Joined The Augusta Chronicle in 1996 after spending nine years at The Aiken Standard. Served as copy editor, South Carolina bureau chief and Metro Editor before being named Sports Editor in April 2000.
Posted March 13, 2009 11:07 am

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.