the facilities are world-class.
When the decision was made to cancel the April tournament, it was yet another crushing blow from the COVID fallout. The Masters is the official kickoff of Spring and holds so many memories of a good bit of us. It really hurt.
Then rumors emerged about a Fall event, followed by rampant speculation…I remember getting texts from friends saying that ‘all Augusta hotels are sold out this October (or) November weekend’. Would they allow patrons? Would Arnold Palmers and pimento cheese sandwiches taste as good in the Fall? What’s going on with the merch?
As we made our way through the summer, more and more sports started playing again, which was largely welcomed by those of us who were starved for live-action. I don’t think I’ve ever pulled so hard for the Braves, or enjoyed so many Thursday and Friday PGA rounds from the TV in my work-from-home office.
Then the announcement came that there would be no patrons in Augusta. What a wrench in the gears. But I get it, as it seems out of sorts for Augusta National to assume that sort of risk. And here we are, about a week away from the event, and here’s where my head is:
- I’m really excited to watch golf. That goes without saying. I would argue that watching the PGA and US Am events with NO fans hasn’t impacted anything. In fact, I haven’t really noticed. I think the coverage will be fine.
- With no fans, we’ll have an opportunity to see the vastness of Augusta National Golf Club. I’ve got a bunch of buddies who have played the course, and I’ve heard that from almost all of them: the course is HUGE. Remember, it was designed to accommodate a large number of fans.
- The style should be fun to see. It should be cold in the mornings and cool in the afternoons, so I’m excited to see all the layers. I expect to see hybrid jackets, darker hues, and hopefully darker shoes (vs. the athletic shoe look).
- The course conditions should make for a really interesting tournament. The wind will be blowing in exactly the opposite direction as it would in the Spring. In the spring, the drive on hole one has the wind blowing straight down the fairway. In November, it’ll be blowing right into their faces. According to one ANGC member, it should make the course play 300-400 yards longer. Eesh.
- The merchandise strategy is to send all badge-holding patrons a secure link that will give access to an online pro shop. This should be interesting…quite a few of us are seriously into procuring the latest and greatest, so I assume the secondary market prices will be astronomical. That said, I’d love to find a dated 2020 Masters hat.
I think it’s going to be a great event, and I expect the scores to be a little higher than the Spring tournaments. That and the fall foliage should make it a very enjoyable event.
And let’s not forget: the next major will be the 2021 Masters…in Augusta…in less than six months, when (hopefully) we’ll all be clamoring for badges again.