Tom Brokaw on the Masters
Your letters continually surprise me. This one, about Tom Brokaw's Masters essay in the April issue, a case in point.
If personal maturation consists of a series of disillusionments, I am more mature after reading Tom Brokaw's essay about the Master's. My disillusionment is with Brokaw. His tone toward the management of Augusta National is condesending, peevish, and hostile. I spent many paragraphs wondering what Brokaw's problem with Agusta National is. Was the source of his ungraciousness revealed, toward the end of the essay, in the anecdote from his youth in which he acted on his, even then, large and inappropriate sense of entitlement? This sense of entitlement tells me that Brokaw does not appreciate this tournament's essence: a test of skill among champion golfers. Galleries and TV coverage, big or small, is beside the point. It's like a very large, high caliber local golf club championship. Augusta National is one of the few clubs which can mount such a relatively commercial-free contest. I say thank goodness for Augusta National. I say any degree of opportunity to view or otherwise be in on the proceedings is a privilege. Brokaw is not pleased or appreciative. His appreciation is limited to the spectacle. He does not think Augusta National should be in control. He thinks the spectators [with a mind set like his] should be in control. I want the editors of Golf Digest to lead the way toward an increased popularity of golf. Printing essays by popular men who miss the point of this tournament, and perhaps golf, is not helpful.
Steven Hansen, Charlevoix MI
Tom Brokaw doesn't need me to defend him, so I won't. I will say, though, that the whole point of inviting gifted commentators to the Masters--and Golf Digest tries to do this every year--is so that our readers might see the tournament anew from an outsider's eyes, albeit an outsider with incredible reporting and writing skills. I didn't get the sense that Tom was peevish, but you did. To my mind, though, having Tom Brokaw write about our sport can only be good for it.