Golf is a game steeped in history and tradition, but like any sport these days, the storylines change quickly. Just ask Jason Sobel, senior golf writer for ESPN.com, who is covering the Masters in Augusta, Ga., this week.
What is your strategy for covering major golf events like the Masters? How do you make sure you’re in the right place at the right time?
I always try to explain to people just how difficult it is to cover professional golf tournaments. Unlike a football or basketball game, where the entirety of the action is right in front of you at all times, golf tournaments are conducted over a couple hundred acres of land. You can’t be everywhere all the time. But part of being good at the job is being able to get into the right place at the right time more often than not.
As your piece on this week’s young golfers to watch shows, Tiger Woods’ impact is still felt even when he is not playing. How challenging is it to recognize that part of the Masters story this year, while maintaining a focus on what’s actually happening on the course?
This is the third time in the last four years that Tiger hasn’t played the Masters – and honestly, it’s become less of a story each time. It was newsworthy when he announced last Friday evening that he wouldn’t play, but while that news would’ve overshadowed the week previously, it’s now just part of a 24-hour news cycle. By the time practice rounds had started, there were many more pertinent stories than Tiger’s absence.
Now that you’ve seen the field of competitors this week, and given the weather forecast, who is your pick for the green jacket on Sunday?
I’ve covered too many golf tournaments to go chalk too often. My pick is Rickie Fowler, who isn’t exactly a dark horse, but is still seeking a first career major championship. People tend to still think of him as that brash young kid who was more hype than hope, but he’s 28 now and ranked in the top-30 this season in driving, ball-striking, chipping and putting. Winning a green jacket would be the culmination of his maturation.