If it's not a major championship, or if Tiger's not playing, I don't watch a lot of golf on TV until the final round. Late Sunday afternoon, though, I'm usually pushed back in a recliner listening to Jim Nantz and a lot of British accents tell me about how far that drive traveled or how much this putt is going to break.
Being human, I pull for certain players but mostly I pull for drama. Down the home stretch, where the stakes come into clear focus for the players, where nerves jangle and legs stiffen up and hands go clammy, TV is all over it, with cameras everywhere and commentators hoofing around or experting the heck out of it from a booth.
Television does an excellent job with the game. The commentators know golf and how it feels. If there's something good or awful going on elsewhere on the course, the director pulls you away from the hole where you were watching some guy read a putt and whisks you to where it's happening. And you don't have to stand on your toes and crane your neck to see.
And you get replays.
There is something missing in television golf, though, which explains why thousands choose to walk the course rather than sit at home in the den.
When you're there in person, you get another dimension. You're in it, part of it.
You not only see but you also feel the beauty of the place and you see the demands of the course more clearly.
Many people over the years have told me after their first visit that they were surprised at how hilly the Augusta National course is than what they had judged from television.
Going to a tournament is a bit like going to a concert. You can listen to the music on your electronic device but that's a whole different thing than seeing Springsteen perform.
It's one thing to hear a commentator say Bubba Watson drove the ball 340 yards but standing there watching him do it, hearing the sound, watching the ball rocket into the sky should be experienced in person. You can almost feel the wind.
Being there, too, you're part of the show. You can yell your logo off, whether you yell "Go in the hole" or not. The roar of the galleries is tournament golf's background music.
Either way's good. If you can't be there, you've always got the couch and Roger Maltbie and Gary McCord and David Feherty and them.
You're missing the live show but the beer's cheaper.