The politics of sports
On what other blogge can you find golf coverage from the worst golfer on the WI Department of Revenue golf league (retired)?
We’ve given up the game; it never liked us anyway. Several of our clubs are resting at the bottom of various ponds scattered throughout the greater Madison area. Those little holes are just not big enough!
But we still watch the game on the telly, mainly to catch ever-more infrequent glimpses of Phil. (Strike breast.) In any event, Augusta National has to be the most beautiful 18 holes in America. Love to see the azaleas in bloom and hear the birds chirping. (Now we learn that bird sounds are played on hidden speakers — and that the course imports its pine needles!) Still, surprised David Attenborough isn’t doing green side commentary alongside Dottie Pepper. (Great name!)
They can move the all-star baseball game out of Georgia for alleged voter suppression but just try to move the Masters out of Georgia! (Baseball Commissioner Rob Manfred is a member at Augusta. Hypocrite!) Now THERE is an infrastructure project for Uncle Joe! Think of the truckloads of sand and sod headed toward a blue state on Eisenhower’s interstate highway system! (Not just ordinary sand but snow-white granulated quartz, we learn.) We’re surprised Madison Mayor Satya didn’t make a bid. Yahara Hills could use the business.
So, with all the ginned-up hoo-ha (what other blogge gives you verbiage like that?) over violence against Asians (more evidence of America’s institutional racism, doncha know?), Hideki Matsuyama was just what racially preoccupied CBS and the sports world ordered. Helps that the new champion has a very sweet, unpretentious nature. (He’d never do well at Mar-a-lago!)
Except that Mr. Matsuyama (from Matsuyama, Japan) DID golf with Donald Trump and Japanese P.M. Shinzo Abe in 2017 on the same Japanese course that will host the Olympic golf competition this summer! We knew Japan was crazy for baseball; did not know those crowded islands hold 2,000 golf courses and has its own professional tour! Is it a matter of time before Japan hosts a fifth major? Or takes up pickle ball?
So the story line is this: a Japanese man — the first to win any of the four major golf tournaments — now wears a green jacket in once racist Georgia — alongside guys named Bubba. Wikipedia tells us:
For decades, the club barred membership to African Americans. “As long as I’m alive,” said co-founder Clifford Roberts … “all the golfers will be white and all the caddies will be black.”
Mr. Roberts is dead and so is the old South. On Thursday Augusta National honored an elderly Lee Elder, the first black man to play the Masters — in 1975, 41 years after the founding of the Masters’. Of course, Tiger Woods ate Augusta National for breakfast until his high-speed crash in L.A. a few weeks ago.
Those who see conspiracies in every Republican defeat, pandemic, or moon shot may suspect Xander Schauffele of taking one for the cause. (Let’s pause for a moment and relish that name. “Shaw-fully” stands on its own as an outstanding name. Do the Schauffele shuffle! But kudos to his parents for Xander!)
In any event, Mr. X was poised to spoil the narrative by making birdie after birdie until he did the media gods a favor by dunking his ball in the water (possibly also imported) at Hole #16 and carding a triple bogey. (Blaska’s handicap that would render that a par.)
Sighing the most relief, however, has to be the Masters’ on-premises tailor. He had to be setting his Necchi sewing machine on overdrive to hem in a jacket when it looked like a fellow named Will Zalatoris might make a 19th hole playoff. The first-time major competitor wears a size 28 waist! He could fit inside one of the jacket’s sleeves. Give that man a bratwurst!
In Butler Cabin Jim Nance’s lengthy questions seemed to get Lost in Translation (like that Bill Murray, Scarlett Johanssen movie). Or the Japanese language condenses 30 seconds of English into 3.
Blaska’s Scorecard reads: If Phil couldn’t win we’re happy for Japan.