From Arnold Palmer to Jack Nicholson, Vijay Sing to Tiger Woods, Fred Couples to Sergio Garcia, he Masters, the most renowned and prestigious major tournament in golf, is full of tradition 'unlike any other.' Golf is an intricate game that pits one against the subtleties of nature on an 18 hole course against ones own mind and a complicated swing; where 275 yard drives count exactly the same as 2 1/2" inch putts, trees can be your enemy and a good lie can be your best friend. With the times changing and technologies skyrocketing out of control, we often see traditions dwindle away in sports. At the Masters however, there are many facets and small nuances that remain the same through the trials of time. The scoreboard is still run by humans, the roughs are extra long and pine straw rests beyond the roughs under the baroque cottonwoods that line Agusta. The caddies all still wear white and the greens have more contours, sandtraps and water hazards than San Francisco.
During the past four days I have heard a lot of my friends criticize and balk at the fact that I have set time apart to enjoy watching the Masters on TV. Often, even good friends of mine cantankerously comment that I should be doing other things like watching grass grow, or eagerly awaiting paint dry. In fact, in my at my house in Oakland I have taken a new hobby of watching grass grow. It has been m goal to turn a lot, originally a busted parking lot full of run down school buses, into a flourishing oasis of luscious grass and a small garden full of vibrant fresh ingredients to shake up in my carefully constructed, intricate homemade cocktails. Thus, this requires being at home more and reminiscing on my childhood Sundays where m brother and I had chores that rotated, from mowing the lawn to vacuuming the stairs, or helping mom plant her spring garden and learning the difference between annuals and perennials. While all this labour was going on, my father would keenly supervise and then sneak away to the couch where his carefully constructed turkey sandwich and bag icey cold Coca Cola served as the perfect golf watching lunch. The golf on the TV made me excited to do my chores--there was nothing more boring than watching golf with my dad as he munched on a bag of Lays Classic potato chips. In fact, after his lunch, he would drift off into a peaceful Sunday afternoon slumber only to wake up right as the leaders make their walk to the 16th or 17th hole fairways.
Tiger Woods came onto the golf scene young and ferocious, and has now created some traditions all his own. For example he always wears red on Sunday. In his first appearance as a pro at the Masters, he destroyed the competition beyond comprehension, sending waves through a sport marked by tradition, etiquette and grace. Changes needed to be made at Agusta in order to 'Tiger-proof' the course. Now, today being Sunday, and Tiger woods is 5 strokes behind two new rookies, we can only grit our teeth in the excitement of the traditions of Sunday golf watching. I know that my brother and I, now living together again are both secretly excited about fixing up a lawn mower that was bequeathed to us, planting annuals and checking up on the perennials, vacuuming the stairs and having a turkey sandwich making party and binge on those oh so deliciously gluttonous potato chips...I however always perferred Ruffles, so that is one subtle change to a tradition that evolves with the times.
With a health conscience movement away from soda pop and potato chips, and now with HD flat panel television, setting aside some time to relax and let the commentators woo you to sleep as the utter subtle metaphors as each drive, putt, chip and seven iron is hit and how those have become more relevant as I learned the game throughout my life, watching the Masters and doing a little spring cleaning as become a tradition in and of itself. Don't tell my boss, Im calling in sick on Monday to play 18.
PS FedEx takes the cake for effective golf advertising 'We Understand...' Damn Im glad I dont have a job like that...