First, for those asking, my second annual recap of Jim Rome's Smack Off radio show will be up tomorrow sometime. If you missed my first one last year, it was a true tour de force. It, too, went up nearly four days after the actual event, so my procrastination is becoming a tradition like no other.
Speaking of "tradition like no other," I had a chance to check out the Masters this weekend. On Sunday morning, as Rory McIlroy stood firmly in control of the leader board, and Tiger Woods was a few strokes off the pace, I tweeted to my Twitter followers:
"My Masters Sunday watch plan: Watching if (a) Tiger makes a run or (b) I see tweets about a sudden death playoff. Yeah I'm THAT guy. Sorry."
I am every bit of "THAT guy" -- I'm the guy who can't stand Tiger Woods, but won't really dial into a golf tournament unless he's in the mix. Needless to say, I haven't been logging much golf watching time in the last couple years.
Secondary to Woods, I enjoy a good meltdown (Dustin Johnson's 82 in the final round of the U.S. Open last year was a thing of beauty to me), and I like rooting for sudden death playoffs that go on forever and ever and ever.
So naturally when Tiger Woods made a run with a couple early birdies, my Twitter feed was blowing up with replies like "Uh Sean, better find a TV"..."Someone tell Sean to block out the afternoon"..."You're a dumb ass" (I get that one a lot.)
Woods' run up the leader board coincided with McIlroy folding like a lawn chair and a group of golfers gravitating toward the -10 to -12 range like the NFC West gravitates toward 7-9 records. It was shaping up to be a pretty sweet Sunday.
Ultimately, though, Woods just didn't have enough (His best moment of the afternoon turned out to be his post-round interview where he treated reporter Bill Macatee like a clubhouse attendant who didn't apply enough shine to his spikes), McIlroy's implosion rendered him irrelevant enough to stop CBS from even showing his round, and I was left with a three-way triangle of "who gives a shit" with three golfers who were all greater than 50-1 shots coming in (Adam Scott, Jason Day, and eventual winner Charl Scwartzel).
It was VCU and Butler with golf clubs. Yeah, what started out so promising turned out to be a big tease for the casual fan like me.
But it got me thinking -- what could Augusta do to ensure that I would watch Sunday from beginning to end? It's really simple -- when it comes to marketing your sport, when in doubt ask yourself "What would Vince McMahon do?"
So here you go, the starting point -- some simple suggestions to make Masters more golf-idiot friendly. Because golf needs more idiots watching. Like me.
The good thing about Jason Day hanging around the top of the leaderboard is that meant Jason Day's wife was hanging around as well. I say instead of leaving the spouses in the gallery, if aesthetics warrant, dress them up in skirts that end just below their assline and have them strut the course in high heels along with their man. (Bending over to find stray balls in the rough is a bonus, but not required. And if that last sentence doesn't get me slapped or suspended...)
(Side bar: Charl Schwartzel's wife is pretty sporty, too. Basically, the litmus test for "hot athlete wives" is if you put an athlete's name in a google search and one of the choices to automatically pop up in the pull down menu is "[athlete name] wife" then assume that wife passes the "valet test.")
2. Titantron videos
The way the golf tour introduces golfers at the beginning of a round is lame. "Hometown, name, intro." Weak. I say install a movie screen surrounding the first tee, let each golfer pick theme music and show the WWE style Titantron videos. Pyro would be an added bonus.
Imagine PGA Director Tim Finchem with a Vince McMahon style "position of authority" video...
...or Tiger Woods with a Val Venis style "phallic symbol, banging everything in sight" video....
Forget just the Masters, I'd watch every tournament if they had Titantron intro videos.
3. Add Jim Ross to the announce team
Masters broadcasts have too much whispering, too much boredom, too many foreign accents. Put it this way, if Rory McIlroy is going to fire off an 80-something in the final round, would you rather have an announcer conveying the magnitude of his failure with a muted British whisper, or would you rather have Jim Ross screaming "Good God Almighty!" and calling McIlroy's game "bowling shoe ugly"? Yeah, I thought so. Cue "Boomer Sooner"...
4. Jacket ceremony
This is an important one. The jacket ceremony where the previous year's champion puts the green jacket on the new champion is an important tradition, and I don't want to completely dismantle the foundation upon which the Masters is built. However, I don't like having multiple green jackets out there. Like a heavyweight title in wrestling, the Masters jacket should be handed down year to year...literally the same jacket. So when someone who weighs 140 pounds soaking wet (like Charl Schwartzel) wins the championship from Phil Mickelson, I need to see him swimming in Mickelson like Tom Hanks' kid character in the adult suit at the end of Big. They should be required to wear the previous champ's jacket around on the talk show circuit for one month and then after one month, they can get fitted for one in their size. (Which means that in a year Schwartzel wins the title, I'd root for Craig Stadler the following year, then back to someone skinny the next year. Back and forth, fat and skinny....this would entertain me.)
Listen to Sean Pendergast on 1560 The Game from noon to 3 p.m. weekdays and follow him on Twitter at http://twitter.com/SeanCablinasian.
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