With no patrons allowed on the course for this unusual November Masters tournament because of the coronavirus pandemic, first-time visitors to Augusta National Golf Club must be a rare sight indeed.
But there is one prominent first-timer that is definitely drawing a huge amount of attention: ESPN will televise its “College GameDay” show from the Masters on Saturday morning.
The show will be televised from a stage set up on Augusta National’s Par-3 course, far enough away from the main course not to be a distraction but close enough to give the feel and presence of golf’s most prestigious tournament.
The tournament’s unusual intrusion into college football’s time of the year led to a marriage of the two sports.
“This is the one silver lining of 2020,” ESPN college football analyst Kirk Herbstreit said. “This is going to be a historic moment for the show.”
Aside from its many stops on college campuses since its inception in 1987 at schools like LSU and venues like the Mercedes-Benz Superdome, the show has also taken its act to Broadway and Walt Disney World’s Magic Kingdom among many others. So in that vein, a visit to Augusta National fits right in.
“One of the strengths of this show is the ability to capture the unique opportunities of different venues, whether it be an aircraft carrier before I was on the show or Times Square when I was on the show, and now (Augusta),” host Rece Davis said.
Davis said doing the show at the Masters has to be an all-time highlight.
“In terms of pure venue, there are a lot of great ones,” Davis said. “But this is, hopefully because we want things to return to normal, this will be the only opportunity to have a college football show while the Masters is going on. Because of the nature of that, it would have to go to the top of the list.”
“College GameDay” icon Lee Corso won’t be in Augusta, doing the show as he has been this season poolside from his home in Florida.
“I haven’t seen it yet,” Davis said of Corso’s set up for the show, “but it will be proper for the occasion and the event, we’ll put it that way.”