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The Masters 2012: the view from Augusta

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Andy Dill | 10:10 UK time, Thursday, 5 April 2012

The Masters 2012 - a caddie cleaning a golf club


By Graham Mcmillan: 

This is the week in particular that it's a real privilege to do this job.  I'm sitting in the media centre at Augusta putting the final touches to our Masters coverage over the next four days with the first fairway stretching out through the windows ahead of me and warm sunshine covering every part of the course.

Covering the Masters is actually quite tricky technically. Unlike the Open or the Ryder Cup nobody is allowed on the fairways apart from the players and caddies - you won't find any commentators crouched just off the green talking in hushed tones.

Instead there are commentary boxes stationed at the key parts of the course; at Amen Corner where you have tremendous views of the 11th, the famous par three 12th and then the start of the 13th - the most famous stretch of holes in the game.

Our next commentary position is at the par five 15th - the players come into view over the top of the hill that runs down to the pond right in front of you and then as you turn to your left, with the help of a trusty pair of binoculars, the par three 16th where Tiger Woods performed miracles seven years ago.

There is so much going on there you have to be careful not to miss a key bit of action on either green - commentator Alistair Bruce-Ball found himself describing two birdie putts happening simultaneously on the 15th and 16th greens during the climax to last year's tournament.

Out on the course at Augusta


When the players have left Amen Corner behind them, our commentator there has to up sticks and leg it across the course to rendezvous with them again at the 17th - harder than you think given you have to cross at least two fairways to get there.

And from the position at the back of the 17th, right below you, the 18th tee and that narrow tunnel of trees that leads back up to the clubhouse.

The rest of the action is fed into the media centre where Chris Evans, Iain Carter and Jay Townsend will be across everything that happens elsewhere on the course.

There are so many aspects to Augusta that are different from the norm there's not enough space to go into here, but if you listen to our coverage over the next four days we'll be sure to mention as many of them as we can.

I can't think of too many other sports events, never mind golf tournaments, where you are so close, so often to the greats of the game.

Sitting down to lunch on the lawn next to Tom Watson, having breakfast on the Clubhouse balcony next to Sir Nick Faldo, or watching Arnold Palmer, Jack Nicklaus and Gary Player tee off together as the sun rises over Georgia on an April Thursday morning to get one of the world's great sporting events underway.

As I said, it's a privilege to be here.

Graham Mcmillan is BBC Radio's golf producer.

There will be commentary on all four days on 5 live and 5 live sports extra. See our schedule here.


  • Comment number 1.

    Why Chris Evans? BBC Radio 5 Live has a multitude of quality sports broadcasters, and yet gets the shouty one off Radio 2. He may like golf, but hey, I like Formula One and I don't see a call up to present the coverage.

    Can you explain why one of the stable of 5 Live's talented men and women isn't being used for this OB?

  • Comment number 2.

    It is a sad reflection on 5live when they decide that they have to have somekind of a ' name ' to head up their golf coverage purely to try and enhance the ratings.The golf journo's can do it perfectly well on their own.It is typical of the poor thinking behind present day radio.

  • Comment number 3.

    What about DJ Spoony, i thought he would be a dead cert.

  • Comment number 4.

    Five Live are usually (and rightly) praised for the quality of their sports coverage when the like of Inverdale, Balding & Payne are hosting major sports event, so why on earth do they feel the need to use Chris Evans instead?

    I'll listen to events that I wouldn't normally be interesting in such as Wimbledon or Cheltenham with these presenters as they add to the sport. However, I'm reasonably interested in golf & won't be listening as Chris Evans ruined last year's coverage with his constant need to be the centre of attention.

    Please can somebody at Five Live explain the editorial reasoning behind this? I suspect the answer would be 'he's a golf fanatic' but I wouldn't expect Frank Skinner to be doing the FA Cup Final or Steve Coogan hosting Formula 1.

    I dread to think who's going to be hosting the Olympic Coverage; Graham Norton? Michael Macintyre?

  • Comment number 5.

    Irony Fed?

  • Comment number 6.

    I live in Brazil. About an hour ago, I was delighted to discover that the Radio 5 Masters golf commentary is available to me throught the internet..so many live broadcasts are blocked.
    And yet I simply can´t believe the trash that is being broadcast. mistered5 says that Evans ruined last year´s coverage....well, assuming that he is the clown who continues to divert the conversation away from the golf, he´s started where he left off. No-one minds a little bit of TMS-esque banter, but in the space of 20 minutes I dont think there was a commentary on a single shot. We suddenly discover that Rory dropped a shot on the 11th but only because John (I´m sorry, I´m not sure of his full name, but he´s the bloke who is at Amen corner and he´s a class act) has the good sense to try to bring attention back to the course. You could almost feel his embarrassment of being on air with such an idiot. Mr. Mcmillan, I imagine it is difficult for you to cut Evans from the broadcasts at this stage. Golf is a game for all. Tell Mr Evans to go to a local golf course and learn what it means to have a chat at the same time as being involved in a sporting occasion. There seem to various guys in your team who have some golfing sense. Find a way of giving them more air time. And invite me to host the show next year.

  • Comment number 7.

    Nothing should surprise you with the Dalglish-style management at this station.
    Not giving Bruno Tonioli the Euros to cover or Nick Knowles co-hosting Wimbledon with "I hate sport" Bacon. Michael Vaughan is going to do the Masters telly, following Lineker and you just know Helen Skelton will be shoe-horned in all summer. The sports team must love it!

    But Media analysts confidently predict that when the existing sports rights come up in the next 3/4 years the BBC will find themselves with little or no coverage. Maybe its the BBC's way of getting you used to it.

  • Comment number 8.

    I dont do irony Mr Stumps.

    As for post 6, do you pay the license fee? If not i dont think you have got the right to complain,

  • Comment number 9.

    I fully agree with the concerns voiced over having Chris Evans heading up the masters coverage.

    He has already become a feature of the open coverage and his "contribution" to 5 live golf coverage seems to be slowly but surely increasing. This worrying trend seems set to continue and I for one will not be listening if that is the case.

    Ian Carter and the rest of the golf team were perfectly capable and it is a great shame the powers that be @ 5 live seem to take the view the listening figure will increase just because a "celebrity" is the front man.

    This is another example of the celebrity culture we live in i.e. the general public will only become engaged if a "face" is the focus, they do not think we much prefer someone who is "normal" as well as knowledgable & pleasant to listen (not egotistical).

    Chris Evans is a good LIGHT ENTERTAINMENT radio show presenter. Being a DJ requires constant banter and non stop chatter. No disrespect, but he should leave sports presenting to the experts and stick to the day job! Being a golf fan is no justification for heading up the golf coverage from the masters.

    Please give the listening public some consideration.

  • Comment number 10.

    This comment has been referred for further consideration. Explain.

  • Comment number 11.

    Ian Carter and Jay Townsend are such compelling commentators, and it seems to be sad that the coverage is being compromised by inanities. Which is why sadly I have long given up listening to the golf if Mr Evans is on. As others have said, we all like golf so can we have a turn at disrupting the commentary team?

  • Comment number 12.

    I’m really enjoying the post round interviews conducted by former England Michael Vaughan. His ability to consistently pose a series of inert, anesthetised & unperceptive questions provides a master class in scripted banality, aligned with clumsily sycophancy, not seen since Gary Lineker took the trip to Georgia. More please.

  • Comment number 13.

    I actually think Michael Vaughan was done quite a good job with the television interviews. There is one bonus of this, presumabally he will be part of the BBC TV team at the Open Championship which will in turn allow either Russell Fuller or Mark Pougatch to return to the Five Live commentary team. As for Chris Evans, there should no place for him in the Five Live commentary team.

  • Comment number 14.

    tv Vaughan = radio Evans.

  • Comment number 15.

    Had to punch the plasma last night when our intrepid reporter (Vaughan) said for the umpteenth time [this time] to Poulter "Go-Low". A piggy-eyed Pulter turned back, like a starlet and said, "I will."

    Tonight head-butted the remains of the plasma when Vaughan (yes, the same) told Tiger he had won three Masters. Woods corrected the cricketer before leaving.

    Yep, Vaughan's acquitted himself every bit as much as expected. I look forward to Chris Moyles doing the para-olympics coverage and Russell Grant the Six Nations.

    Which reminds me of a Daily Telegraph story when Colin Murray was first given sports programmes on this station (then Fri,Sat & Sun.). They said it was like giving Chris Waddle the Radio One Breakfast Show - that being a football fan wasn't enough.

  • Comment number 16.

    Its all far too chummy at the BBC/5live.Strange that they think that anyone with a ' high profile ' or ' celeb status ' can get the job done but when push comes to shove they can't.How much extra has this cost when more knowledgable journo's play second fiddle and broadcast loads better ? Spoiled the whole event having to listen ' names ' filling time.

  • Comment number 17.

    I think comparing Michael Vaughan to Chirs Evans is unfair. Plenty of retired sports men/women have worked across other sports as a broadcaster. From what I could tell Michael Vaughan got one fact wrong.

    However it was interesting to note that Alastair Bruce-Ball took over as the interviewer on the television coverage for the last few interviews that were broadcast.

  • Comment number 18.

    Next year I vote the US Masters should be held at Swinton Park Golf Club.

  • Comment number 19.

    Michael Vaughn was an outstanding Cricketer and astute Captain of England.
    Unfortunately he is not very inspiring as a summariser on TMS. As player interviewer on the BBC coverage of The Masters he was an unmitigated disaster.
    Why oh why BBC, when you have so many excellent and knowledgeable sports journalists are you so obsessed with employing 'celebrity' ex-sportsmen in unsuitable roles?

  • Comment number 20.

    I thought it was just me & my circle of friends interested in golf that had switched off the radio coverage because of the new presenter, but the comments above almost unanimously agree with what we've been saying- the BBC's stable of golf correspondents & commentators are excellent and are being ruined by a non-sports presenter.

    So therefore, please can somebody from the station explain the editorial reasoning behind this appointment? It would be far more relevant than explaining who you were sat next to at breakfast!

  • Comment number 21.

    "As I said, it's a privilege to be here".

    Somehow I think much of the 5Live team and especially those who hold jobs for the boys forget that the privilege is paid for by us licence payers. They are all having such a good time on our behalf.

  • Comment number 22.

    There should be no place at the BBC for this obsession with this tiresome modern day celeb culture and those the BBC choose to help advance their careers.They must think that just because the BBC/5live or newspapers embrace it, everyone else feels the same......we don't !! Get back to good honest sports and news journalism.You have good reporters...use them !

  • Comment number 23.

    The thing is you don't really need a presenter for the Masters on Five Live, granted there is more coverage than both the US Open and USPGA but at both those events Iain Carter adequatley presents the coverage as well as commentate. So you either add in another commentator Conor McNamara or a interviewer Rob Nothman.

    As for the television coverage it should be Russell Fuller doing the interviews as he has that job at the Open Championship so should do the Masters as well.

    But finally some names of former sports men/women who have gone on to be class broadcasters in sports other than their own - Clare Balding, Sue Barker, Hugh Porter, Paul Dickenson, Steve Cram, Gabby Logan, Stuart Storey and Matthew Pinsent.

  • Comment number 24.

    Did I just read Gabby Logan described as a class broadcaster ?........Nah, surely not ?

  • Comment number 25.

    Richard Bacon is at Aintree....................

  • Comment number 26.

    Yep....sounds about right for 5live....


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