NEW YORK ( TheStreet) -- The Masters golf tournament teed off Thursday morning as Dow Jones Industrial Average components Exxon Mobil ( XOM), AT&T ( T) and IBM ( IBM) adorned exclusive billing as the major championship's only sponsors. But in a 12-month period during which the stubbornly traditional Augusta National Golf Club invited its first two female members into the exclusive club and awarded its coveted green jacket to a golfer who started a campaign to use hovercraft golf carts (and plays a pink driver for charity), it still doesn't have a sponsor from the tech-heavy Nasdaq. As the Masters tournament slowly attempts to change its image as a private men's club into a more progressive institution, it should consider adding sponsorship that goes beyond an oil company and the centenarians of the telecom and tech sectors, all of which trade on the second oldest U.S. market index.
Augusta National is adopting 21st century sensibilities, but has yet to embrace sponsorship of a new breed of American innovators. Were they inclined, Apple ( APPL), Google ( GOOG) and Amazon ( AMZN) could bring a fresh edge to the tournament, and benefit from the more than 40 million viewers (consumers) who tune into the sporting event during the weekend.
These companies could improve the user experience of the Masters and reach new audiences unfamiliar with the game. Imagine a Google doodle that lets users play Amen Corner, iPhone's for patrons to make calls from the course or Amazon Prime-sponsored live video streaming of the early rounds of the tournament. Whatever it is, a company traded on the Nasdaq potentially could bring a bigger audience to the Masters and a sport that wants to expand its global footprint. -- Written by Joe Deaux in New York. >Contact by Email. Follow @JoeDeaux