Tom Brokaw's view of Augusta

I look forward each year to receiving the April issue of Golf Digest. The magazine does an excellent job of previewing the Masters Tournament.

The Masters edition arrived earlier this week, and Tom Brokaw's guest essay caught my eye. Brokaw, the former NBC anchorman, came to Augusta National Golf Club last year at the request of Golf Digest to continue its series of "First Impressions" from noted journalists.

Brokaw's essay, in the form of an open letter to Masters and Augusta National Chairman Billy Payne, was mostly effusive in its praise of the tournament and club.

But Brokaw, like so many before him, could not resist the temptation to take a shot at Augusta National's surroundings.

He described the club as "a sovereign nation with its own economy, laws, citizens, and culture tucked away in northeastern Georgia among the strip malls, Jiffy Lubes, Hooters, Waffle Houses and bait shops of Augusta."

Geography lesson aside -- when did Augusta relocate to the northeast? -- I was disappointed that Brokaw would stoop to that low point. Sure, Augusta has plenty of problems, but who cares what businesses line Washington Road outside Augusta National's gates?

Brokaw, who has traveled the world and interviewed virtually every important political figure of the past 40 years, goes to great lengths in the essay to point out all the big events he has attended. The Olympics, Super Bowl, Rose Bowl, Orange Bowl, World Series, Wimbledon and Daytona 500.

Tom, surely you know some of those events have strip malls, Hooters and Waffle Houses in the general vicinity? Heaven forbid if a person wants to get his oil changed, drink a cold one or eat his food scattered, smothered and covered.

Brokaw went on to describe several other moments he experienced at last year's Masters, including seeing Tiger Woods in person for the first time and the awe and wonder that Masters patrons experience on their first trip.

I had almost forgiven him when I got to the penultimate paragraph.

"When I left late Sunday afternoon I thought, I haven't had this much fun in northeast Georgia since I covered that cockfight raid with the state Bureau of Investigation not far from here in 1966."

Shame on you, Tom. That's weak. The next time you come to Augusta, venture off Washington Road and you might find something other than strip malls and chain restaurants.

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Connor Threlkeld
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Connor Threlkeld 03/13/09 - 10:21 am
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Golf Digest posted one

Golf Digest posted one reader's reaction to the column in their Editor's blog:

http://www.golfdigest.com/magazine/blogs/editors/tom_brokaw/index.html 

Austin Rhodes
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Austin Rhodes 03/13/09 - 10:48 am
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Another slam of our city by

Another slam of our city by the "drive by media" (never a better time to call them that)...

We can just add it to the pile with all the rest, I suppose... 

 

John Boyette
23
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John Boyette 03/13/09 - 11:37 am
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Yeah, I just get tired of

Yeah, I just get tired of the same old comments. It used to be the Piggly Wiggly in the shopping center across the street. Now it's strip malls and Waffle Houses. Almost every major sports event has the equivalent. Get over it.

JackBootedThug
0
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JackBootedThug 03/13/09 - 11:44 am
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Maybe, just maybe, if we're

Maybe, just maybe, if we're lucky, since Brokaw didn't like what he saw, he won't come back.

coco rubio
53
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coco rubio 03/13/09 - 12:47 pm
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i love augusta....with that

i love augusta....with that in mind, i can see where some outsiders might get the same impression  as brokaw.....how do you get to the national?  get off I-20 and go up washington road....past the hooters....jiffy lube.....across from "the master's plaza"..... no sidewalks for pedestrians ..... but, go inside the national and it is indeed stunning..... breath taking.....so, it's easy to see that the contrast from inside to the outside is also quite stunning......of course augusta has lots of great places besides the strip malls on washington road....but, it makes for an easy story and is the most obvious thing to mention.....heck, i still trip out on some of these same contrasts in our community.....but, hey.....i guess it's his opinion.....take it for what it's worth...... does this break down simply as left/right drive by media what?   augusta is what it is...... and we'll always have people come down for here a week and leave.... most of us here are here for good...... what are WE doing to make augusta a better place to live?   that's what concerns me more than an outsiders opinion...... for what it's worth....

Austin Rhodes
2970
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Austin Rhodes 03/13/09 - 01:03 pm
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Yankee Stadium...Soldier

Yankee Stadium...Soldier Field...Wrigley Field...Turner Field...

None of them in garden spots.  The city grew up around the course, it developed like medium sized cities develop.  If someone did 3 minutes worth of research, they would know that. 

coco rubio
53
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coco rubio 03/13/09 - 01:33 pm
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new york city -- chicago --

new york city -- chicago -- atlanta -- we are a smallish southern city and that makes it more obvious to an outsider -- i do predict that there will be major changes coming all around the outside of the national -- oh wait, it's already happening along berkman road -- washington road is next -- i love this town!

Rob Pavey
552
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Rob Pavey 03/13/09 - 02:54 pm
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I guess what brokaw is

I guess what brokaw is saying is that we're just like any other mid-sized city next to an interstate. at least he could have said something about our cheap gas prices.

truthteller1
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truthteller1 03/13/09 - 07:15 pm
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Sounds like Tom hit it on

Sounds like Tom hit it on the money!!!

bradwellspy
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bradwellspy 03/13/09 - 09:17 pm
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What's wrong with

What's wrong with Hooters?

What did Mr. Brokaw expect to find in a commercial district that surrounds what once was a nursery? For someone who carries a distinction as a journalist and historian, perhaps he should have done some homework. For someone with such a myopic worldview, his own view of Augusta is ridiculously narrow.

What's next to Yankee Stadium? You wouldn't want to be there after the sun goes down. What's next to Shea Stadium? How bout an endless line of chop shops. Around Fenway? Bars and vendors looking to soak the patrons for even more cash. 

Mr. Brokaw doesn't like the South anyway. Good. He can stay his supercilious, elitist [filtered word] up North. 

wribbs
474
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wribbs 03/14/09 - 06:55 am
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It's funny to me when all

It's funny to me when all these snobs stick their noses up at the South, but they flock here in droves. In a few years Georgia will be the fourth largest state in the union in population. I guess all these strip malls and Hooters around here aren't so bad.

I've been to New York, Southern California, and other places around the country and I can see why people want to live here.

By the way Tom Brokejaw is an idiot.

0
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03/15/09 - 08:22 am
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Even a cub reporter would

Even a cub reporter would have checked to make certain he was in south central Georgia, but Brokaw has never done his homework.  He has parlayed a speech impediment into a tv career. Just what new insight did he bring to the Augusta National?  His "local color" commentary was neither local nor colorful.  Why did he even bother to come here (or did he, really)?

Astrea
0
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Astrea 03/15/09 - 10:54 am
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It sounds too much like

It sounds too much like another article that I wish I could find, that was written years ago that got a lot of press. Way too much alike. So, either he read that article and made up his own based on that or ... Augusta really does look like that to outsiders. Outsiders? Wait...

Either way, he was dead on in a few ways. The National is very much its own sovereign nation. We're just the peasants that they tolerate. Thing is, even in medieval times the peasants were allowed to at least visit the castle every now and then. Ya know. To pick up their scraps. The National's neighbors don't even get that. All we get are our roads shut down and our property taxes tripled for the priveledge of continuing to live where our families have lived for most of our lives. Go figure.

 

SouthernChic
3
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SouthernChic 03/15/09 - 05:21 pm
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Unfortunately, unslightly

Unfortunately, unslightly Augusta is what keeps everyone away 51 weeks of the year!  Maybe our commissioners and planning and zoning officials need to consider this. 

HillGuy
7
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HillGuy 03/16/09 - 03:00 am
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There is certainly a pattern

There is certainly a pattern here and Brokaw is certainly not the first person to notice it: Augusta makes a very underwhelming first impression. One of the most prestigous golf courses in the world can hardly be compared to a baseball stadium or a racetrack. Shame on Augusta for not having some forethought into how the area around the course should be developed... some simple zoning ordinances would have been appropriate.. a sidewalk would be nice.. maybe some trees. Is it really too much to expect for the entry way to the landmark that puts Augusta on the map for the one week out of the year to live up to Augusta's nickname "the Garden City." Instead it reinforces Augusta's other nickname, "Disgusta." Its no wonder that the tourists don't return the other 51 weeks out of the year. Instead of improving the city, people in Augusta would rather just whine about outsiders "bashing" Augusta.

AsItIs
1
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AsItIs 03/18/09 - 02:51 pm
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Methinks Tom was not invited

Methinks Tom was not invited to join the membership of "The National" and his essay is a reflection of his rejection.  Martha Burke hasn't been back lately, either! HA! 

irishgent
22
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irishgent 03/18/09 - 05:10 pm
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What does one expect from a

What does one expect from a liberal!

Partlycloudy420
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Partlycloudy420 03/18/09 - 05:22 pm
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This is nothing new. I think

This is nothing new. I think Bob Costas did an expose' on The Augusta National (I think after Tiger's first win) and talked about strip malls and other businesses along Washington Road. This is just the media's chance to take a shot at Augusta and the South in general. Didn't last year's Golf Digest have a similar article as well, Mr. Boyette? I believe one of the popular golf mags had the same angle on what it's like outside the gates of The National. Hey, the South may not have much going on for itself like Northeast or the West Coast, but I just thank God Georgia is realistic and smart enough to have been a Red State this election year! I don't want Tom Brokaw's patronage here anyway.

N.Augusta
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N.Augusta 03/19/09 - 10:15 am
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Tom Keep your butt out of

Tom Keep your butt out of Augusta,Georgia .  We don't need you or your comments. 

Debster
1
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Debster 03/19/09 - 03:35 pm
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This is my take on it ...

This is my take on it ... The Masters is here one week a year; the rest of the year, we are normal folks living just like everyone else. Who would even attend such an event if it was in the middle of nowhere? Give me a break, Mr. Brokaw. I liked you, but then again, I changed my mind!

SargentMidTown
8
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SargentMidTown 03/20/09 - 07:52 am
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Mayor Deke edified Brokaw's

Mayor Deke edified Brokaw's comment about the Masters Golf course being next to strip malls. Deke said something to the effect ....We have the new Kroger store....Yes the Kroger store is just part of a strip mall. Sometime it is best to remain silent or simply smile and whistle dixie.

SargentMidTown
8
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SargentMidTown 03/20/09 - 07:50 am
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Yes, you are right. I live

Yes, you are right. I live in Harrisburg and it is insulting that street sweepers only come in right before the Masters. Efforts should be make to take care of what we have in Augusta and the people who are stuck here.

bentgrass
0
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bentgrass 03/19/09 - 10:01 pm
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Brokaw was not

Brokaw was not geographically incorrect. His other comments not withstanding, Augusta is in the northeast quadrant of Georgia. The southern part of that quadrant but nevertheless correct.

HillGuy
7
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HillGuy 03/19/09 - 11:41 pm
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Look at the the difference

Look at the the difference between what you find outside Harbortown Golf Course in Hilton Head, which is also in The South and Augusta National. It's like polar opposites! Augusta seems to be interested in improving entranceways to the city.. well this is the biggest entry way into Augusta, that gets the most attention. Would it hurt to beautify it in some way? Plant some trees? Add sidewalks? Attractive street lights? Visitor Signs? This is the only thing Augusta is known for for the most part and its the only time you ever see a large number of tourists flood into Augusta. The city should make the best first impression possible. Show these people that there is more to see in Augusta then just the golf course. This is a huge squandered opportunity for Augusta.

ZenoElia
1
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ZenoElia 03/20/09 - 07:49 am
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At least Brokaw maintained

At least Brokaw maintained his integrity and reported the truth as would be observed by any other 'passer-by'. I only hope I can capitalize on the futility of so many fanatic patrons who flock here annually. It's the least I can do to exploit what I detest for profit.

stillamazed
1488
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stillamazed 03/20/09 - 07:52 am
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You see Hooters and Waffle

You see Hooters and Waffle or Huddle houses almost everywhere you go, so it isn't a big deal. As far as the work on I20 nebreese, it was needed, the exits were unsafe year round and therefore more important than the one week the Masters is here. The opinion of this one man makes no difference  at all and people will still flock here to see the Masters so no harm done........would it be nice if that area were nicer looking? sure it would but regardless people have and always will come for the Masters.

mike.mosley
0
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mike.mosley 03/20/09 - 09:40 pm
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Although I think he could

Although I think he could have said the same thing about any course between here and Myrtle Beach (where some of the best courses in the world reside), I do think that the splender that is the Augusta National is somewhat tainted by it's surroundings. You would think that they would make it a little more eye-friendly! It's the Mecca of golf, and you don't get that until you get inside the gates.

Just my POV.

strom
0
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strom 03/21/09 - 11:51 pm
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Would Mr. Boyette have been

Would Mr. Boyette have been so against the article if his beloved Jim Nantz had said it? Why do sportswriters continue to be obsessed with other media

DodgeD50
0
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DodgeD50 03/28/09 - 08:27 pm
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Brokaw if you don't like it

Brokaw if you don't like it here DELTAS ready when you are. Don't let the doorknob hit' ya were the good Lord split'ya!

zombo09
0
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zombo09 08/30/09 - 06:38 am
0
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I guess what brokaw is

I guess what brokaw is saying is that we're just like any other mid-sized city next to an interstate. at least he could have said something about our cheap gas prices.

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