No phones at the Masters: Augusta National keeps focus on golf

Rob Schumacher/USA TODAY Network

No phones at the Masters: Augusta National keeps focus on golf

Masters

No phones at the Masters: Augusta National keeps focus on golf

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AUGUSTA, Ga. – It’s nothing new but it must be a shock to the system for those people who are simply tethered to their devices: cell phones are not allowed at the Masters.

This goes for fans, media, everyone.

It’s just the way it is at Augusta National Golf Club.

“I think that’s something that does set us apart.” Augusta National Chairman Fred S. Ridley said during his annual Wednesday news conference at the spacious press building. “I think our patrons appreciate our cell phone policy.  I know that we have now become an outlier, if not the only outlier in golf, as well, at allowing cell phones.”

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Go to any sport event, and that’s pretty much all you see: Fans holding up their phones to capture pictures or video of the action.

“But I think it’s part of the ambience of the Masters,” Ridley said. “I read Rory’s interview yesterday, Rory McIlroy, and he made some very insightful comments about that. He said it was really nice to be out there on the golf course and not seeing everyone with – looking down at their hand with their cell phone.”

It’s worth noting that Augusta National has banks of stationary phones on the course for people who need to check in at home or need to make a call in an emergency. There are phones down at Amen Corner at the 11th green, near the13th green, by the second fairway and at others spots along the course.

Tiger Woods likes the policy, too

“It’s nice, isn’t it?” Woods said on Tuesday.

He went on to discuss playing at places where phones are allowed.

“As people have learned what is acceptable and not acceptable on the golf course with cell phones, you know, it’s very simple,” Woods said. “We don’t mind you taking pictures. We don’t mind you videoing it while we’re playing. Just please put it on silent. It took a number of years for most people to figure that out, but now it’s not really that bad.”

Probably never going to change

But keeping cell phones out of the Masters is one of the many things that sets this tournament apart.

“I don’t believe that’s a policy that anyone should expect is going to change in the near future, if ever,” Ridley said. “I can’t speak for future chairmen, but speaking for myself, I think we got that right.”

This doesn’t mean you can’t take pictures on Monday, Tuesday and Wednesday of Masters Week.

Kodak disposable camera

Cameras are allowed on the property. You might even spot people using those disposable film cameras, the ones you probably thought they didn’t even make any longer.

Once the tournament starts on Thursday, however, neither phones nor cameras are allowed on site.

“This event is so different and is so unique,” Woods later added. “It’s pure golf. It’s just player and caddie out there playing. … you see some of the greatest golf you’ve ever seen here.”

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