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"Goff vs. Golf" at the Masters 

Bob Woodward's take on the Masters.

click to enlarge left-field_the-masters.jpg

For four days every April, I get hooked on a televised sporting event called The Masters. The sport in question is "goff." It looks a lot like golf, but according to patrician looking elderly men in green blazers appearing on the Masters television broadcasts, it's "goff."

Masters goff is about wealthy young men playing a golf-like game in front of an extremely well-dressed and polite audience in a fairyland setting known as the Augusta National course.

The Augusta goffcourse with its almost Photoshopped hyper real green grass, magnificent magnolia tree blossoms and birds chirping happily looks and sounds like it was created by Disney Studios.

Almost every image from the Augusta goffcourse is accompanied by a truly bad soundtrack of new-age piano tinkling backed by lush strings. Add in some oh-so-gentile banter between the goffers and the television talking heads (one of them, Nick Faldo, is a British Knight) and you have a very surreal sporting event.

What makes The Masters even cooler is that the television talking heads anoint the new champion days before the event starts. This year Phil Mickelson won the tournament. His win was celebrated by a half-hour homage entitled "Phil at Augusta" that aired on the third day of the tournament. That was followed by a five-minute slavish tribute later during that day's television coverage.

Put it out of your mind that your local newspaper this morning will say somebody named Charl Schwartzel won the tournament. He didn't, Mickleson won easily.

After watching the Masters yet again I decided to put it on my bucket list. I need to see up close how goff differs from golf.

Years ago, I made two pilgrimages to what people call the cradle of the sport called golf - The Royal and Ancient Golf Club in St. Andrews, Scotland where I played several rounds.

Man, compared to what I've seen of the Masters Augusta National course, St. Andrews' Old, New, and Jubilee courses are windswept, scrubby pieces of bad oceanfront property with nothing but gnarly gorse bushes by way of plant life.

And the players I played with there were way, as the Brits say, "down market" from the crowds following The Masters with rapt attention.

Goff has that appeal that makes golf look a bit, well, shabby.

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