Covering 700 Masters
__"*It's the only thing where I've ever had a credential where people would actually kill for that credential."
If today’s ceremony to honor the writers who have covered at least 40 Masters didn’t match Arnie’s press conference yesterday for pure fun, it equaled it in terms of warmth. Augusta National Chairman and former media committee chair Billy Payne presented the Masters Major Achievement Award to fourteen writers and broadcasters who have covered together, for almost tournaments. Among them Golf Digest’s Dan Jenkins (57 Masters), Nick Seitz (43 Masters), Dave Kindred (40 Masters).
Fond memories—or the loss of the ability to remember anything—were the themes of most acceptance remarks. “Those of you will eventually be here as long as some of us have, you won't be able to remember anything except the 15 or 16 that Tiger Woods won,” said Jenkins. Kindred recalled the days when writers worked from a Quonset along the first fairway, a far cry from the well-attended “media center” of today. "If you can writer in a Quonset hut during a rainstorm on a typewriter sitting next to Art Spander ('I talk a bit', Spander acknowledged during his remarks), you can write in anything. Furman Bisher of the Atlanta Constitution re-titled the award an “acknowledgment.” “It’s sort of like the guy you would like to get up in the morning and go out and hand the plaque when delivers your garbaged for the 58th time," said Bisher. “Woody Allen, I think it was, said showing up is 80 percent of success,” echoed Nick Seitz, Golf Digest Editor-at-Large. “If he didn’t say it, he should have.”
In the old days, showing up had special benefits. "Back then [the 1940s] in the tent there was a typewriter and a bottle of whiskey at each seat," said media committee chairman Craig Heatley. "I don't want any requests from the press here for that to be reinstated." Mostly, the recipients were grateful for the chance to cover “the classiest, best, best-organized, all-around finest sports event on earth, in the history of the earth” as Edwin Pope, longtime columnist for Miami Herald put it. “I was going to say, 'It’s about time,'” said Jenkins, “but I’m more moved than that.”
-- Bob Carney