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Golf Australia Express : Issue 30-The Masters
TRADITION HAS SOME kind of smell to it—something tended by the patient hands of time and it’s a perfume that struggles to find universal appeal. It is easy to rebel against the Old Ways— to demand an inquiry into why exactly we should accede to the absurd demands of practices that stretch back into last century, and often beyond. It is not unusual to hear of traditions—and traditional institutions— described with a degree of scorn, viewed with scepticism at best. But there is a place for old ways—the past, as well as the future, is part of the present. The Masters is a competition riddled with tradition. On Tuesday, past winners of the competition gathered for the Champion’s Dinner and ate a meal chosen by last year’s winner, Charl Schwartzel. Following this, throughout the week the Augusta National Golf Club will dictate the event proceedings as it has always done, all the way to Sunday’s podium where the green jacket will again be presented. Tradition will have its way. And that’s a wonderful thing. On it’s own, Augusta would still be a beautiful course. And a competition there would still, no doubt, be something worthy of attention. But it wouldn’t be the Masters. The traditions of the tournament have given birth to a culture IT’S MORE THAN THE COURSE ALONE THAT MAKES THE MASTERS A GREAT TOURNAMENT TO WATCH, WRITES WILL HONE. TRADITION IS NOT A DIRTY WORD with Will Hone IN HONING rich with stories, lives and personality. Gary Player is a case in point. When told that it was a strict tradition that the green jacket should never travel overseas, he apparently said they’d better come to South Africa to get it. Even though he kept the jacket, he had respect for the way things are: he is reported to have never worn it, even in the privacy of his own home. There was also a tradition where caddies at the Masters were black, while the players were always white. Clearly, this has not survived the modern age, as witnessed by Tiger’s domination. Nevertheless, it makes clear that not all traditions are good traditions. You can’t buy a tradition—they cannot be created at will—and those that we observe define our values and measure our success. They change the way we look at ordinary things and wrap their possessions in the fine patina of age. They garner respect, demand attention and rejoice in quirks and ticks that have been carved by the patient hands of time. And they are well observed at The Masters. OTG There is a place for old ways—the past, as well as the future, is part of the present.