Ten Things We Are Guaranteed To Hear and See During Our Masters TV Coverage This Week.
So Masters week is upon us…To the average sports viewer this signals the time of year the golf season begins and that Spring is here [as opposed to more snow].
To those of us however who watch golf week in week out all year round it also signals the week where we roll our eyes even more than normal as those in the commentary box at Augusta throw at us the usual clichés, errors and predictable player comments and stats, which only get magnified and increased in Masters week.
In addition of course it wouldn’t be Masters week without the annual airing of all those classic old Masters clips that you just know will pop up on our screens at some point.
Here’s a countdown of ten of the best, which I’d wager will all be heard or seen at some point over the next seven days….
10 – No Winner of the Par 3 etc, etc….
Our first entry is something that if you’re someone who watches all things Masters through the week, you’ll get to hear trotted out on Wednesday, before the main action actually begins.
The stat in question is of course that ‘No winner of the Par 3 competition has ever gone on to win the Masters’.
The Par 3 as I’m sure you all know is the event played on Wednesday where the competing pro’s and past legends of the game play 9 Par 3’s with children, grandchildren, girlfriends etc caddying, putting and generally all having a jolly time.
We all know this stat about no winner of it ever having gone on to win the Masters, however we all can’t help feeling a slight boost of confidence if the guy we’ve already backed at a 100s for the week goes out and wins it. After all it must mean he’s striking his wedges well, right?...
Quite why we’d think that winning an event played over 9 holes all measuring about 100yds, and where about 20% of the putts are taken by people under the age of 6, would have any baring on who wins a four day battle over a unique Par 72 is another matter.
No doubt one year someone will eventually win both. Perhaps this is the year…
9 – “Oh Wow…In Your Life Have You Seen Anything Like That”
The first clip to make the countdown is to be fare one that those of us who love golf have no problem seeing over and over again. This is Tiger’s incredible chip in at the 16th hole in 2005.
We’ve all seen it dozens of times. The ball pitches on to the green exactly where Tiger intends, stops, then does a 90 degree turn backwards, trundles down the hill to the hole and after hanging on the lip for what seems like an eternity falls in.
The crowd go nuts, Stevie Williams and Tiger ‘high five’ and generally go bonkers and Verne Lundquist in the commentary box delivers the above immortal lines.
If you haven’t seen it before you can either find it on You Tube or I’d wager a decent amount of money you’ll see it when Tiger reaches the 16th green on Thursday…
8 – Zach Johnson…Guess What He Laid Up On Every Par 5.
No 8 in our list may possibly be reliant on Zach playing well enough to make the coverage at some point.
Having said that I suspect that even if he doesn’t we’ll see a shot of him playing his second on 13 or 15 at some point on Thursday or Friday, just so the commentators can tell us that fascinating Zach stat again….He laid up on every single par 5 when he won the Masters..
Guess what commentators, I know this by now.. Actually I’ve known it since 2007 the year he won, and I think even the average golf viewer who watches golf twice a year at the Masters and the Open probably had it worked out by 2010…Still, just to be on the safe side I’m sure you’ll remind us again this week.
7 – Larry Mize’s Chip In.
The second clip to make our list is Larry Mize’s infamous chip in.
The year was 1987 and the scene was the second play off hole, the par 4 11th.
The protagonists were Mize and Greg Norman, AKA The Great White Shark. The late, great Seve had already been eliminated at the 10th hole.
Mize’s second shot finished well right of the green, however he then stunned the golfing world and the unfortunate Norman by chipping in to dramatically claim the title.
Norman of course never won a Green Jacket and he memorably had his heart broken again at Augusta by Nick Faldo in 1996 when he blew the six shot lead he held going in to the final round.
Mize, who to date is the only Augusta native to don a Green Jacket, continues to tee it up each year in the event and has, to his great credit, made the cut in the last two editions.
You can therefore guarantee that either when Larry is strolling up 18 on Friday afternoon, or when he plays the 11th, we will get our glimpse of him for the week followed naturally by footage of that infamous chip in… Hopefully Greg won’t be watching…
6 – “You Couldn’t Have Seen This Coming/Where Has This Come From?”
This one use to be the domain of Bruce ‘The Colonel’ Critchley, but I’m sure the mantle has now passed on to Mark Roe and Paul McGinley and it is one that leaves us regular golf watchers and punters shouting at the TV in frustration.
These, in case you hadn’t realised already, are the lines the commentator will utter when a slightly lesser known player [e.g not Tiger, Phil, Rory, Spieth etc] reach the higher echelons of the leader board over the weekend.
The fact that for example, Ryan Moore has a stellar Masters record and has had two top 10 finishes in his past four starts will seemingly be lost on said commentator.
Instead it will simply be replaced with a tone of incredulity that implies that as they are not Tiger, Phil, Rory, Spieth etc, they must be a complete mug who’s missed there last ten cuts and that they have absolutely no right to be interloping on the leader board. Very frustrating indeed…
5 – “That’s Unbelievable. You Almost Never See Him Miss One Of Those”
We move straight on to another one, which leaves us shaking our heads in frustration at the screen.
The above phrase is of course reserved solely for when Jordan Spieth misses a putt inside 6ft.
Now we all know Jordan has been struggling with the putter this year and currently languishes somewhere in the 180s in SGP, however those of us who follow golf to any degree also know that even when he seemed to be holing everything over 20ft week in week out his achilles heel with the putter was the short ones.
In fact if you take a look at Jordan’s putting stats between 4 to 8 feet over the past 5 seasons at best he has ranked 30th -40th over that time in any of those distances, whilst for a vast chunk of them he has ranked in the 100s.
Year in year out however this seems to be lost on our ‘commentary box experts’ who continue to utter words of amazement when Jordan watches another 5ft putt slip by.
Perhaps this year due to his more general putting malaise the penny may have finally dropped with our experts…Somehow I doubt it though..
4 – “Can I Please Just See One Shot From…!”
In a slight [or rather big] deviation from the theme No 4 goes not to something you will see or hear but to something you won’t see.
Picture the scene on Saturday. The Leader board as a random example is thus;
Rory -5 thru 6
Day -5 thru 6
Rose -4 thru 7
DJ -3 thru 7
Thomas -2 thru 8.
You the golf punter though have got what is proving to be a very shrewd £50 e/w on Russell Henley at 150-1 and the great news is he is -1 thru 9 holes in 6th place, well inside the e/w places pay out and indeed only four of the lead.
Naturally therefore you are keen to see your man on the course and as someone who is within four shots of the lead, in with a great shout and in 6th place you’d expect to do so.
Will you though? Don’t be ridiculous!
You will understandably see every shot played by the main protagonists at the very top of the leader board. However in addition, instead of seeing your man you will instead see Tiger and/or Phil who are +5 playing the 15th, whilst Ewan tells us, “If he can make eagle here and then pick up a couple more on the last three holes he may only be six back going in to Sunday and then he’s right back in it…”.
This will then be interspersed with shots of Tommy Fleetwood, Tyrell Hatton, Matt Fitzpatrick [you get the picture] making a birdie to get back to +6 about ten minutes after the leader board you have resorted to watching online to follow Henley, has told you that Tommy has made it.
As for Henley in the coverage, forget it, he will be nowhere to be seen!*
*Unless he goes in the water on 11 or 12 as TV producers like nothing better than showing a shot of someone hitting it in the water.
No 3 – Peter Alliss…
It’s highly possible that by Saturday you’ll have been ground down by the soporific Roe and McGinley interspersed with the occasional “Attaboy” from Butch, and will go in search of something different from the Godfather of Golf Commentary Peter Alliss.
Say what you like about Peter but there is never a dull moment when he is in the commentary box and I’ll take him over Roe and McGinley any day of the week.
There is no one particular phrase that Peter is likely to deliver this week as his repertoire is, to say the least, somewhat off the cuff.
I can though speculate with a fare degree of certainty that at some point he’ll be wishing Arthur Curmudgeon-Smythe etc, the secretary of Prattsbottom Golf Club, “a gem of a course in a beautiful part of the country”, a happy 80th birthday.
No 2 – “It’s Like Putting Down A Glass Staircase”…
Whilst on the subject of the BBC this is a phrase which tends to be the sole territory of Ken Brown, either in his ‘Ken on The Course’ slot where he’ll go and roll some balls around on the 5th green to show us what a nightmare it is, or in live commentary, usually when this year’s Smylie Kaufman is finally found out for the Augusta novice they are and 4 putts his way out of contention on Sunday.
As an aside I actually hold Ken responsible for the horrendous scores I shot the first few times over the years I attempted to play golf in the US when on holiday there.
This is because he had frightened me in to believing every US golf course would have ‘glass staircasesque’ greens like Augusta and if I even breathed near the ball it would roll 10ft, hence, suffice to say, my pace on them was somewhat of…
The good news is I’ve now worked out this isn’t actually the case so Ken can sleep safe in the knowledge this week that when he chucks a bunch of balls around the green I’ll understand that the glass staircase is truly unique to Augusta.
No 1 – “The Masters Doesn’t Start Till The Back 9 On Sunday”
Finally at No 1 in the list is undoubtedly the oldest non sensical golfing cliché that gets trotted out year in year out…The Masters doesn’t start till the back 9 on Sunday..
Whilst I understand that the pressure to win the Masters or indeed any Major [or indeed any golf tournament come to that] rachets up on the back 9 on a Sunday, to say that the tournament doesn’t start till the back 9 on Sunday is of course complete rubbish.
After all if I’ve hypothetically invested my hard earned on Justin Thomas this week and he shoots 78 78 to miss the cut, by the time the leaders hit the back 9 on Sunday he’ll be back in his crib in Jupiter having a few cold ones with the boys, whilst watching the coverage on his 60” screen in his games room and sending out the odd tweet.
What, unfortunately for me and my bet, I can say with 100% certainty won’t be happening, is that JT will get a nod from an official somewhere near the 10th tee at Augusta who’ll say to him, “OK Justin, I know you missed the cut but you join up with the second last group as they come through and you can start on the same score as Rory, -5, who’s currently in the lead. Is that OK?”
No, the Masters definitely does not start at the back 9 on Sunday, it starts at about 7.30am Eastern Time on Thursday and I for one can't wait for it to begin.