I wasn't very happy about missing the cut at the 1994 Masters.
But tuning into the weekend coverage on television, I got to hear
two of the most infamous flourishes of commentary in the game's
history. Calling the play at 17, Gary McCord told the world that
the green was so fast it seemed to be "bikini-waxed." Describing
the difficulty of recovering from long approach shots, he said
there were "body bags" buried behind the green.
I wasn't surprised when, a few months later, the members at
Augusta National banned him from future telecasts. I didn't think
they were right to do it. It's about time to forgive and forget
and let the man return to the booth.
I don't know Gary terribly well, but I've seen a lot more of him
recently because he has excelled on the Senior tour. I believe
he's hurt by the ban, even if he refuses to show it. More
important, the Masters is poorer for Gary's absence. He is one of
golf's top commentators. Some awfully funny things come out from
underneath that bristly handlebar mustache.
The membership at Augusta should understand that he wasn't
criticizing the course. He was only trying to get across how
difficult 17 was playing that day. If someone simply says that
the greens are slick, a person sitting on his sofa won't have
any idea of how fast they are. I didn't take "bikini-waxed"
seriously, and I don't think the members should have, either.
Likewise, if Gary says body bags are behind the green, he
doesn't really mean dead people are lying about back there.
Laughter shouldn't be forbidden at Augusta. Laughter is
happiness. I'm searching for laughter all the time in my
life--that's what keeps you young. There would be much more
laughter at the Masters with Gary McCord back on the air.
Gary Player, 65, is a three-time winner of the Masters.
COLOR PHOTO: DAVID WALBERG