Every year, the Masters produces the most polished event in golf, if not in all of sports.
Which makes you wonder: What if Augusta National was also in charge of…
The Academy Awards
Red carpet sped up to 14 on the Stimpmeter; photography banned. Leggy, statuette-toting models replaced by burly Pinkerton guards, charged with enforcing new "30 seconds or less, or else" acceptance-speech policy. Host Jim Nantz returns from commercial breaks by intoning, "Hello, A-listers." "Actors" and "actresses" now referred to exclusively as "thespians." Julia Roberts wears glamorous moisture-wicking Ashworth vest. Somber "In Memoriam" montage salutes Tiger's deceased short game.
Jack Nicklaus, Arnold Palmer and Gary Player made honorary greeters. New shoppers only admitted after older ones pass on. Price rollbacks discussed, then discarded in favor of bigger stores, prompting complaints from shorter-legged customers. Complaint department staffed by burly Pinkerton guards. Prices stay the same. Electronics aisle rebranded "Magnavox Lane."
Major League Baseball
Ball boys trade uniforms for white jump-suits. To improve quality and shrink field size, Tampa Bay Rays and Colorado Rockies disbanded. (New York Mets' past-champion exemption runs out.) Aging mascots Philly Phanatic and Wally the Green Monster forced to retire. Distance between bases expanded five feet every few years. "No running" decree causes stolen bases to plummet.
The Environmental Protection Agency
Rising sea levels battled via state-of-the-art SubAir drainage system. Beach erosian solved, as coastal sand is replaced by grains of dazzling white feldspar. Four-million-square-mile Masters umbrella installed over Lower 48 to combat global warming. (Also, "global warming" referred to as "comprehensive thaw trend.") Prerecorded audio of birdsongs piped into forests where golden-cheeked warbler population is declining.
Prices slashed by 75 percent across the board. Just four minutes of wait time for every hour of action at the drive-thru window. Dozing off at tables forbidden. Seattle headquarters hosts first-annual "Champions Coffee Klatch." Special "Tea-Party Play Areas" encourage more young-person interest in hot beverages. Porcelain mugs out, crystal goblets in. Gift cards replaced by gigantic novelty checks. New pimento-cheese Frappuccino an acquired taste.