Not Heaven, but close

Published 4:58 pm Tuesday, April 10, 2018

No screaming allowed! That’s not printed on signs, but is simply understood. Television is involved but only if the announcers whisper. The grass is always cut to the perfect height and the azaleas bloom bright and colorful for at least four days. There is even a portion of the 345 acres that reference “Amen.” It’s not heaven, but close.

Breaking news! A Middle East dictator bombs his own people with nerve gas and kills innocent women and children. It won’t make this telecast.

Meanwhile, on the 16th hole, an old, but venerable Verne Lundquist whispers. “He’s got about 20 feet, but it’s as treacherous a 20 feet as anyone can imagine. This will take the utmost delicate strike. It’s got a chance. Oh, my goodness (Not too loud, Verne.). Have you ever seen anything like that?” I’ll bet ole Verne’s heart rate never got above 60.

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Of course I am talking about The Masters Golf Tournament. It’s always at the same golf course, Augusta National, a former nursery that was converted to what may be the world’s most perfectly manicured 345 acres. Those few acres are most popular for four days in early April.

I don’t watch golf on television much, but The Masters captivates me for many reasons. One is that it’s in Georgia. I’ve been to Augusta a few times and, although it’s “hard to get there from here,” it’s still Georgia.

Most of us will never actually see Augusta National in person. Membership is by invitation only and, well, I don’t move in those circles, if you know what I mean. Plus, I don’t have $30,000, the price for being able to drive down Magnolia Lane as a member.

Television might not do too many things well, but one thing it does pretty good and that is bring The Masters to common folk like you and me.

I’ve played a round or two of golf. My late, great daddy used to call it “chasing that little white ball.” When I lived and worked on Florida’s Gulf Coast, I played more than I do now, but it goes without saying, I cannot even imagine playing like those Masters competitors.

Except, I did see Sergio Garcia, last year’s Masters champion, need 13 strokes on the par 3 15th hole. He hit the ball into the water 5 straight times. I can imagine that.

And very soon after that, I saw the great Tiger Woods hit his ball into the azaleas on one hole and took a long time to find it. I’m no Tiger, but I have hit balls that were hard to find. In fact, some have never been found.

Donna Sue and I played golf together once and she enjoyed finding the errant balls of others more than any other part of the playing.

There is at least one more reason that I watch The Masters on television. Make that two.

One, I have no other choice, but to watch it on television. Couldn’t get tickets if I wanted them.

The other? They don’t let the outside world mess with the telecast. It seems that it’s all about the tournament and nothing else. I don’t even know whether they would break into the coverage if we had something like a 9-11.

The voices are so calm and considerate. One might call them soothing. Most of television, these days, is shrill arguing back and forth and the language is getting more profane all the time. It’s a pleasure hearing announcers who don’t try to overwhelm a viewer with volume. The most beautiful things in life don’t need too much bluster.