The US Masters gets underway in Augusta today with Rory McIlroy and Shane Lowry in the field and many more Irish in the galleries soaking up one of the most atmospheric events in world sport.
It is special because it is timeless. The same white jumpsuits on the caddies, the same iconic image and logo on the flags, the same dye in the water to make it look better and the same camera positions so that every new memory laid down as we watch has a reference point from years gone by.
Some things do change. Women amateur golfers got to play there earlier in the month with Olivia Mehaffy among them and while it does have a history of proudly worn elitism it is making some concessions to the modern world, even in the Deep South.
It’s a hot ticket to attend the Masters. Sunday tickets are available on US secondary ticketing site Viagogo for a little over €4,000 but we did discover yesterday that once you are in the gate the concession prices on food are remarkably cheap.
You can get a Masters Club Sandwich out on the course for only $2.50. A cup of Masters Blend fresh brew coffee can be yours for only $1.50 while later in the day a bottle of Budweiser or Miller will only set you back $4.00.
You won’t see much by way of sponsorship at the tournament over the coming days but it is there and it generates millions for the club. Mercedes Benz, Delta Airlines and IBM are among the limited number of brands that are associated with it but their activations are carefully controlled and as subtle as a wisp of smoke.
The tournament is covered in Ireland exclusively on Sky Sports with live coverage, featuring Paul McGinley as one of the analysts getting underway at 8 pm tonight, Friday and Saturday and one hour earlier on Sunday.
Rory McIlroy takes to the first tee at 1615 this afternoon following Shane Lowry at 1352 and Tiger Woods at 1604.
— Darren Rovell (@darrenrovell) April 8, 2019