There’s no way to watch Tiger Woods play live at the Masters tomorrow.
He tees off at 10:45 a.m., but live TV coverage on ESPN doesn’t start until 3 p.m.
He won’t be shown online either. Masters.com plans to stream a ton of live golf, but for some reason Tiger’s group isn’t one of the “featured groups” that will be shown live in its entirety online tomorrow.
Masters.com is streaming holes No. 11 through 15 online, so you’ll be able to watch him play those holes live, but that’s it.
Only four golf tournaments a year are truly must-watch events. For most fans, these 16 total rounds are the only rounds that matter.
Tiger Woods is the most important golfer in the world, I should be able to watch him play those 16 rounds.
This isn’t just some dumb oversight either. The Masters chose not to live-stream Tiger’s group last year too. This is a calculated decision to de-emphasise him.
The Masters, more than anything else, is a celebration of old traditions. That’s why food is ridiculously cheap, caddies wear silly jumpsuits, and TV announcers are required to use a goofy, outmoded vocabulary (fans are “patrons”).
Augusta National is a golf Renaissance Fair with a modern sporting event taking place inside of it.
And that leads to inherent conflict.
The people who run the Masters want the star of the tournament to be the tournament itself, but the nature of sports in 2013 (where interest is driven by characters and narratives) means there are players and stories that are bigger than the tournament.
And that’s why we can’t watch Tiger Woods tomorrow.
I love the Masters. But when the traditionalist mission of the tournament means that we can’t watch the best player in the world, it has gone too far.
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