The Masters IS a Tradition Unlike Any Other

Posted: April 9, 2010 in Entertainment, Social Media, Television, Websites
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As I watch Freddie Couples on top of the leaderboard at the Masters Golf Tournament at the Augusta National Golf Club this Friday morning, I remember when he won it the first time in 1992. I was the promotion manager at WRDW-TV, the CBS affiliate in Augusta, Georgia who carried the Masters, and it was the biggest week of the year at my station. Since WRDW-TV carried the Masters broadcasts, we would see more viewers that week than any other time of the year. The broadcast of the final round on Sunday was the most watched program of the year, so I was a very busy promo girl during that week!

After Freddie won the tournament, he went directly to the Butler Cabin to accept his green jacket. CBS anchors their coverage from the Butler Cabin, and there waiting for him was CBS Sportscaster Jim Nantz. Fred and Jim were roommates when they were in college at the University of Houston, and Jim called the Sunday broadcast of the Masters ‘the hardest but most fulfilling broadcast of his life’ in his book “Always By My Side.’ When 1991 Masters Champion Ian Woosnam presented Freddie with the green jacket, a moment passed between Fred and Jim, and there wasn’t a dry eye in Augusta, Georgia.

Now in 2010, Freddie is back and the leaderboard is filled with golf superstars including Tom Watson, Phil Mickelson and of course, Tiger Woods. Obviously Tiger is a major story – first tournament since his car accident and sex scandal, and it’s the Masters, where he is a four-time champion. Tiger is near the top of the leaderboard, and all the golf commentators are shocked that he is playing so well. I’m not. When Tiger was on his game and winning just about every other tournament, he had his head on straight and he was disciplined. I think his current mind set is back where it was then, and he will be a force on Sunday afternoon.

But as always, I’ll be cheering first and foremost for my favorite, Phil Mickelson. I met him as an amateur in 1991 at the Masters and have been cheering for him ever since. During one of the practice rounds at the Masters, I actually saw him do the famous “Phil Flop”. His ball was in the sand trap near the green on #7 and he stood with his back to pin as he addressed the ball. It looked like he was going to hit the ball in the opposite direction of the green. But he took a big swing with his high-lofted wedge and the ball shot right over his head onto the green near the pin. The whole crowd roared, and he looked almost sheepish. It was one of those shared moments that everyone standing on #7 will remember for the rest of their lives. I’m sure that I wasn’t the only one whose favorite golfer became Phil Mickelson that day.

When Phil won the Masters in 2004, I was sitting in my living room about two feet from my television set. When he sank the 18-ft putt on the 18th hole and jumped in the air, I had never been so happy for any athlete in my entire life. He finally had a major under his belt and it had come at the Augusta National Golf Club.  I bawled my eyes out from the time he walked off the 18th green, all through the green jacket ceremony and through all the coverage on ESPN. I was so proud of him!

Sorry for the trip down “Magnolia Lane,” especially since this is supposed to be a blog about social media and not golf. So I’ll share some comments about one of the most blogged about stories of the tournament so far – the Nike ad using Tiger’s dad’s voice.  Here’s the link to the ad on You Tube:

I don’t have a problem with the concept of the ad nor using Earl’s voice. I figure if Tiger and his mother gave their permission to use his voice, then I would assume that it would have been what Earl would have done if he were still alive. I also think it’s probably going to become one of the most effective commercials of all time since by the end of the :30, you feel so uncomfortable and Tiger looks so remorseful that naturally people are going to feel sorry for him. But what I find truly interesting is that usually companies use their celebrity spokespeople to sell their product. With this ad, Nike is using their company to sell and repair the image of Tiger Woods. I’d say it’s going to work.

  1. Lloyd says:

    I love this post. A few random thoughts:

    -Did you see Tiger’s incredible 2nd shot on the 9th hole on Thursday? Wow!

    -Re: Tiger’s new Nike ad. I guess using Nike’s tag line — “Just Do It” — would have been misconstrued. Would have been more appropriate for an Old Spice ad.

    • Yes, I saw this unlikely shot – did you see how hard the wind was blowing during it?! The guy is just an incredible player. But, what I liked best is how Tiger enthusiastically ran back onto the fairway to see where the ball landed. In the last year or so, he wouldn’t have displayed that much excitement. I truly think the old Tiger is back! Also, I cracked up at your “Just Do It” comment! Yep, just a bit inappropriate!

  2. Lloyd says:

    I did see how he ran back onto the fairway — he had to. That was an amazing draw, requiring incredible club speed and precision. He’s a freak!

  3. Ruby says:

    Very interesting post Jessica! Just noticed your head picture is Doheny library! Tiger looks so remorseful and forgivable in that commercial and it is an ads more about him than about Nike

    @Lloyd Nike definitely should come up with something else than the tag line “Just Do It” on Tiger’s commercials from now on, at least for a certain period of time.

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