Did the Masters Permit Cell Phones?

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By Rory Carroll | AUGUSTA, GEORGIA

If not for the modern clothing styles, photos of the lucky patrons attending the last round of the U.S. Masters on Sunday could be confused with ones from another era since no one will be holding up a smartphone.

Augusta National has strict rules that forbid anyone from taking a phone or camera on to the course, a throwback to the days of spectators who focused solely on the action as opposed to capturing a selfie or tweeting.

Standing in front of the course’s massive manually operated scoreboard along the first fairway, 17-year-old Sanford Satcher said he could enjoy the tournament more without the pressure to document every moment.

“If I had my phone on me right now, I’d feel that I have to snap pictures instead of just evaluating it with my own eyes,” he said. “It makes you value what’s around you and who you are with.”

And it is not just the millennial generation that appreciates the break from technology.

Ramon Zalanea, 69, said he was anxious about leaving his cell phone in his hotel room before coming to the course on Saturday.

“I didn’t think I could live without it,” he said with a laugh. “But now that we’re here, I feel less stress. I can just enjoy the game.”

Zalanea’s son Dennis said being phoneless made him appreciate elements of the serene course he may have otherwise missed, from the chirping birds to the towering pines.

“You’re actually in the moment rather than trying to capture the moment,” he said.

The consequences of being caught with a phone or any other digital device at the Masters are severe – immediate expulsion and a possible lifetime ban from the tournament.

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