Unpopular opinion: 5 Reasons why the Masters is my least favourite major

The scoreboard at The Masters during a weather delay

While there will be countless articles about how great the first major of the year is, this will not be one of those stories. Picture: Erik S. Lesser/EPA

Published Apr 3, 2023


Centurion - It’s the first week of April, and that means The Masters at Augusta tees off on Thursday and while there will be countless articles about how great the first major of the year is, this will not be one of those stories.

This is not to say The Masters is not an incredible event, as the players routinely deliver world class and unforgettable performances. My point is that with a couple of adjustments it could be the best major of them all, and offer a better package as the greatest event in golf - which I believe belongs to The Open Championship.

In the interest of full disclosure, I cannot claim I’m totally objective - having reported on and attended the 2012 and 2018 Open Championships - so the oldest event in golf will always be the best for me.

Here are my top five reasons why I believe The Masters is the least enjoyable major as a spectator.

1 Green jacket presentation

Every year, viewers are treated to an exciting four days of competition before the winner emerges in a tense climax on the 18th hole. Then after sharing his celebrations with his caddie and family members, he is quickly whisked away for the official jacket presentation in a stuffy cabin. The atmosphere is instantly lost, while the defending champion shares a few words of forced congratulations with the new winner in what is generally the most cringeworthy way to bestow one of the greatest honours for a professional golfer.

In my view, the cabin presentation needs to be scrapped altogether and do everything outside in front of the paying public.

2 Augusta strives for tradition as a guise for being archaic

The cliché always thrown around at The Masters is that it strives to create its own traditions after starting in 1934. However, who can forget that Augusta National only allowed female members for the first time in 2012?

That came 22 years after Augusta ‘allowed’ its first African American member in 1990. At least Augusta National now hosts a Women’s Amateur Championship, having first done so in 2019. This is a good first step, and hopefully will bring about more integration.

3 Lee Elder was disrespected

The way Lee Elder was honoured by Augusta National was terrible. He became the first African American to play in The Masters in 1975. Already aged 40, Elder was passed his prime and missed the cut.

He would, however, go on to play in the event five more times with a best finish of 19th in 1977. When Tiger Woods won his first major at The Masters, he said Elder was one of his inspirations.

Only in 2021, was Elder invited to be one of the ceremonial starters at The Masters. Aged 86, Elder was already too frail to stand and could not hit one of the ceremonial tee shots like Gary Player and Jack Nicklaus. Instead, Elder was seated and was reduced to a VIP spectator in his only appearance as a ceremonial starter.

Arnold Palmer was part of the ceremonial starters until his death in 2016. Surely in 2017, Elder could have been included while he was still strong enough to be more physically part of the tournament. Having Elder appear just the once when his health was already failing felt like an afterthought and left a sour taste in one’s mouth.

4 Spectators are called patrons

There’s nothing more pretentious than having a designated name for spectators attending an event, but that’s what is done at The Masters with fans only being allowed to be referred to by commentators and journalists as ‘patrons’.

To me, that shows that Augusta believes their ‘patrons’ are intrinsically better than those who attend any other event. It’s 2023, and that’s just a terrible look.

5 The music

Ever since I started watching The Masters in 1997 as an 11-year old, the broadcast music has been the same when they show the leaderboard and picturesque shots of the course. I guess it’s supposed to help build the aura of tranquillity and tradition, but like my hairstyle (or lack thereof) in the 1990s, I realised at some point it was time for a change and to get with the times.

But as I’ve already pointed out, being pro-active and making necessary changes may take a few decades at Magnolia Lane.


IOL Sport

* The views expressed are not necessarily the views of IOL or Independent Media.

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