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Lou Pickney's Online Commentary

Boxed In

Tuesday
April 10, 2012

If you didn't see the dramatic finish this past Sunday to the world's most pretentious golf tournament, The Masters, you missed out on a remarkable shot by Bubba Watson on the second playoff hole. It was a high-angle arc that took the ball out of the woods, pop-fly style. It somehow went up and over the trees and landed on the green, ultimately allowing Watson to two-putt for the Green Jacket. My description of the shot doesn't do it justice, check out this illustration to see exactly how crazy the shot was.

To me, The Masters simultaneously represents what's great and what's worthy of ridicule within the sport of golf. The tournament field is small compared with the other three majors, but once you've won The Masters once, you have a guaranteed spot for life. They encourage those winners who are now past their prime who can't be competitive to not enter, but nevertheless the powers that be in Augusta make a *very* big deal about winning.

It's not just a trophy or a plaque that you get from winning The Masters -- you earn a Green Jacket. It golf's equivalent of the pro wrestling world's Big Gold Belt (the one Ric Flair brought from WCW to the WWF in 1991), a unique prize that stands out as something special.

There is no doubting the snobbishness of the Augusta National Golf Club, which has enough clout and money and stroke with the media to operate, at times, by its own rules. No female members are allowed, despite attempts by many people over the past several years to change the policy. When protestors threatened to boycott sponsors ahead of the 2003 tournament, the powers that be at The Masters opted to make the 2003 tournament a commercial-free event on CBS.

I've been taking Stacy's yellow lab, Clyde, for daily walks over the past couple of weeks. It's to the point now where Clyde knows that he is due for a walk when the afternoon rolls around, and he's smart enough to know that if he stares me down, I will usually get the message. It's a slightly different look than when Clyde needs to go outside and he gives me the same look that my brother Matt's bulldog Titus used to give me when I lived at his place, a long hard stare with unblinking eye contact and the slightest edge of desperation.

After taking Clyde for a walk today, making sure to get home before the sea of kids hits the neighborhood in the 3:00-3:30 p.m. range, I drove over to the nearby Publix to get some Diet Mountain Dew. It would have been easier to drive over to the Dollar General just down the road, particularly since they normally have DMD for ~30 cents less than Publix, but it's a toss-up on if they'll even have any in stock.

Publix is great, a little more expensive than the competition, but usually clean and easy to maneuver through. I grabbed three 2-liter bottles and three 12-packs, which were on sale, and headed to the self-checkout area.

The bottles scanned without trouble. I then scanned the first 12-pack... only to have the system then lock up and say that I needed an attendant to help me. No big deal -- the same thing happens when I buy alcohol at the self-checkout scan area. But there was no attendant there, and I waited and waited... and nothing. Meanwhile, I had people staring at me waiting in line across from me, since me being held up was locking up one of the machines. Sadly, there was nothing I could do about it.

See that yellow triange with the exclamation point? That means you aren't going anywhere until the system is unlocked by a Publix employee.

I finally got out of there with my purchase, but it was an unnecessary inconvenience. Those self-checkout aisles can be quirky and borderline tempermental, and I might have been better off waiting in the "10 Items Or Less" aisle to make my purchase today. Live and learn.


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