I'd like to write a scathing story about the train wrecks all over Augusta yesterday afternoon. I hadn't been that sick to my stomach since the ride home from Magic Mountain in fifth grade at Eric Atkinson's birthday party when Jared Chow took the brunt of my churros and nachos grande. However, reviewing what happened to 10+ of the top players in the world when they made the turn in front of Tiger Woods would only make me feel worse.
Instead, I want to talk about three tests that should be administered at Augusta before every Masters Tournament. One test is for the players, the second test is for the patrons, and the third test is for the members.Test One - Psychological Test
Each player in the Masters field save Tiger Woods, Seve Ballesteros, Ben Crenshaw, Fuzzy Zoeller, and Gary Player should be required to take a psychological test shortly after arriving at Augusta. After an intensive written and oral examination, the doctor should take each player's pulse and blood pressure. During these tests, the doctor should mention things like "Tiger Woods", "Buick Spokesman", "Earl Woods", "Cablinasian", "Elin", "Green Jacket", and "Tee Shot on 12". If there is a spike in the player's heart rate or blood pressure, the player might be disqualified from the tournament. If his blood pressure spikes only at the mention of "Elin", he'll be allowed to play. The reason for this test is to weed out early everyone who doesn't deserve to win the tournament because of their mental weakness.Test Two - Masters Knowledge
During the Monday practice round, Jay and I kept shaking our heads in amazement at how uninformed the patrons (esp. the louder ones) around us were about the Masters, Augusta National, and golf in general. We decided that as a pre-requisite to obtaining entrance for practice rounds and tournament rounds, you have to answer at least six out of ten correctly on the following test. Here are the questions:
1) Which holes comprise Amen Corner?
2) Who won the first Masters?
3) How many Masters did Arnold Palmer win?
4) What is Ben Crenshaw's nickname?
5) Among these players, who won the most Masters titles? a) Jimmy Demaret, b) Bernhard Langer, c) Tom Watson, d) Seve Ballesteros
6) Which two men founded Augusta National?
7) What "trophy" does the winner of the Masters receive?
8) Name the two par 5s on the back nine.
9) Name three holes on the course that have water in play.
10) How many Masters titles did Gren Norman win?Test Three - Bobby Jones Appreciation Assessment
Augusta National has been changed quite a bit in the past ten years, and now it hardly resembles the course Bobby Jones envisioned back in the early thirties. I don't think Jones would be disappointed with all of the changes concerning added length, but nearly all of the other changes made to the golf course run counter to his design philosophy. Holes one, four, seven, eleven, fourteen, fifteen, and seventeen most definitely have him rolling in his grave.
Fortunately, many of these changes can be undone if the members say so. The third test that I'm calling for is a full-blown assessment of each Augusta member's appreciation for Bobby Jones' vision for how Augusta should be played, why he thought the way he did, and how the course as it plays today is contrary to what was intended. After the assessment, each member would be required to write a 600 word essay on what he could personally do to restore the design elements Jones and Mackenzie desired.