AUGUSTA, GEORGIA – The Masters is everything – and more – anyone could want from a golf tournament.
Unless you are attached to your cell phone.
If you’ve been to The Masters, you know. Tank tops would be more welcome at Augusta National than cell phones.
If getting a Masters badge is one of the hardest things to do in sports, sneaking a cell phone into Thme Masters – it would be quite a challenge — is the easiest way to get asked to leave and never come back.
That’s a good thing.
An inconvenient thing.
But a good thing.
And it’s not changing any time soon.
Chairman Billy Payne was asked Wednesday if there is any chance that Augusta National will loosen its ban on cell phones. It is 2017, after all, and a generation has grown up with their cell phones almost permanently attached to them.
“You’ll have to ask the next chairman. That’s not going to change while I’m chairman,” said Payne, who hasn’t offered any hints as to how long he intends to keep his chairmanship.
Can the chairman explain why he is so intent on keeping cell phones outside the gates of Augusta National?
“Not really,” Payne said. “I just don’t think it’s appropriate, and the noise is an irritation to not only players, the dialing, the conversation, it’s a distraction and that’s the way we’ve chosen to deal with it.”
Not having cell phones at Augusta National makes it difficult to coordinate with friends you may be trying to meet there but it brings back the art of actual conversation. People talk to each other instead of staring into their phones.
It maintains a level of suspense when a hole opens on the big white scoreboards around the course. If patrons had their cell phones, they would already know the scores before they were posted.
Birds tweet at Augusta National. Not the patrons.
And it’s going to stay that way.