News & ToursApril 12, 2008

Sirak: Early-morning Scramble is Pure Comedy

AUGUSTA, Ga. -- One of the classic "Monty Python's Flying Circus" comedy sketches involved the "Ministry of Silly Walks," a delicious creation of John Cleese. What you have at Augusta National on a weekend morning of the Masters is about, oh, roughly a trillion people auditioning for a role in the bit. Let me tell you what it looks like here on a Saturday morning.

The parking lots open at 6 a.m. The gates open at 7 and patrons are allowed on the golf course at 8. So what you have between 7 and 8 is thousands of people waiting on the edge of the course in eager anticipation of claming a prime viewing spot. For the third round. The challenge is this: Running is prohibited at Augusta National.

So when the clock strikes 8 and the security forces indicate it is OK to venture forth, it looks a lot like the race-walking event in the Olympics has commenced. Everyone is hurrying as fast as they can move without running. It's one of the more comical sights you'll see at a sporting event this side of the New York Knicks trying to play defense.

By the way, it's a good thing running is not allowed here. As steep as the hills are--believe me, TV does not do this place justice--and as tight as they cut the fairways, people would be careening out of control and piling up in NASCAR-like heaps. Cue John Cleese, please.

--Ron Sirak

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