To every one of us who looked forward to the Masters, 3 PM could not come soon enough. None of us were disappointed, except that we were not feted to the entire event right from the start.
The coverage was it’s predictable self, right down to the fawning over Tiger Woods. It began earlier in the day, when ESPN burned a seemingly permanent box in the upper left hand corner of SportsCenter to report on his progress.
I am a college basketball junkie, so I was just coming off of the CBS coverage of every dribble, of every game, of every region, spread across the country. I wondered why the coverage of the Masters had not begun on one of it’s affiliates with the Opening Ceremonies. I seriously doubt that Augusta National would not embrace that.
So, Round #1 coverage begins with how Tiger Woods is doing, intertwined, of course, with how the rest of the field is fairing, but the ratio was skewed as usual.
The rest of the day, up until the replay, covered every twitch, twiddle, and twaddle of Tiger Woods. There was speculation on why he was playing so poorly. To be sure, his game lacked as much verve as his grey outfit.
At one point they began wondering if he had a physical problem. This consideration was due to his seemingly miraculous recovery after withdrawing at Doral two weeks prior. One commentator even thought Tiger might have a stiff neck. The confabulation had begun in earnest.
In the end, the play of a relative unknown and a veteran favourite was something they could not ignore. Unfortunately, the rest of the field suffered from, once again, being overshadowed by even an underachieving Tiger Woods.
Round #2 coverage began in the same way as Round #1 did–much too late.
Many of us who have played golf understand the phrase “... stinking up the course ...” since we’ve all done it. Well, that phrase explains Tiger’s play. The coverage spent even more time, now concentrating on his foibles, frets, and frustrations and ignoring the field.
At approximately 6:30 PM of the 2nd Round, three-time Masters winner, Sir Nick Faldo finally made the most profound observation of the coverage: “I think we can safely say Tiger has lost his game,” and then continued “... and his mind ... and his temper.”
The rest of the coverage, thankfully centered on the wonderful performance of Fred Couples, who was atop the Leaderboard at the end of the day.
Round #3 coverage began well after Tiger had completed yet another lackluster round, and to the credit of the coverage, they hardly devoted any time to Tiger, as I think was right and proper.
Tiger is twelve (12) shots off the pace. Barring some more attention grabbing theatrics from him, like another withdrawal, I’m sure that by the time CBS starts it's coverage, the only tape of Tiger will be of his driving away.
I really look forward to the coverage of the Final Round, which, as it should be, will be without mention of Tiger Woods as he is the past.
This Field is golf’s future!