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Masters memories

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Rob Hodgetts | 08:10 UK time, Monday, 13 April 2009

Augusta, Wild Wing Café, about 2330 ET - The 73rd Masters, and my first, has drawn to a close and it felt right to dish out a few awards.

Favourite hole: The tee shot on 12 is fun but the green is too far away to connect with what's going on, so it has to be the short 16th. A beautiful hole with water, a treacherous green and patrons packed in tight. Honourable mention goes to the picturesque 10th, inviting a sumptuous raking drive with a touch of draw down the hill and around the corner.

Most surprising thing about the Masters: Some holes don't feel quite the same as you imagine them on TV, but that's to be expected. But I didn't realise it was quite as open in the middle, around the second and 7th greens and 8th tee. Also surprised that its location, off the non-descript America's-ville of Washington Road, didn't bother me more. Who cares what's outside?

The picturesque 16th

Best thing about the Masters: Obviously Augusta National itself - it's a fabulous course for spectators. Other than the obvious jam of 18 on Sunday, you could pretty much get to see what you wanted. Maybe it's the limit on the number of patrons, but I sidled up to the 18th tee and stood feet away from Mickelson and Woods on Sunday. Imagine doing that at the Open.

Also, because there's no sponsorship everywhere, or hullabaloo of people inside the ropes, it really does feel like the club championship at a plush members' club. Which it is, really. Also, the marshals (sorry, gallery guards) were polite and unfussy with no hint of jobsworthiness and the other patrons were extremely courteous.

And finally, the best bit about it is knowing we can look forward to it every year.

Worst thing about the Masters: Having to go home, maybe never to come back. Still, better to have loved and lost than never to have loved at all.

Most reassuring sight: Tiger virtually duck-hooking his drive on the 1st on Saturday after I'd spent an hour watching him just kill it in practice.

Worst outfit: The hordes of American males in polo shirts, tucked into A-frame chino shorts, brown belts, brown suede or leather loafers (tassles preferable), no socks.

Best line from Caddyshack not yet used in this blog: "Cinderella Boy, rags to riches, former greenskeeper, about to become Masters champion. It's in the hole." Pretty apt stuff for champion Angel Cabrera, though substitute greenskeeper for caddie.

Story I wanted to write but didn't get around to: An interview with one of the guys who shouts "Geddinthehole" on the tee at a par five. Just to see if there was anyone at home. Being the Masters, though, the crowd are a bit more restrained than a usual PGA Tour event and I didn't hear it when I was out and about.

One bloke did shout it when Tiger was putting on the 17th on Sunday, and an old chap in front of me said: "Why does he have to holler like that? Hey buddy, go back to your truck stop in Detroit."

So it's not just the British who frown on that sort of thing, then.

Bloggety Blog chequebooks and pens to:

Longest driver of the week - Dustin Johnson, average 308.38 yards. Rory McIlroy third on 293.

Best putter of the week - Steve Flesch (av. 1.50 per green)

Most accurate driver - Ian Poulter (89.29% fairways hit)

Most greens in regulation - Kenny Perry (77.46%)

Hardest hole - par-four 11th (av. 4.3288)

Easiest hole - par-five 15th (av. 4.5719)

Amount spent on Masters souvenirs: Not telling.


  • Comment number 1.

    It was one of the best Masters ive seen. Mickleson on the front 9 looked like a winners montage waiting to happen.

  • Comment number 2.

    What was that guys problem with Detroit? How many truck stops do you really think there are in the city itself? His ignorant comment is a bigger issue than some guys chinos!

  • Comment number 3.

    "Gallery guards" should be issued with electric cattle prods to administer instant chastisement to any "patron" who shouts "Get In The Hole!", "You're The Man!", or "Be The Ball!".

  • Comment number 4.

    Masters TV viewing was very good but my only downer was with such limited live TV coverage of the actual event why do have to see what Ken Brown's been doing on the course . That is something to show when there is no coverage at the start of the show.

    Stop interupting the coverage . Ken Brown's aspect is good on the Open when it's all day coverage but not at Augusta when we want to see action .

  • Comment number 5.

    Totally agree with you politeBoobie, especially the idiot who hollered 'Get In The Hole' after Tiger hit his tee shot on the uphill par 5 8th hole in the last round, they should be banned from attending any future tournaments.

    Probably the best Masters since Tiger and DiMarco but not in the megspecs with Nicklaus in 1986 or Faldo in 1996.

    I enjoyed the 'Ken on the course' snippets and most of these are used when the American host (CBS) are on an ad break.

  • Comment number 6.

    Dear Rob,
    Thanks for a great blog, I found it really interesting reading your take as a first timer to the Masters.

    Agree with Concerned McGovern, sometimes coverage was cut to go to Ken/main studio when it shouldn't have been - are there plans for next year to improve the online coverage to more than just amen corner i.e. the ability to follow some of the big stars around the course?

  • Comment number 7.

    Oh, and also agree about the stupid hecklers, though a cattle prod wouldn't do enough damage...straight to the chair I say!!! lol.

    (apologies to any americans who know anybody who've undergone the electric chair, but anybody who's stupid enough to think the ball will go into the hole on a par 5 really should be considered a candidate for pure idiocy!)

  • Comment number 8.

    Granted I am a Yank, so feel free to shout me down, but I don't get the vitriol for the "Get in the hole". It is a stupid joke, that ceased being funny a while ago, but it is no more annoying than Ryder Cup fans singing "ole".

  • Comment number 9.

    Best thing about this Masters was that it was three fatties sweating it out in the play-off. That's what golf should be about, not people going to the gym and pumping iron!

  • Comment number 10.

    I love the comment about the three fatties.Really choice. The "interlude" showing Ken Brown or whoever is there to cover the commercials of the network broadcast (CBS).I have experienced both versions (being an exile) I can assure you the UK one is the easier to "endure".The broadcast format is STRICTLY controlled by the board of the Augusta National Golf Club. Do as they say --OR ELSE!!!

  • Comment number 11.

    "Gallery guards" should be issued with electric cattle prods to administer instant chastisement to any "patron" who shouts "Get In The Hole!", "You're The Man!", or "Be The Ball!".

    I would combine that with a branding iron to facilitate a suitable sponsors message. Whilst still unconscious the offender should be toe tagged and removed to the local vet for neutering, just in case there is anything left in this gene pool.

  • Comment number 12.

    I do think Ken Brown is just a touch to erm enthusiastic in some of those 'ad break replacement' segments.

  • Comment number 13.

    I would have thought it pretty obvious why the beeb cut to ken on the course. That's when the host broadcaster cuts to adverts. Looks like one or two of you have been spoilt by no advert TV.

  • Comment number 14.

    interesting to see you saw tiger "killing" it in practice before his round, as the bbc commentators and tiger ihmself both thought that it was tiger's worst ever practice session. are you sure you were at the same masters.

  • Comment number 15.

    What always gets me is that when these players go into the trees or even hit another tree on the way out, they always get lucky and have a shot to the green. This never happens to me when I play.

  • Comment number 16.

    Surely worse outfit has to be Poulters green trousers.

    Bad at the best of times, but on a golf course...............

  • Comment number 17.

    I think the 16th is a terrific ampitheatre, but it doesn't strike me as a great par 3. The pin placement either mean a reasonably (for the pros!) easy target to feed down towards the lake, or it means they've got to land the ball on a postage stamp in the right hand side. Because of the sand, they almost always pitch left and then have a 50 foot uphill putt. Doesn't make for the greatest viewing imo.

    The 12th has all the ingredients for a great par 3. We don't see much of the 4th either, but it's a 240 yard shot into a green protected by a bunker. But my favourite viewing hole remains the 13th - the classic risk/reward Par 5 set against the most beautiful (in azalea flowering time!) backdrop.

    Thought the Beeb's commentary team were excellent - I seem to be in a minority in my thoughts about Peter Alliss so I'll let them pass - but Torrance/Grady/Brown are all informative and enthusiastic. However, the less said about Gary Lineker the better...

  • Comment number 18.

    It's good to see a tired old hack can be relied upon to toe the BBC party line about sport in the US, in general and Americans in particular. I can sleep easy knowing that Auntie can still trot out the same trite and hackneyed fare; replete with sterotypical references thrown in for good measure when it comes to the reporting of major sporting events such as this. Let's face it - us Brits are the last people to be commenting on the behaviour of spectators when it comes to sports.
    I wouldn't even like to guess what the cost to the license fee payer was; to send you and and all the other BBC numpties on a jolly to provide the quality of coverage and analysis that could easily have been done from the UK. If this is the best you can come up with, it represents very poor value for money.

  • Comment number 19.

    Can someone please ask Gary Lineker to review his interview technique so he doesn't speak over the top of everybody. Why can't he wait till they answer the question before he makes a comment or starts asking his next question?

  • Comment number 20.

    For me, watching at home, the dramatic events unfolding was spoilt by the racist remark of Peter Allis when Tiger's charge faltered. His comment, when the camera was on Tiger who was obviously angry with himself, that Tiger was uttering Swahili was so off the mark that it was offensive. Tiger is an American, and any reference to him muttering in Swahili can only refer to his skin colour. Allis should unreservedly apologise for this remark. It is even more offensive than Clare Balding's insistence that the Grand National winning jockey show the viewing audience his teeth.

  • Comment number 21.

    @ wengchoongchoo

    Stop jumping to play the race card, its all in your head you idiot, just 'cause you don't understand a remark doesn't mean its racist.

  • Comment number 22.


    Perhaps u could learn to read before criticising the blogger. He says tiger was killing it on SATURDAY on the range before duck hooking off the first. His awful practice session was Sunday. Don't you just feel like a muppet now? Nice blog Rob, some people always look for faults.

  • Comment number 23.

    Geez just read wengchoongchoo's comment, get a grip! It wasn't racist at all! He was clearly trying to humourously cover up the fact that tiger was swearing at himself! You're pathetic mate

  • Comment number 24.

    20 Wengchoongchoo - you are a tool of the highest order. As the superbly titled contributor at 22 and 23 has noted, Peter Alliss was making a wry reference to the fact that Tiger was swearing live on national television. Get a life.

  • Comment number 25.

    re the post on racist comments , get real, it was just Peter Alliss's idiosyncratic way of covering up/apologising for an audible obscenity from Tiger because he had made a mistake

  • Comment number 26.

    Couldn't agree more. In fact seemed as if you had written your answers from me own head.
    This year was my 5th Masters my Mum managed to come for her 1st time and what a memory for the both of us.
    As for the gallery staff on Saturday we were on the 5th hole waiting for the crossing to open not only were the guys friendly but actually ushered us forward so we could see the players hit their approach shots to the green. Where else would you be genuinely welcomed as you come through the gates.
    The National really have figured out how to run a sporting event for the the fans credit where credit is due.

  • Comment number 27.

    I have to say that this was a pretty lame commentary. There was nothing informative or original about it.

    Disagree with hole 16 being best. Surely that accolade would have to go to 12?! Jack Nicklaus himself called it the "most demanding par 3 in the world". The positioning of the hole mean the swirling cross winds in Amen Corner make club selection tough. The green itself is a very slim landing area. The 12th has broken many a round over the years. Every Masters Champion has to successfully negotiate the demanding tee shot if he wants the green jacket! As someone once said, it's the prettiest nightmare in golf!

    Always a pity when these commentaries become stereotypical. I guess it was too easy to pick the Americans in polo shirts, chinos and tassled loafers as the worst dressed. Though I'm sure the BBC wouldn't allow their bloggers to comment on the British chavs decked out in the finest *insert brand name here* tracksuits.

  • Comment number 28.

    BBC TV coverage was useless.

    Coverage started at a ridiculous time. No highlights on any bbc channel prior or after the live coverage. Gary Lineker is useless for golf. Why why get it so wrong.

    And as for the dress sense, I'd rather have a nation of chino and loafer wearers than the chaveed tracksuit, gold hooped earing, etc etc society that seems to be evolving here

  • Comment number 29.

    Worst thing - the toe curling post round interviews by the BBC man. Partcularly when he asked Harrington if he was frustrated that he has had to wait 8 months for the next chance to win a major!

  • Comment number 30.

    It's worth noting from all the previous comments that no one actually mentioned the winner. I for one was more than happy that Angel Carbrera won, finally an 'oldie' showed the youngsters how to play and how to hold your nerve when the going gets tough.

    As for the BBC coverage, well they are at the mercy of the US live feed, which I have to say is predominantely American biased as you would expect, but it seemed more so this year - so very little screen time for the rest of the world players. Granted if they had played better then we might have seen more of them but this is still unfair coverage.

    And now we come to the woeful choice of Lineker, what are you thinking? - this where the cattle-prod would come useful, to use on the person who made that choice.

    Peter Alliss brilliant as ever - the Masters wouldn't be the same without him, as for is Swahili comment - this standard Alliss turning the ridiculous in to the sublime, long may it continue.

  • Comment number 31.

    Personally I thought it was a great Masters - full of drama, some superb golf shots and I thoroughly enjoyed the blogs which gave us some interesting and fun behind the scenes stuff - certainly captured my imagination.

    Those criticising the Beeb coverage - the BBC are not the HOST BROADCASTER - they can only show what CBS provide!!!!

    TwinCitiesTurvey and SRD147 need to stop taking themselves so seriously and lighten up a bit. Oh and while you are at it - if the usual 'cost to the license fee payer' line isn't stereotypical I am not sure what is - BORING.

  • Comment number 32.

    I have to agree with eversoslightlytubby - it was a great masters. Having watched golf for quite a few years now, I found it to be thoroughly entertaining.
    The Mickleson/Woods pairing just got the final round off to a rocking start, particularly with Mickleson showing glimpses of brilliance which took him to his previous green jackets. For me Angel Cabrera was outstanding, apart from his fortunate break on the 18th when his ball bounced off the tree onto the fairway. That never happens to me!! However, he showed serious skill and nerves to hole his par putt to make the playoff.
    With regards to the BBC coverage, I found it to be okay, although nowhere near as good when compared with sky on the usopen and uspga. When I used the interactive (red button) view to watch earlier play, the gaps in play were also evident, although the commentators always had something useful to say. However, the post round interviews with Gary Lineker were poor and shockingly bad. I personally would like to hear what the golfer has to say, rather than what Lineker has on his mind. He practically cut Lee Westwood off in mid sentence - very poor interview technique.
    Rant over - back to the golf. Comiserations to Kenny Perry and Chad Campbell in the playoff, even though they made the master a championship to remember with their consistently good play on all four rounds.

  • Comment number 33.

    In reply to eversoslightlytubby.
    I clicked on this blog expecting to read an entertaining, humerous, insightful take on a brilliant week's golf.
    What interesting, behind the scenes stuff did this blog give us? None. That was my whole point.

  • Comment number 34.

    Was commenting that Peter can now move over - Torrance has the new "voice of golf". Its certainly not from Leicester!

  • Comment number 35.

    An excellent masters, with great coverage especially the Ken segments.

    One point about the bbc coverage is that if people cared to compare the bbc to other public broadcasters around the world, they would realise that the bbc is relatively excellent.

    That said though, Gary Linekar is attrocious. His desperation to add a comment because he thinks he knows something about what a professional is talking about is nothing short of cringeworthy. He successfully ruins every interview he attempts to conduct by interrupting with nonsense. He should stick to the footy before he destroys any kind of positive reception he receives from the public.

  • Comment number 36.

    Dougy Donelly / Garry Lineker - why do either of these football drones get a look in for golf majors? Sue Barker or Clare Balding would have done a far better job.

    That apart it was a good Masters, lots of young talent showing they could hold their own McIlroy / Lee et al, oldies showing they could still take the strain - Sandy Lyle - golfing greats finally deciding the Masters was too much - Gary Player - and Peter Allis and Sam Torrance talking sense and enhancing the golf we were watching. My wife and daughter usually hate golf but were glued to the screen to see if Angel 'he must have been cute when he was younger' would do it.

    Then there was the best of golf when Parry applauded Angel's putt to win with no follow on putter throwing away or breaking. Parry understood nobody had died, the world had not ended, he had his chance and blown it but his wife and daughter were still there, still loved him so what they hey - well done Angel.

    So let's hope younger golfers get with the oldies program rather than 5 and half hour rounds on the local course a la Immelmann!

  • Comment number 37.

    Wow, there are a lot of people obviously depressed about being back at work today - lighten up everybody! :-)

    I thought it was a great tournament with Mickelson and Woods getting the excitement going early on and the 3 way sudden death playoff being edge of the seat stuff!

    With regards to the coverage, I thought it was great (bearing in mind the limitations already mentioned with regards to the host broadcaster and limitations imposed on them by Augusta National) I was disappointed by the limited number of players that were shown, for example I think Todd Hamilton was shown only 3 times but was very much in the running during the weekend.

    Sam, Wayne and Ken were brilliant (and I enjoyed the "Ken on the course" segments!) Peter was as good as ever too (just don't get him on the subject of prize money!) But I agree with the other comments, Gary Lineker wouldn't be my first choice for hosting this tournament and the chap that was interviewing "under the tree" really should prepare a bit better before asking some of his questions but no worse than Bill Nance (or whatever his name is). After losing the Masters I was yelling at the TV when Kenny Perry was being interviewed - you could tell all he wanted to do was walk away and cry but the interviewer kept throwing extra questions at him. Why didn't he leave the guy alone!!

    Ending on a positive note, the BBC HD picture quality was amazing!

  • Comment number 38.

    What a great Masters, and well done to the BBC for capturing the feel of Augusta for those of us not fortunate enough to be there (and probably never will be!) Lineker isn't as good as Inverdale (who is), but brings the professional sportsman's eye and insight to his interviews to good effect- and Inverdale can't be allowed to do everything as no one should be that lucky! Allis has been a great commentator, and was better this year than he has been generally in the last couple of years, but should hang up his microphone while he's still reasonably good.
    Finally, well done to Cabrera for an epic display- you don't win the US Open AND the Masters by accident.

  • Comment number 39.

    Hi all,

    Thanks for your comments.

    Just to reiterate, the BBC shows every single minute it is allowed to, and has to fill when the host broadcaster goes to ad breaks, which happens quite a lot.

    Ballisround66 - Didn't read that much into it. Just tickled me that that it's not just us po-faced Brits who don't like it.

    Beakersarecool - Shame I didn't get as far as the 8th with them if there was a "Get in the hole" there. My interview might have gone some way to explaining this strange phenomenon!

    Etienne123 - Nice. You're right, though. Does make a bit of a mockery of all the fitness freaks.

    SRD147, SkackDad41 - I was just saying the 16th was my favourite hole to watch in the flesh. The 12th might be a better test, and great on TV, but when you're there, once they've got to the green, it's a bit far away to really feel involved. And SRD147, sorry you didn't like the last blog entry. It was intended to sit alongside all the other blogs I've written this week as a way of signing off. You can read more of them if you click "main" at the top of this page.

    TwinCitiesTurvey etc - only a light-hearted gag about the chinos. You're right, the Brits are just as bad in a different way, but this wasn't about them.

    HunterLevi - As NIreland 1-0 England explained, I was talking about watching Tiger on Saturday, which I blogged at length about at the time.

    If you anyone's got any other awards to dish out, feel free to keep them coming. Cheers.

  • Comment number 40.

    Did you know the 16th was not an original hole when Alister McKenzie first designed Augusta in the early 30's? That is why it is slightly blander visually than some of the other holes.

    The original hole there was only a very short par three of around 110 - 120 yards.

  • Comment number 41.

    With regards to Gary Linekar and his presentation skills.Remember he is used to dealing with footballers who usually cant string a sentence together.He is totally lost in the golf world and this is clearly evident.Keep him on Match Of The Day and get Sam Torrance to conduct the interviews with the pro's. Afterall, he's been there and done it and is still well respected among his fellow professionals.


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