There is no sporting event on TV like The Masters. Its grandeur and class exceeds most other sporting events with very few exceptions.
In spite of various controversies that have cropped up over the years (and there is one brewing now about admitting a woman as a full member, namely the new CEO of IBM, whose company is a sponsor of the tournament), it remains as the most revered and sought-after victory by any professional golfer on the planet. And while golf is not an event that typically achieves high Nielsen TV ratings, this event does and is usually the No. 1 program in its time period, both here in the DFW area and nationally. Especially if Tiger Woods is playing and is in the hunt!
Since 1956, CBS has televised this event to the world. This week, CBS’ coverage starts Thursday and Friday nights with a 15-minute highlight show at 10:35 p.m. CT. Saturday coverage starts at 2:30 p.m. CT and Sunday coverage at 1:00 p.m. CT. On the first two rounds today and tomorrow, coverage can be seen on ESPN, who has co-produced this tournament with CBS since 2008. Jim Nantz will be CBS’ lead announcer.
My late Dad played the Masters several times. He had a friend with the old Dallas Times Herald who was a member and they would go out with a bunch of men for a long weekend. Apart from the California courses in Palm Desert and Pebble Beach, I cannot remember any other time he was more happy than when he was telling my mom, “Mary Nell, I am going to The Masters!” (Notice it was “I am going,” not “We are going!”) They had to be sure to make travel arrangements when the club was open since it is closed all summer long.
My memories of watching it on TV go back to the days of Arnold Palmer, Gary Player and Jack Nicklaus. I was an avid golfer myself at one time with a 7 handicap out of The Northwood Club in Dallas, and the 1972 Junior Club Champion. (Today I do not play anymore.) I do remember when two former CBS Sports announcers, Jack Whittaker and Gary Bender, got into hot water with Augusta National officials. Whittaker was reporting on some crowd activity around one of the greens and, as I recall, said something to the effect of “There’s a mob down there in the crowd!” That didn’t sit well with Augusta National. He was later removed from the broadcast permanently and was banned from ever coming back.
For years, there was always a mystique about Augusta National, as only a few holes on the course were allowed to be shown on television. It has been in the last few years where CBS Sports and ESPN have been allowed to show coverage on all 18 holes. The other thing is that tickets to this event are not overly expensive, but very hard to get.
Even if you are not a golfer, this is a world class event, and CBS Sports knows how to do it better than anyone else. See you next time.
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