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A Three-Ring Masters

April 21, 2003
April 21, 2003

Table of Contents
April 21, 2003

Sports Illustrated Bonus Section

A Three-Ring Masters

Hey, kids! Which was your favorite bizarro moment from last
week's very Weir Masters?

This is an article from the April 21, 2003 issue Original Layout

Was it when a man stood up in front of Martha Burk, the feminist
who wants Augusta National to change its men-only membership
policy, with a sign that read MAKE ME DINNER?

Or was it when a Canadian, a lefty and a hockey nut won the
Masters--all in one day? It was a big week for lefties: winner
Mike Weir, third-place finisher Phil Mickelson and Burk, of
course.

Maybe you'd select the moment when a red minivan driving down
Washington Road pulled to a crawl next to a pair of sign-carrying
Burk supporters. The trousered backside of a sixtysomething man
suddenly appeared in the van's open window and the guy ... well,
he expelled gas. It was history's first drive-by tooting. The man
then stuck his face out the window and said, "Excuse me, ladies!"
And they say Southern gentility is dead.

Maybe it was seeing Weir three-putt and immediately get handed $1
million? Or was it knowing that Len Mattiace--who never did putt
his six-footer for double-bogey 6 on the first playoff
hole--became the answer to a trivia question: Who is the first
man in Masters history to shoot a 65, then an X?

Perhaps you thought the most bizarre thing was watching three
days of golf on TV without a single commercial. You needed a
bladder the size of a pony keg to get through it. What did Jim
Nantz do, use a catheter? It wasn't easy on anybody. Thousands
ran from their houses, screaming, "I'll buy anything! Sell me
anything! Just no more azaleas!" And you just knew that
somewhere, there was a guy going, "Honey, I promise I'll get up
and mow the lawn at the next commercial."

Augusta National did allow CBS to run one ad--for First Tee, a
program that teaches inner-city boys and girls "respect, honesty,
courtesy, integrity" through golf. Hopefully, the boys can grow
up and join CEO-loaded, prestigious clubs like Augusta National
and the girls can hear all about it while making the boys'
dinner.

What's amazing is that CBS still didn't find time to cover a
protest that featured an Elvis impersonator ("I'm protesting that
Arnold Palmer calls himself the King," he said), the KKK and a
20-foot-tall inflated pink pig, all of it happening on Saturday
not 100 yards from the network's compound of trailers and
production trucks. Maybe CBS had consulted Iraqi Minister of
Information Saeed al-Sahhaf. Protest? There is no protest going
on!

Too bad. They missed the man in a tux with a sign that read
FORMAL PROTEST, the longhair wearing a T-shirt that read GOLF IS
VILE (hey, tell it to Mattiace), and the woman whose sign read
WOMEN DON'T NEED BALLS TO PLAY.

There were 100 sheriff's cars and a paddy wagon equipped to hold
52 prisoners. Of course Burk's crowd was so small it could've
fitted nicely in a miniature-golf-course castle. You could've
arrested every protester and still had room in the wagon for the
McCaughey septuplets.

Nobody was arrested. In fact there was only one near fight, and
that involved the knucklehead pictured at the top of this page. I
confess this because I believe that if journalists are going to
write about athletes' misadventures, they must write honestly
about their own. Also, it's starting to get out in some
newspapers.

It happened as reporters were asking the one-man KKK protest,
self-proclaimed Imperial Wizard J.J. Harper, a few questions,
such as, "So, when you gonna suit up?" And, "Do you wash it, or
do you have to have it dry-cleaned?" He said he wasn't in uniform
because--are you ready?--"I don't want to be stereotyped."

It was all very funny until I started reading his signs, which
made accusations against women and blacks so hateful that Hermann
Goering would've cringed. One charged that blacks in Georgia
account for 90% of the state's shoplifting.

I asked him to back up the claim. He said he didn't feel the need
to get out a "dictionary" and look it up for me. I insinuated
that his IQ divided by his shoe size would equal one. He
suggested I shut up. I felt my inner Artest rise. I told him I
was glad to have met him, in that you don't often get to see the
depths humans can achieve.

"You want to shake my hand?" he said, offering it.

"No, but I'd like to spit in it," I replied.

"If you do," he said, "they'll have to get the law over here to
pull me off you."

"Pack a lunch, motherf-----," I said, reaching deep into my
clever bag of names, "'cause it'll take you all day."

It went on wittily like that until I left. I know now I was wrong
to confront him, for two reasons: 1) It's unprofessional to let
your emotions affect an interview, and 2) it turns out the guy
holds a concealed-weapon permit.

Of course, 90% of guys like him end up shooting off their own
noses while peering down the barrel to see if the gun is loaded.
How do I know this? Looked it up in a dictionary.

COLOR PHOTO: GARY BOGDON (ELVIS) [COVER INSET] Strange Days in Augusta BY RICK REILLY WHO'S THE KING? Not Arnie, says ElvisCOLOR PHOTO: FRED VUICH (MICKELSON) [COVER INSET] [See caption above] PHIL FOILED Wrong leftyCOLOR PHOTO: JOHN W. MCDONOUGH (BALL) [COVER INSET] [See caption above] DIRTY PLAY No lift, no cleanCOLOR PHOTO: JOHN BIEVER (WOODS) [COVER INSET] [See caption above] TAME TIGER Major mistakesCOLOR PHOTO: GARY BOGDON (DEMONSTRATOR) [COVER INSET] [See caption above] HOOTIE'S ARMY Miffed at MarthaB/W PHOTO: JEFFERY A. SALTER
There was only one near fight during the protests, and that
involved the knucklehead pictured at the top of this page.