The daughter of golf writer Scott Hanson would love Augusta National because she loves rules and it's all about rules.
Editor’s note: Times golf writer Scott Hanson is covering the Masters as part of our coverage leading up to the U.S. Open, which will be played June 18-21 at Chambers Bay in University Place.
It’s Day 6 of my trip.
I know that because my 7-year-old daughter wrapped eight presents for me, each with a number to correspond with the day. Day 4, for instance, was some moist wipes (a good call knowing my penchant for spilling food on myself). Day 2 was pens. She knows I can never have enough pens. This morning’s present was a card, with a picture of her she had pasted inside telling me to hurry home. She did the same thing when I traveled to last year’s U.S. Open, so I knew it might be coming but it made me really miss her all the same.
She took my leaving pretty hard and she won’t watch the tournament because she says it would make her sad. I told her before I left she could call me anytime she wanted, and a couple of times when I have been in the media center she has done so. The grizzled reporters nearby look at me funny when I start talking about Elsa dolls (I can’t get away from “Frozen,” not even here) and Junie B. Jones books.
Elizabeth would really like Augusta National because she loves rules and this place is all about rules. Like yesterday, when I grabbed a cookie on the way out to the course. I was stopped at the doorway. No food can leave the building. Water is OK, but not food.
On the course, if you walk too fast, or step one stride where you aren’t supposed to, a security person materializes, informing you of your transgression. Nothing goes unnoticed. And there is no need for a course marshal to put up a ridiculous sign that reads “Quiet” before a player hits, because the penalty is the loss of your Masters badge and one limb (at least I think that’s right).
I am not complaining. The rules make it a more pleasant experience for everyone. You don’t have to worry about the guy next to you having his cellphone go off before a player hits, and then pointing at him so you’re not blamed. So if I have to eat my cookies inside, it’s a small price to pay.
But there is one rule that confounds me. There are signs outside the course that say reselling tickets within 2,700 feet of the site is a violation and it’s strictly enforced. But why 2,700 feet? Why was that the magic number instead of 2,389 or 3,030? It just seems random. So, what happens if you paced it out but were a foot short and sold it 2,699 feet away? Trust me, you don’t want to find out.