From John Patrick:
This is my 37th Masters.
I’ve done them various ways through the years.
In the early years, I was surrounded by numerous radio reporters from across the country, and from around the world. We were mashed together in what was an actual World War II Quonset hut. Complete with a noisy tin roof when it rained, not to mention the trench of water draining out, off the floor. Two men, usually uncomfortably squatting down, posting scores with placards and cards. But it was The Masters.
Then came 1990, and a brand new, sparkling “media building”. For the first few years, I was once again on the outside, looking into the grand arena. It was in the arena where the sportswriters of the day, and the large radio reporters did their jobs, chronicling the day’s play. Those of us, outside the glass, chronicled the play by hitting the phone banks to file our reports. Learning early on in the week, the rhythm of the other reporters fighting for time on the phones.
Then, at some point, and I honestly don’t remember when, my position in the “media building” changed, I was in the arena. Sitting next to the reporters from ESPN radio, ABC radio, WFAN in New York, CNN, CBS radio and more. It was heady stuff, I don’t mind telling you. But soon, friendships developed. All remain friends to this day. Our once a year gatherings allowed us to catch up on comings and goings, kids, birthdays, later grandkids and, now, passings. Slowly through the years, the ranks grew. Two new guys from LA. Atlanta, and more.
Four years ago, we all moved into a new, $65 million media complex. It resembles decks on a luxury cruise ship to me. The familiar friendly faces all had new and fancy “stations”. We laughed, we smiled, we did our jobs and we couldn’t believe the surroundings.
Now, it’s 2021. We’re more than a year into the pandemic. As I entered the media complex this year, I couldn’t help but to be struck by the contrast. Only about a quarter of the usual press contingent has been credentialed. I was prepared for that. What I wasn’t prepared for, was to be the ONLY credentialed member of radio in the building. My friends, my colleagues are not here this year. I’m thankful that through the years I also befriended many of the writers that cover the event, so, there will be some human companionship. But leaning over to make sure Spieth did birdie #5, and that Dustin get bogey #6, or to ask how the family is, will have to wait. Until we can all gather again, to cover one of the great events in all of sports.
This one is nothing like the others. I miss that. I can’t wait until it returns. When my friends are back. When we all feel “whole” again.
But until then, I’ll be here, by myself, in the corner, making sure Spieth birdied #5