For time immemorial, CBS’s Masters theme music has been a song called “The Masters Theme Music,” or, “You Know, the Masters Song, No I Don’t Know What the It’s Called and God Stop Asking Me, Doug.”
As it happens, this song bears an actual title, which is “Augusta.” It also has an actual composer, who is a man named Dave Loggins. And if that name just triggered an endorphin fire in the brain-storage unit reserved for Golf-Adjacent Songs of the Very Early 1980s, you’re alright: Dave is the third cousin of Kenny Loggins, the maple syrup-voiced and impeccably groomed beardsmith who provided the “Caddyshack” theme song, “I’m Alright,” as well as music for the decade’s most iconic films about Tomcat dogfights and underworld arm wrestling. Basically, if you were an adult Caucasian male between 1980-1987, your favorite song was probably written by a Loggins.
And even if not — maybe you were a “Rock Me Amadeus” kind of guy, whatever — how weird is this? Two Logginses, each with his own iconic golf-ish track, in the same epoch. How did these guys get here? And more importantly, how do they stack up against each other? Here, for the first time, we invent AND promptly end an All-Loggins Cage Match, a Golf Song Rumble in the Impeccably Landscaped Environs of an Affluent Golf Club. Wipe on the beard oil and let’s do this:
First, please re-familiarize yourself with the songs. Here is “Augusta” on repeat for a hot solid hour, which will be helpful if you’re spending the afternoon in a float tank.
And here’s “I’m Alright,” which your dad had on 45 until your mom got fed up and Marie Kondo’d the basement.
WHERE THEY CAME FROM
“Augusta” was born on Augusta National’s 14th hole in during the 1981 Masters, where Dave was hanging out with an attorney friend named Ken Chance. So moved by the luxurious landscape, Dave began composing his adult lullaby right on the spot. But he didn’t actually finish the track until shortly before the Masters in 1982, when Chance, conveniently, introduced him to a CBS golf producer. The rest, as they say, is downy feathered history. As for Kenny, “I’m Alright” was written on a day when he was feeling pretty good. Edge: Dave. The man wrote a Masters song at the Masters, for God’s sake. That’s like Bruce scrawling “Born to Run” on a Texaco road map while speeding away from actual Jersey.
You probably know the lyrics to “I’m Alright,” which more or less center on the protagonist’s deeply held conviction that he is, all things considered, in pretty good shape. But you may not know that in addition to writing the lilting forest-fairy melody, Dave also penned lyrics for “Augusta,” like a lot of lyrics, like waaaaaaay too many lyrics, and we are going to post them here anyway, because you need to see this:
Well it’s springtime in the valley on Magnolia Lane
It’s the Augusta National and the master of the game
Who’ll wear that green coat on Sunday afternoon?
Who’ll walk the 18th fairway singing this tune?
Augusta, your dogwoods and pines
They play on my mind like a song
Augusta, it’s you that I love
And it’s you that I’ll miss when I’m gone.
Right. So, obviously not great, but accessible and efficient and OH SWEET MOSES NO THERE’S MORE
It’s Watson, Byron Nelson, Demaret, Player and Snead.
It’s Amen Corner and it’s Hogan’s perfect swing
It’s Sarazen’s double eagle at the 15th in ‘35
And the spirit of Clifford Roberts that keeps it alive
Augusta, it’s you that I love
And it’s you that I miss when I’m gone
It’s the legions of Arnie’s Army and the Golden Bear’s throngs
And the wooden-shafted legend of Bobby Jones.
In summary, let’s just say this is the most boring possible context for the phrase “wooden-shafted legend.” In recent years, Loggins has amended the lyrics to include references to Phil Mickelson and Tiger Woods, since we’re talking about wooden-shafted legends amirite folks (chews cigar) (flickers mustache)
Edge: Kenny. How am I supposed to be lulled into barely conscious springtime somnolence when all I can hear is Dave Loggins singing about shafts.
TOUGH ONE. The Downy-fresh tones of “Augusta” have been lulling dads to sleep on davenports for like 35 years, and we mean that as a positive. (I’ve had that hour-long YouTube link on while writing for an hour, and I’ve fallen asleep four times, gloriously.) As pleasantly hokey sports-song accompaniments go, “Augusta” has but one rival. THAT SAID, let’s be honest, you’ve been humming “I’m Alright” since you started reading this, because it’s not just one earworm but contains like SIX PARTS that vac-u-suck themselves to your head dipdipdipdipdipdipdipdip.
Edge: Ken Loggins, human hook machine.
Also a tough one. The Masters and “Augusta” have achieved the perfectly symbiotic song-and-event relationship generally associated with this and this and definitely this. But when you think of golf movies, what else comes up besides “Caddyshack”? The Kevin Costner movie? The thing where the Fresh Prince was a ghost from the space-past or whatever? It’s just “Caddyshack,” and “Caddyshack” has one song.
Edge: Dave. The man wrote the “Real American” of golf. Respect.
VERDICT: WHO IS THE DOMINANT LOGGINS?
How does a man measure success? The accumulation of his treasure? The richness of his experience? His ripple-effect impact on the shared sea of experience in that is the human condition? Because Dave’s really pulling for Option C. “Dear God,” he told Deadspin, “this thing is all over the planet … As much as I love Kenny, I don’t think I would trade.” By most accounts, the song didn’t make him much money. But it did forever attach him to something he loves, something he can share with others, and that’s something that, no matter how many snarky internet stories are written, can never be taken from him. Then again, Kenny wrote f**king “Danger Zone.”