For any golf nut, it’s hard to tear yourself away from the television over US Masters weekend.
Before you even see one ball hit, you are mesmerised with the fly-by shot up Magnolia Lane approaching the island garden depicting the tournament’s logo in front of the clubhouse, the mystique of Hogan’s bridge, the beautiful magnolia bushes around Amen Corner, the magnificent azaleas in full bloom and the perfect beds of pine straw lining the pristine fairways.
But the price you pay for four nights of sheer golfing bliss is being bombarded by dozens of ads.
I don’t blame the broadcaster, hell, everyone’s got bills to pay, but the message the advertisers are conveying is in such sharp contrast with the brutal reality once the live broadcast resumes.
Whether they are advertising a club or a ball, the emphasis will always be on the ground-breaking length the manufacturers have come up with.
“Get more distance off the tee”,“raise your game with our biggest driver head ever”, “our space-aged dimples will give you extra length without sacrificing any feel off the club head” and “hit it like a pro with the most technologically
advanced hybrid on offer today”.
They even pay a few big-name pros to drive the ball 400m to try and convince the weekend hacker in front of the TV to buy their clubs.
And they are so nice that they sometimes throw in discounted irons in too if you whip out the five figures for the big dog.
But the sad thing is, on Sunday night it wasn’t the size of Patrick Reed’s driver that won him the green jacket, nor was it the windtunnel profile of his glove or the midsole support of his shoes that did the trick.
None of the fancy stuff whatsoever.
It was just nerves of steel and solid putting.
Yes, the good old flat stick.
The unglamorous club made of seemingly inferior materials than the science lab models taking up the bulk of the space in any golf bag.
But, as always, the trusty old Toyota Corolla parking next to the garage guarding the Porsche and Ferrari is always guaranteed to get you from point A to point B.
At Augusta National on Sunday, Rory McIlroy admits he wasn’t at his best.
But even on his off-day he still had a golden opportunity to chip away at Reed’s three-shot lead to stay in contention until the back nine.
But the Ulsterman, who hits the ball miles, had an ice-cold flat stick and his challenge ended in a whimper.
After not missing a putt from inside seven feet over the first three days, he missed five putts inside 10 feet on the front nine on Sunday.
Had he just drained two or three of them, he could have led after nine holes and would probably still be wearing the green jacket over his shoulders and a big smile on his face.
But he fell so far down the leaderboard that the latest titanium clubs got more air time than Rory for the rest of the broadcast.
And the famous saying is still standing the test of time: drive for show and putt for dough.