Cynical Me?

And you think I'm curmudgeon? I'll look like Norman Vincent Peale after you read read this from Kevin Mitchell in The Observer:

I'm not sure I was as excited about my first Masters as Charles Howell III was about his. He grew up three miles down the road, after all. And he was playing. I'm just scribbling, as pleasant a task as that is.

Charles III (what is it about American golfers that their parents can't think of a different first name for them?) said he was so in awe of the Augusta National Club and the event before being invited to play here for the first time in 2001: 'Even if they made us hit wooden drivers and gutta-percha balls, I'd show up and be happy just to be there.'

It was the kid's entry in the pass-the-bucket all-comers' championship for baloney. Golf and Americans love that stuff: the wonder of the game and the history and the honour and how they'd like to be buried at Amen Corner, if only the guys in the clubhouse would let them, and 'please, please, Hootie, let the sun shine on all my hopes and dreams' - and, if you haven't already, God bless America.

The writers write it down because it looks great in print.

Cynical me? A bit. There is romance and history at Augusta and it must be a thrill for any young player to be on that stage. And a heart-arresting experience to win it. But there is no shortage of horse shit in the azaleas, either. This year's programme fairly dribbles with testimonials from players about the orgasmic experience of being allowed in to golf's earthly paradise.
Wow...oh there's more. Wally, close your eyes.
Maybe they are fit to bursting. But golfers, like all professional athletes, are in sport for one reason: the result. As a rival boxing trainer once observed of the all-dancing Sheffield fighter Herol Graham (who had been described as poetry in motion): 'Nobody ever got knocked out by a poem.'

Yet golf, more than any other sport, drowns in its own schmaltz. Which is odd. Because, for all their love of a soundbite, golfers are pragmatists who work their backsides off honing their game by the millimetre to get just the slightest edge on their opponents (and the course). No amount of sentiment is going to distract them from their work when they step up to the tee.

And where they leave the past behind is in the laboratories of the multinational equipment manufacturers. People there, who might otherwise be finding a cure for cancer or shoes that talk, are paid a lot of money to make clubs that look and sound as if they could fly you to the moon.

That's where the pretence stops. It's not Hootie Johnson, Augusta's chairman, who is golf's overlord. The real oligarchs of the game are the guys who run Nike and all the other fat companies.