Sometimes in sport, we yearn for the legends to make one last push and win a championship not only to see something special, but also to connect with past generations who saw the legends in their prime. The 1986 Masters Tournament would seem to fall into both of those criteria, and as someone who watched it when I was a kid, I certainly had a newfound appreciation and respect for the winner precisely because he won.
There is no denying Jack Nicklaus' place in golf history. He has won the most major golf tournaments of any men's player in history (18) and was runner-up in more than that. However, the luster from Nicklaus' titles had worn off in the years before, having not won a major tournament since 1980 and some people suggesting his talents be better suited for play at the senior level. Moreover, with younger players such as Greg Norman and Seve Ballesteros established and (at least for the first two rounds of the tournament) playing well, Nicklaus' start, while modest, could hardly be considered one that was in the mix for the Masters green jacket on Sunday. Heck, after Saturday's third round, while Nicklaus was four shots off the lead, Norman, Ballesteros, Nick Price and Tom Watson were larger threats to take the championship than Nicklaus.
Sunday came and Nicklaus, who had been playing in the tournament for nearly a quarter century and had won it five times previously, used his knowledge of the course's subtleties to great success. He shot a 65 on the final round, including 30 on the final nine holes, and put pressure on Ballesteros and Norman to keep pace. The former put a shot on the 15th hole into the water and faltered further on the 17th, while Norman put his second shot on the final hole into the gallery, eventually resulting in a bogey and a sixth title for the then-46 year old. This disc, titled "Yes, Sir!" after a famous call from broadcaster Verne Lundquist on a crucial Nicklaus putt on the 17th, features interviews with Nicklaus and his son David (who provides voiceover when the piece needs it), along with Norman, Watson, broadcasters Brent Musberger, Jim Nantz and Ken Venturi. Current golf stars such as Ernie Ells and Tiger Woods also provide their thoughts on how Nicklaus played and their recollections while watching the tournament as boys.
One thing's for sure when you watch Yes, Sir!, and that's the added insight from the participants of the day is much-appreciated, as they share their thoughts on the shots they had to take and their thoughts on each other's play. It does not lift the material up too high, but the added perspective is much appreciated, to be sure. Woods' appearance feels like it is supposed to be a pseudo-Seal of Approval, but honestly, he did not need to be here for this. It felt nice to have the stage set as well for the charge, and the piece also shows us a couple of the recent similar (albeit unsuccessful) runs that older players have made, including Watson's run at the 2009 British Open, which he lost with a missed putt on the last hole.
Overall, Yes, Sir! helps provide some nice nuance for those who might not have been around or flat out missed the run that Jack "The Golden Bear" Nicklaus had in the 1986 Masters. It's not revelatory by any means, and save for a commercial of sorts at the beginning of the piece for the Royal bank of Scotland (Nicklaus' sponsor for almost a decade now), is a straightforward retelling of memories by those near and far to the event, a special one not only in golf but in sports.
Yes, Sir! is presented in 1.78:1 anamorphic widescreen all the way through its 48 minutes, and that includes the footage from the 1986 tournament and other Nicklaus wins, which would normally be in full frame. This stretching is a little jarring when you look at the crowd shots and you can see the seams where this occurs. If you're going to keep the format universal I'd maybe consider window boxing it or something, as it stands this zooming is annoying and unnecessary.
Two-channel Dolby stereo for the disc. Honestly, I am neither surprised nor impressed with the effort, considering that the feature is comprised of interviews and old broadcast footage. All of the sonic action transpires in the front channels, and the rear channels and subwoofer remain dormant throughout. I'd doubt it would be an immersive effort even if it were on Blu-ray, the soundtrack really is what it is.
The only thing are several segments of bonus interview footage (36:32), where many of the names mentioned above (along with Nicklaus' wife Barbara, golf legend Gary Player and writer Rick Reilly(?)) share some additional recollection about the tournament that did not make the final cut of the feature.
Yes, Sir! is a nice stroll back through time at a special moment in sports and golf history. For those familiar with that weekend in 1986 you will not learn too much new material here, and if you have not seen it, any ESPN marathon might be able to do the trick for you. Technically there is not much here to raise a brow, and unless you really want to relive this over and over, it's better left to be skipped more than anything else.