So another Masters comes to an end and the winner is, once again, The Augusta National Golf Course. Okay, so some American called Bubba (no, not that one, Forest Gump was just a film) may claim to have won but it's the magnificent 18 holes that will live on in the memory.
There's just something about the course which you can't find at any other sporting arena in the world. It's hard to put your finger on exactly what the magic ingredient is. Yes it has history but if that's what you're after then Lords is the place for you. The sense of tradition and a touch of class no longer available anywhere else I hear you say. Well Wimbledon would be a safer bet. So it must be awe inspiring size right? Again no, it is effectively a park after all and they're meant to be big, try walking out onto the top tier at The Nou Camp, now that'll get your pulse racing.
I can only come to the conclusion that it's a perfect mix of all three of these factors which result in my enjoyment of the quiet moments of the coverage more than the action. There is no more wonderful experience than watching a camera slowly pan around Amen corner. Birdsong and the rustling of leaves calm the soul whilst your eyes are treated to a view of golden Georgian sunlight caressing rippling water as magnificent magnolia trees cast their shadows across Hogan Bridge. The green hidden away in a pocket of perfectly nurtured nature. You find yourself at peace.
Which is ironic, because frankly as soon as you snap back reality you can only think 'well how the hell are they going to play that?!'.
What draws you even closer to the course is the unrivalled BBC coverage. I recently described Peter Alliss' commentary as being akin to pouring velvet into one's ears. Yes he's getting on a bit now and strays off topic for 80% of the time he's talking but I could listen to his musing on a leaf blowing in the wind for hours. He is to Augusta what David Attenborough is to the Arctic, only by comparison Alliss makes makes Attenborough sound like Jonathan Pearce screaming for a penalty.
Ken Brown also deserves a mention as his Ken on The Course clips bring the viewer right into the fray, highlighting just how incredibly tough it is to not be embarrassed by the course. Ken makes you feel as though he's taken you, a dear friend, out onto the green after one too many pints in the clubhouse and is shyly revealing the secrets of how to master the treacherous conditions. This really serves to make you feel a part of proceedings and gives you a real understanding the intricacies of the play.
The course and the coverage together make for a fascinating, unmissable spectacle as elite humans attempt to conquer, nay, compete with what is undoubtably a wonder of nature.