What it means to me
This marks the 15th anniversary since I was fortunate enough to acquire the hardest ticket in sports. If you guessed the Super Bowl, Kentucky Derby or the World Series you were wrong – it is the Masters Tournament. Only second to my experience of being on the sidelines during an Ohio State-Michigan football game, the Masters is definitely something that every avid golfer should be able to encounter once in their lifetime.
I was only privileged enough to have tickets for Wednesday’s Par 3 contest and Thursday’s and Friday’s round courtesy the fine folks at Grafalloy. I will in no way ever complain about watching Sunday’s coverage of the final round and eventually see Bernard Langer don the Green Jacket from the comfy confines of my living room. No, it only heightens the memories each and every year since.
Aside from the anticipation of who might win the first major or the year to the unbelievably talented playing field from all corners of the world, there is a sense of much more than that. After all, how many courses do people know specific holes in such great detail as the long, windy 10th, the stretch from holes #11-13 (Amen Corner) to the hallowed 18th?
Watching on TV, I am sure even a 60” HDTV, does not even come close to doing the course justice. Literally there is a golf tournament being played in a park-like or arboretum setting. The course was in such immaculate shape it is quite impossible to explain. The course was devoid of any rough as I had seen before. That is the part of the course that was considered rough (because technically it was not the fairway) would be like hitting from the center of a fairway on our home course. You also couldn’t avoid stimulating your senses with all the vivid colors and smells from the blooming foliage.
The TV also flattens the course out as it is more elevated that one would ever image. You better be in shape for that long stroll up the famous 18th. The best place to view? That is a tough call. But the area between the 15th and 16th was filled with a lot of excitement. If you are fortunate to go, make sure to walk the whole course to appreciate the other beautiful holes that may not receive as much air time.
On top of my experience, I got to play a quick 18 on the nearby Augusta Municipal Golf Course. In another 20 years I hopefully will not have a Hillary Clinton moment and embellish the facts that I played on the course that hosts the Masters (that would be Augusta National Golf Club for the record).