It's good work if you can get it

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By Richard RoBards

It's not the glamour it may be rumored to be, but covering a golf major is what we do every day - work. Just a little different kind of work.

Can you ever get that far away from that four-letter word?

A semi-weekly newspaper from Kentucky won't turn many heads in the media center at the Masters, but when J.B. qualified in February, I had nothing to lose by asking.

A phone call and subsequent e-mails to a really nice woman by the name of Martha Wallace generated an offer. I could have a press and photo pass for all the practice rounds, or just a press pass for the first two days of the tournament.

It didn't take me but a minute to decide that the practice rounds were where I wanted to be. Why? Because I'd be able to take a camera.

Photos are a big part of the way we chronicle history. I could squeeze someone else onto the course and have a travel partner to boot.

Barry Bertram's tested ability to cross-examine witnesses from his years as Commonwealth's Attorney set him up as a reliable choice. It didn't hurt that Barry and I also share frequent walks in Campbellsville. Walking is something we did a lot of in Augusta.

As the week progressed, the number of journalists seemed to multiply like loaves and fishes.

I'm not sure how many local newspapers were there covering their "favorite son," but we did run into a TV crew from Cedar Rapids, Iowa - the hometown of Zack Johnson.

The crew leader said they weren't in attendance last year for Johnson's victory. Could lightning strike twice? Could J.B. win with his local media at home watching it on TV?

Maybe we'll be the Cedar Rapids crew for next year - covering J.B.'s defense of the title?

Just like the crowds, the media makeup was a worldwide combination of American and foreign journalists. The popularity of golf worldwide, and the fact that the Masters always extends invitations to an internationally sprinkled cadre of players piques a lot of interest.

A BBC radio crew was checking the sound system from its bird's eye perch at No. 15 (with a good look at No. 16, too). The chap testing the transmission gear said the BBC would be doing live radio - not TV. The TV commentators sit in front of TVs and ply their trade without moving from the media center.

But nothing goes entirely as planned.

Working media do get to enjoy some down time. The number of shopping bags from the pro shop indicates we are fans of the event, too. That, and the fact we're doing all we can do to keep the economy moving forward.

The saying: "If you haven't been, you simply have to see it in person," is so true. Television, for all it brings to the table, cannot create in your living room what the golfers are seeing when they're out on the course. That anyone could break par is mind-boggling.

Maybe 3D TV will pop on the scene so that the masses can get a true picture of the elevation gains and drops and the slopes of the greens.

Hardly a blade of grass is out of place. Litter hardly hits the ground before being scooped up.

Even in the bathrooms, workers bark out where someone can find an open urinal. I don't know what you had to have done (or what it pays) to deserve a job like that?

Patrons get the message even without being told. Self-usage of the trash receptacles is at a much higher rate than any right of way in Kentucky. It's unfortunate we don't all act like that all the time.

I don't know who the marketing genius is for the Masters, but they have it down to a science.

If you're not a member of the media and eligible for a free meal from time to time, a sandwich, drink, chips and candy bar will cost no more than 5 bucks.

Pro shop items certainly aren't exorbitant by retail outlet standards, but that little Masters logo will add a few extra dollars to any purchase.

And Augusta seems to bring out the soul searching in me. With family and a few friends who appreciate being brought back a memento, a stroll through the pro shop will cost several thousand yen.

But I'll gladly buy my share of golf hats if J.B. continues to do well.