Chris Johnson

It’s that time again! The world turns its eyes to Georgia for The Masters.

It’s easy to tell it’s again time for the world’s greatest golf tournament — that would be The Masters, by the way, in case you’re like, you know, ignorant or something.

Azaleas are blooming. Deciduous trees have regained their leaves. Three-quarters of Southerners are washing down allergy medicine with Jack Daniels’ Tennessee Honey. And there is so much yellow pollen on my black pickup truck that it looks like a giant rolling Pittsburgh Steeler.

Another way I know it’s time for The Masters — which runs from April 11-13— is that my friend Shane sent me a photo of my favorite golfer over the weekend, a photo that sprung up in his “One year ago” collection. I can tell from the angle of the swing that it’s definitely the golfer with a style all his own. And the pained look on his face tells me this particular shot didn’t go very well. It’s also the look that rarely leaves his face during a round.

My favorite golfer is, of course, me. Of course, I’ve never given myself an autograph because I refuse to be hassled by fans so that I can focus on my game. Then again, I haven’t focused much on my game because that photo is from the last time I played a round. Shane moved to Vegas, and my nearest golf course ceased operations. My right quadricep has also ceased operations.

Yet, I do love golf. I love to play more than I love to watch, but I always make time to watch the majors on TV. I covered a lot of small golf tournaments as a sports writer, and I once followed Greg Norman around Callaway Gardens during a tournament, but I’ve found I have a much better view of the game on television.

So, despite the fact that The Masters is my favorite tournament and takes place right here in Georgia, I’ve never been. Masters tickets are handed down though generations of families like gold bars. Or, you can purchase them for exorbitant prices. I say “you can purchase” because someone like me who argues over the price of a cheeseburger ain’t gonna pony up that kind of cash to attend a golf tournament.

“You mean I get to be crowded by thousands of people while not being able to see? Yeah boy! Count me in!”

To each his own, though. I do think The Masters does something absolutely right for the tournament — they take away your cellphone. Yes, for four days folks walk around with their heads up. You can see their eyes. They don’t bump into trees or other people. They converse … quietly, of course. And if they need to know what the weather is, they look at the sky.

If you could just get rid of every person who screams “Get in the hole!” or “You da man!” incessantly, it’d probably be a relaxing experience.

“Get in the hole!”

“Chill out, Joe. I was just using the bathroom.”

“You da man!”

One of my favorite things about cruising or getting out of the country is putting the cellphone in a drawer and forgetting about it for a few days. These smartphones are amazing devices, and they have great potential for good. Unfortunately, they can be addictive and abused — just like many other such seemingly handy technological advances as television, online shopping and tax evasion.

I’ll be watching The Masters as much as possible this week … on television. And when crunch time comes on Saturday and Sunday, I, too, will put my cellphone away as much as possible.

Some folks do this once a year. They call it The Masters.

I do it once a week. I call it the weekend.

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