What I’m rumbling about here at Augusta National is what they’ve taken away from spectators. Take the 11th hole, for instance. I don’t care if they’ve put the tee in the CBS compound and create unplayable angles; if you’re a spectator you wouldn’t be able to see it anyway. They’ve planted a black forest between you and the fairway, maybe 60-70 feet wide. You don’t catch an uncluttered view of the player until he comes out of the woods at the foot of the hill.
Now, the fourth hole, that’s OK by me. It’s just long, but to do that, they had to gobble up more spectator space. Most of the players I watched hit irons or one of those unisex clubs. There was a bunch of bogeys, including Tiger Woods’, and only three birdies on my watch.
The seventh hole, all that need be said here is that Gene Sarazen once said, “That is the best golf hole on the course, what a golf hole should be. You have to hit two perfect shots, 3-iron or wood off the tee, then an approach that gives you a putting chance.”
They ignored him. They’ve stretched it out, but that’s not it. Once again spectator space and access have been shrunk, and sometimes you get trapped in one of these vacuums and you don’t get out until every player you’ve been chasing disappears. And sometimes, you can’t get there from here.
That’s it. You know that I’m coming to you from the choir of the aged. (And let me say this about Amen Corner: Every small-town church I’ve ever been too had an “amen corner,” where the husbands gathered while the mamas sat with the kids, and the husbands gave the pastor a loud, “A-men!”)
I guess that’s enough dyspepsia for one day.
Hogan versus Carnoustie mimicked Sir Edmund Hillary versus Mount Everest, a win-or-die sportsman against a natural enemy that could just about kill you. Hogan conquered Carnoustie, because it was there. The swelling crowds and the British press loved everything about him, from his impeccable wool and cashmere clothing to the fire beneath the ice of his personality. Hogan further endeared himself by slipping on a gray tweed jacket—and removing his hat—to accept the Claret Jug. CURT SAMPSON