In an attempt to avoid regurgitating the same old features on course guides, greatest shots, and predicted winners of The Masters, this year I thought I’d provide my personal guide to enjoying the Ultimate Viewing Experience. I’m not talking about airtime fillers like Ken on the Course or Sky’s Shot Centre – no, this is a little more basic – my suggestions on enhancing your four days of viewing from the comfort of your own armchair. The following items will stand you in good stead for the duration…
TV Remote – Looking beyond the obvious prerequisite of a television and the prudent choice of recliner in which to reside for four evenings, one imperative is maintaining a monopoly on use of the remote control. You’ll want the flexibility to flick between the competing coverage while certain pundits regale us with their exasperating dross, but more importantly you’ll want to guarantee absolute control at all times. The last thing you’ll want is an unwelcome break in proceedings when your other half flicks over to ‘Come Dine With Me’ just as the leader has a four footer to save par. A vice like grip at all times is required.
Sustenance – Preparation is obviously key to success here. I won’t venture to tell you what refreshments to opt for but one or two recommendations might influence your choice. For a start, don’t opt for any food that will damage the TV or stain the walls should you choose to throw it. That might sound a little aggressive of the average golf viewer, but should the BBC give Michael Vaughan a second bite of the cherry at interviewing players you may not be able to resist.
In the beverage department, you won’t want to dehydrate but dashing to the bathroom too often will only heighten the chance of missing a key moment or (worst case scenario) losing control of the remote altogether. You’ll also want to factor in stamina to ensure you can go the distance – with roughly 24 hours’ worth of coverage over the four days, The Masters is a marathon for even the most seasoned couch potato. Falling asleep as the players come down ‘the stretch’ would be an elementary blunder, so keep an energy drink or caffeine stimulant to hand for when the going gets tough. Like all athletes, that’s when the preparation really shows.
Couch Potato Exercises – Four evenings on the spin with little more physical activity than the movement of your hand to your mouth is never advisable, so a bit of exercise needs to be considered. The odd walk to the bathroom should cover most of the key muscle groups but perhaps some of those anti-DVT movements you’re supposed to embrace on a long-haul flight might come in handy, too. Wiggle your toes, shake out those legs. Don’t overdo it though, you don’t want to pull a muscle.
Gadgets – One for the techies, here, with their iPads, laptops and mobile phones. Today, having just one technological device in play at any one time just won’t cut it. If you can tear yourself away from Facebook for a second, tuning into Twitter might give you some nuggets ‘straight from the horse’s mouth’ – perhaps an update from Rory on his wisdom tooth or the latest fashion news from Poults. It’s all vital stuff – well OK, maybe it isn’t, but it’s more entertaining than the scoreboard and accompanying musical wallpaper while the host broadcaster takes a break.
These gadgets can also bring your friends into the living room (virtually at least) so you can enjoy sharing opinions and banter as though you’re at the golf club. And if you’re inclined to make a bet or two, there are now a plethora of mobile apps to help you react to any birdie runs, surges up the leaderboard and misguided hunches faster than ever.
Personal Servant – Admittedly, this is a long shot, but asking/persuading/bribing others to fetch the occasional drink could prove a Godsend. The chances are that not everyone in the household will be as enthralled as you are by Lee Westwood’s move to Florida or the swing changes undertaken by Tiger, so persuading others to pop out and put the kettle on might not be the challenge you imagine. Blessed relief, some might call it. Now might also be the time to cash in those chips for having sat through ‘Strictly’ so many times.
War and Peace – Leo Tolstoy’s epic novel might seem an odd accompaniment but bear with me. Ad breaks – for every hour of coverage there seems to be half an hour of mind-numbing commercials. Spread over four days, that’s a lot of wasted time, and you need a distraction or you’ll go loopy. So why not read that book you’ve always been meaning to read? OK, War and Peace might be a stretch but you get the point. Or you could just tweet, bet, eat, drink and chat instead!
Right, that’s my advice done. Enjoy it all, I know I will – I think this year promises to be a classic. Oh, and just for the record: Tiger will win; they’re all ‘Key Holes’, and, for me, Woods’ famous Nike chip on the 16th was the best shot ever.