Dirty secrets of the Masters: Too many people, too much smell

A huge gallery congregates around the green on 10 as Tiger Woods putts for a par Friday - a few actually got to see him. (Jason Getz / Special to the AJC)

Credit: Jason Getz

Credit: Jason Getz

A huge gallery congregates around the green on 10 as Tiger Woods putts for a par Friday - a few actually got to see him. (Jason Getz / Special to the AJC)

This is a Masters weekend that just may produce some of the more compelling golf in, oh, ever – weather permitting.

How do we know? Well, it is almost equally crowded on both sides of the green ropes. The leaderboard is overflowing with contenders. And the patrons in the gallery are piled five and six deep straining to see what madness their way comes.

“This is really stacked,” Adam Scott said at the end of Friday’s second round. And he could have been speaking about either his competition or his audience.

“I think it's going to be an incredible weekend no matter what happens now,” Scott said. “There are so many great players with a chance.

“As a golf fan, I like it. As a player, I'd rather be like six in front or something.”

As all this drama plays out, just know that if you couldn’t get a badge to be here – either through Augusta National or from some secondary source who goes by the name Slick – don’t feel in the least left out. You have a better view. You will stay dry and clean. And you will not experience the signature smell of Augusta National after a rainy week, unless your big screen is mounted above a cattle feed lot.

In no way should this be interpreted as a complaint – more an observation – but spectatin’ this Masters has been challenging.

Augusta National will release the tax returns of all its members before it lets anyone know how many Masters badges it has sold. Suffice to say, it’s a gracious plenty. And the competition for a decent view of an important golfer is fierce. NBA power forwards have no problem seeing every putt. Everyone else has to scramble.

Headline on the comic web site, The Onion: “Tangled Pulsing Mass of Visors, Polos and Khaki Shorts Lurches Over Hill To Next Masters Hole.” It was only partial satire.

They can’t do anything about the weather around here – not yet, anyway – and the wetness has contributed to some issues you don’t hear about in most Masters essays.

Amen Corner is every bit the slice of heaven it is portrayed to be, a lovely expanse of a couple of terrifying holes. But on the spectators’ side, this rainy year has rendered the walkway a muddy, mucky mess. Bring back long hair and tie-dye, and you’ve got a little Woodstock.

If you don’t think the fringes of the course are treacherous, watch once more the video of the GBI officer sliding into Tiger Woods’ ankle Friday.

And all this moisture has a way of bringing to the surface every dollop of fertilizer used to keep this place so green.

They’ll not mention it on the telecast – oh, how I long to hear Jim Nantz use the phrase, “a smell of cow poop unlike any other” – but there are sections of the course that literally stink. It’s a dirty little secret of the Masters.

All that said, there is nowhere a sportswriter or a golf fan should rather be than here to pay first-hand witness to what just may be, competitively speaking, an ideal Masters.

But never underestimate the benefits of home - a deep couch, an unobstructed view and a plug-in air freshener.

Best to leave it at this: Enjoy the show wherever you may be camped.