It’s a Masters ad that begins predictably enough with a Jim Nantz voiceover, but then what follows is something you thought you’d never see produced by Augusta National Golf Club.
A tradition unlike any other? How about a Masters promo like no other?
There is a caddie gnome in his white overalls. There is a diverse group of Gen Zers in their Sunday best, happily arriving at a house party. Baby shower? Engagement party? And if you saw just that part, with the sliders and the finger sandwiches and general merrymaking, you might think it was a Super Bowl beer commercial. There are bros hitting balls off backyard mats while the Masters plays on a television that looks old enough to have shown the premier of “Happy Days.”
At one point, the voiceover guy who is not Nantz says that everyone is “bringing their best” to the Masters, including the “crowd.” Wait, they’re not “patrons”? Wasn’t that grounds for getting fired in the past?
The promo is drawing quite the mixed reviews on Slack at Golf Digest. Traditionalists who just want to hear the Masters theme music played over beautiful pictures of Magnolia Lane and Amen Corner and blooming azaleas probably aren’t going to warm up to it much. But that’s obviously not the audience. And to be fair, there is something in there for Boomers, with nanosecond shots of Sarazen, Palmer, Nicklaus and Woods. There’s even a split-second glimpse of Bubba Watson winning. A nod to the LIV Generation? Augusta really did cover all the bases.
This new effort to reach a younger audience will surprise some, but it shouldn’t. The Masters has been the leader of innovation among the majors in almost every area in every era, including being the first to have grandstands, on-course leaderboards and gallery ropes. It was the first tournament to be broadcast in 3D and the first to show on its website every shot from every hole.
Now it’s the first major to put out a “sizzle” video with pork sliders and a guy swinging in a laundromat. The times they are a-changin’.