Where Masters Walk the Earth

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The Masters always has its Blixts. It’s international, full of Olazabals, Jimenezes and de Vicenzos. Augusta National was always slow on African Americans and women. Even Americans have names like Spieth and Kuchar, but America is a land of great diversity. Augusta National has just historically limited it a bit.

So do I have profoundly mixed feelings about a golf tournament contested in an atmosphere resembling sports colonialism. It’s grandly conducted, though, and, eventually, the place yields to modernity, though grudgingly.

Augusta always has a place for a Bubba. It’s National but also Augusta. The Masters reveres the greats but prefers the Southerners. It’s only natural.

Tiger Woods, half Asian, one-fourth black, conquered it, and by the time he came along, he was snobbish, ruthless and indomitable enough to swing it. Now he’s laid up with a bad back. Phil Mickelson fooled around and missed the cut.

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Thus was this year’s Masters left to Bubba Watson, who also won it in 2012 with a shot that would’ve seemed no less impressive at a trick-shot exhibition. It was a trick-shot exhibition. The 20-year-old kid from Texas, Jordan Spieth, had lots of skill but just too damn much energy. His time may come. There’s usually a phenom to take his medicine in the final round.

Or so I seemed in high-def. All I had in common with the galleries was a pimiento-cheese sandwich.

I covered the Masters once, 32 years ago, when I was 24 and fancied myself the writer long before I understood why I wasn’t yet. All I had to do was write columns – writing columns at 24, ah-hahahaha – and so I took the tournament’s scenic route, walking around the course early to watch the antics of Chi Chi Rodriguez and Lee Trevino, who was a contender everywhere else. I also walked a while with Furman Bisher, whom, by accident, I knew.

Then I went back to this gigantic, pine-green tent, where, once the tournament got serious, all the serious writers went to watch it on TV. Believe you me, back then I was serious. I’d have told you if you asked.

I enjoyed it once but never particularly cared to go back. I have a nice TV right here at the house.

Originally, my plan was to write part two of the short story, “If the Good Lord’s Willing,” but that will have to wait until Monday. I wrote a chapter of what will one day be a novel, and that will have to suffice for today in the fiction department.


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