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So why do I have to listen to Monty for the first hour of Sky’s Masters coverage?

And it’s not because Sky hates you.

There's a reason you've to wait for live coverage of the Masters.
There's a reason you've to wait for live coverage of the Masters.
Image: Gene J. Puskar/AP/Press Association Images

Updated at 12pm.

WE’VE ALL BEEN there. It’s Masters Sunday, you’re excited about seeing which of your favourite golfers will don the famous green jacket and yet — despite coverage starting at 6pm — you don’t see any live golf until 7pm.

This is despite the fact that the first group of Larry Mize and his marker Jeff Knox will have teed off as early as 3.10pm.

Unfortunately, if you’re watching on Sky Sports, that means 60 minutes of Colin Montgomerie explaining how he never won a major in great detail.

But why?

Well, simply put, it’s because the organisers of the Masters want it that way.

TV coverage first started in 1956, with 30 minutes of coverage on Friday and an hour each on Saturday and Sunday. At this stage only holes 15-18 were covered.

1982 brought the next major change — no pun intended — when two hours of live coverage where shown on both the Thursday and Friday, again focusing on the final stretch of holes.

Indeed, for many years, there were no TV cameras at all allowed on the front nine at Augusta National and it is only 13 years ago that live coverage of the final day didn’t start until 9pm when Tiger Woods and Phil Mickelson — in the last group — were already on the back nine.


Tiger and Phil in 2005.

Source: MORRY GASH/AP/Press Association Images

However, in 2002 TV stations were finally allowed show the full 18 holes of the final group as coverage was expanded to 4.5 hours which means there are now 18 hours of live golf, compared to just 2.5 when coverage first started.

This is still less than most other golf tournaments but, to make up for it, TV companies have taken to showing particular sections of the course; either behind a red button or online. That’s why you get the option to watch Amen Corner, holes 15 to 17 or even certain featured groups.

That the members of Augusta National are protective of their golf course is no real surprise, but the law of unintended consequences means you and I have to suffer Monty for sixty minutes.

Of course, we could always change the channel.

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