A lot of movies and TV shows are made here in Georgia.
Sometimes, I think the movie producers are trying to make the scenes look like somewhere else.
This week, we will be front and center on the television. And there is no mistaking that it will be some of the prettiest scenery in all of the Peach State. The Masters Golf Tournament tees off this week at Augusta National Golf Club.
There are some nice looking golf courses in the world, but I don’t think they can compare to our jewel in east Georgia.
CBS Sports has a complete different pace and style when it comes to The Masters. Fiber optic cables are permanently buried at Augusta to give the network the most pristine pictures of golf and the nearby azaleas.
The early rounds are televised by ESPN, a network known for whiz-bang graphics and fast-paced television geared for the younger crowd. Even the high-tech sports network takes a breath and gives a view of a tournament unlike its other fast-paced sports coverage.
I heard a newscaster say houses in Augusta were renting for upward of $6,000 for the week. If you were thinking about going down to the bank and cashing out before heading to Augusta, I’d think again. Most everything has long been rented and ticket brokers are likely to be asking $2,000 or more for a single day’s badge. Master’s badges (they are not tickets) are the subject of family feuds and divorce proceedings.
When you cross through the gates of Augusta National, the rules of the outside world do not apply. No, you may not use your smartphone. And if it rings, quacks, buzzes or dings, a man wearing a green jacket may take your badge and have you escorted to the gate. The person to whom the badge belongs may find out his ticket to paradise has been permanently revoked.
There are some more throwbacks at Augusta. You can buy a pimento cheese sandwich for $1.50 and a beer for $3. Folks also dress up a tad for The Masters. This is not a place to wear your cleanest dirty shirt.
And by the way, the folks watching the tourney are patrons, not fans or spectators. Jack Whittaker, who used to call the action for CBS was banned from Augusta National for referring to the crowd at the 18th hole as a mob. That happened in 1966 and he was not welcomed back until 1972.
The voice of The Masters these days is Jim Nantz, the showcase host for CBS Sports. Nantz has been hosting the CBS coverage since 1989 and has taken the word “mob” out of his vocabulary, especially when he is on the hallowed grounds at Augusta.
As a longtime Gainesvillian, I am proud our native son, Tommy Aaron, is among the few who have donned the famed winner’s green jacket. On dozens of occasions, I have seen the famous picture of Jack Nicklaus helping him put it on. It never gets old.
Now, I fully realize most Georgia lawns are a far cry from the highly manicured setting of Augusta, as are most golf courses.
There is something wonderful about watching the golf, the patrons and the splendor of The Masters. It is the picture of Georgia that I want the world to see.
Harris Blackwood is a Gainesville resident whose columns appear on the Sunday Life page and on gainesvilletimes.com/harris.