It’s the first day of the Masters, Tiger Woods is back on the green, and everyone is asking: How has your work day been?
Across social media, golf fans are celebrating one of the sport’s biggest tournaments (along with the opening day of Major League Baseball) with jokes about their productive days “in the office” and trying to focus on work.
The prepandemic ritual of taking an extra-long lunch break at a bar near the office to catch the tournament’s first and second days has changed. The new normal — which, for a lot of people, still means working from home — allows for keeping one screen open on emails and another one open on Augusta National and Woods’s stunning return from a car crash. But even those in offices are splitting their screens.
For some, catching the Masters was about proper planning.
Jonathan Galan is one of the many fans who, before the pandemic, tuned in to live coverage of the tournament only on Saturday and Sunday. But now, with the flexibility of working from home, Galan, a recreational golfer who celebrates Masters week by wearing a green hat and customized green shirt, is able to watch the tournament’s first day.
“I have been watching coverage since Monday, to be honest with you,” Galan, 34, who works in pharmaceutical sales, said. He has two work screens running; a third — his personal laptop — has been streaming the tournament. (The television would be too distracting.) He has been strategic in some ways. “I made sure to block out ‘no meetings’ on Tuesday when Tiger made his announcement” that he expected to play in the Masters, Galan said.
He is still getting his work done, he said, thanks in part to years of practice of working from home (not to mention those before years of working amid office chaos and chatter). The soothing soundtrack of the commentators doesn’t hurt, either. “With golf, at least for me, you can just listen to the announcers, listen to the shot, and it’s like music to my ears,” he said.
J.T. Pastor had the Masters marked on his calendar before murmurs of Woods’s return, he said. “If Tiger plays well, this would be one of the bigger moments in sports history,” Pastor said.
Pastor, 28, who works in private equity, said he front-loaded his week “to make sure my Thursday was pretty light.” He has had meetings with the tournament on mute in the background. He said it was not unlike people listening to podcasts or music while they work. “My distraction happens to be the Masters,” he said.
But a return to office has not stopped legions of golf fans from tuning in, either. With the college basketball season wrapped up, Eric Nelson, the women’s basketball coach at Dickinson State, in North Dakota, is working on recruiting and outreach. But instead of watch game tapes of recruits, he is watching dozens of golfers competing for the coveted green jacket. “You make your own schedule a little bit, but knowing that not a lot of work would get done,” Nelson said of Thursday and Friday.
In Calgary, Alberta, Andrew Cunningham, 44, has been balancing his duties as a director of marketing and media with watching the Masters. He has been productive on a technical side, he said, by making all the calls and connections he has needed to make. “But on an artistic side, not so much,” he added with a laugh, explaining that he is the lead writer on his team, and, well, he’s not getting much writing done.
Fortunately, he is not pressed against a deadline.
“It will create a bit of a crunch Monday and Tuesday,” he said. “But for today and tomorrow, I can breathe.”
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