Golf's most flatulent week is underway at Augusta National.

The fairways and greens will look a picture, hemmed in between azaleas, magnolias, dogwoods and pine straw.

Amen Corner will prove to be hell for some, heaven to others.

The winner will be forced into a weird initiation ritual, being taken into a creepy log cabin in the woods, where, surrounded by men who look like the remnants of a 1950s masonic lodge, he will be forced to wear a horrible, ill-fitting green jacket.


Tiger Woods won't be there.

The field, in fact, will be overwhelmingly white, which is how the club's formative members always envisaged it. Blacks were for caddying and waiting tables.

According to the New York Times, long-time Masters and Augusta National chairman Clifford Roberts once said: "As long as I'm alive, the golfers will be white and the caddies will be black."

Roberts is revered in the world of golf administration and a plaque honours him at Augusta National to this day.

He wasn't quite right though. By the time he walked onto the course and put a gun to his own head in 1977, the Masters was two years removed from allowing its first black golfer, Lee Elder, to compete.

It's not like Elder created a tidal wave of change. It was 1991 before Augusta National admitted its first black member and 2012 before it accepted female members.

(Augusta is not alone in its archaic attitudes towards women. Scotland's Muirfield, the oldest club in the world, just rolled back 273 years of "tradition" to allow women to join, and only did so to regain its place on the Open Championship rotation.)

So what you're looking at when you tune in this weekend will not just be one of the prettiest courses on the planet, but a venue that has been a hotbed for racism, sexism and a few other -isms to boot.


Still, it's all part of golf's hypnotic charm, isn't it? This slavish devotion to time-honoured traditions found few dissenting voices within golf's hallowed halls...

... Yet penalise an unfortunate player four shots for breaking the rules and you can't shut them up.


New Zealand Cricket CEO David White was on the wireless in the weekend painting a rosy picture of the state of the summer sport and the health of the national team.

As he would.

Most curious was an ad-libbed piece near the end when, seemingly unprompted, he extolled the virtues of Mike Hesson, the selector.

"He's a great selector," White said, at greater length, of the New Zealand coach.

Well, using the same intellectual rigour and detailed analysis as White did, let me offer a counterpoint.

No he isn't.

Great coach, one of the best.

Great selector? I'm a long way from being convinced of that.


The canonisation is well underway.
St Kieran of Penrose. It has a ring to it, I guess.


Just when you thought Roger Federer couldn't get any GOATier...


This is six months old, but timeless, fascinating and a little bit haunting, from National Geographic.

This is an interesting roundtable discussion from Toronto Sports Media on sports news v clickbait, among other things.