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There's nothing Augusta National loves more than rules, most of which are tangentially related to the task of "preserving tradition" but are, at heart, arbitrary power plays.
You know, rules for the sake of having rules.
Augusta, for example. limits the amount of live television coverage at the Masters, which is why ESPN's broadcast of Day One didn't begin begin until 3 p.m. ET.
Unfortunately for Bristol, world number one Tiger Woods teed off at 10:45 a.m. and was almost done with his round by the time cameras went live.
In other words, ESPN paid for a day of Master's coverage that basically didn't include the sport's biggest draw.
I don't usually feel bad for the WWL, but man, that sucks.
In a situation like this, you'd normally expect the network execs to throw a tizzy. But when it comes to Augusta, what are the suits going to say?
Are they going to back out? Are they going to demand Augusta lower its rights fees?
Augusta National needs money about as bad as the Pacific needs water, meaning the networks are largely at the club's mercy when it comes to coverage restrictions.
Chairman Billy Payne can spout as much nonsense as he wants about how limiting Masters coverage somehow makes the tournament "a little more special," and the networks have no choice but to nod in agreement—even it means a day without Tiger.