Skip to main content

The Masters IS a Tradition Unlike Any Other

It takes a lot to make me speechless, but to describe what it is like to walk and witness the Final Round of The Masters at Augusta National Golf Course leaves me just that. I can not begin to describe what I saw and witnessed on Sunday. But it is something special, and something I won't ever forget.

High Definition Television with all its clarity and detail doesn't come near the amazement of walking this course in person. The hills, the narrow chute of trees from the 18th tee to the hillier than you imagined 18th fairway and green. The undulations of the greens, the razor thin fairways, how close the patrons sit next to the green or along the fairways. Or even how the pins are tucked into the tiniest and trickiest corner of the green.

It doesn't begin to show the awe and beauty when you come across Amen Corner for the first time. You stand there totally still for five minutes to absorb it all in. The 12th green surrounded by the flowery and colorful blossoms of Azaleas. And then to think how many rounds were jump started by an amazing shot onto the green....or lost to Ray's Creek. You look at the simple beauty of the two stone arch bridges over Ray's Creek. The first leading to the 12th green, the other from the 13th tee to the fairway.

Nor can it capture the sound of a distant roar from 13 when Tiger Woods eagles the Par 5. It doesn't capture the buzz around the 16th green as the echos come rolling through. It can't capture how the silence of the course is broken by the clicking of the hand operated scoreboard with results from distant holes. Or the patron's reaction when they see a shocking score go up....the gasp of a double bogey on 12....or the cheers of an eagle on 8 or 13.

The only way to appreciate all that is Augusta National is to walk the course. Whether it is early in the morning over 15, 17 or 18 hours before the first pairings arrive to these holes. Standing at the 18th tee box...through the chute of trees....up the hill at two massive white as fresh snow bunkers...is something that will give you chills.

The emptiness of these holes early on a Sunday Morning --- with the exception of the many patrons rushing to leave their folding chairs in just the right spot in hope to catch that one dramatic or defining moment that makes the tournament --- is a total contrast to the throngs of people that follow the leaders later that afternoon.

I spent a few hours Sunday sitting across the pond from the 16th green. Watching the reflections of those across the way grow in the late afternoon shadows. Seeing the crosswalks along 15 grow from a trickle of people to a massive wave of humanity scurrying across the fairway to get as close as they can to the action. It's totally amazing to see develop and unfold in front of you. It is still hard to describe and it's even more memorable.

I can tell you I was close enough to hear Fred Couples converse strategy with his caddie. Or that I saw a one competitor's ball land five feet from me and under a magnolia tree on the 5th hole. And then walk up discuss with the gentleman that had a rules ribbon around his arm, and fire an awkward looking punch shot back onto the fairway.

I can tell you that I was on more than a few occasions less than 20 feet from Tiger Woods. That on the 7th tee, I was directly behind him right along the ropes. His drive was a low bullet off a 3 Wood that seemed like it was purposely flying below the radar, almost like a stealth bomber in the Cold War.

Standing behind the 7th tee is one of the best views in Augusta. Looking straight ahead at an uphill fairway and elevated green that is surrounded my numerous pure white bunkers. The backdrop filled with people watching quietly yet intently at the play at hand. Even the massive scoreboard behind the green fits perfectly into play. Oh only to be allowed to bring a camera.

The course changes personality during the final round on Sunday. From the leisurely feel of an early Sunday round that transforms into the intensity of the final hours and holes of the day is amazing to be a part of.

The course and atmosphere at Augusta National is simply amazing. It is everything that has been said about it....better yet it's over a hundred times more. The course is beautiful, magnificent, and has an attractive charm that leaves the most veteran of patrons in awe....or leaving this first timer just about speechless.

Comments

Popular posts from this blog

The Relief Route That Wasn't: The Never Built I-70 Bypass in the Mid-Mon Valley

In June 1963, a small blurb in the Pittsburgh Post-Gazette read that The Westmoreland Engineering Company was awarded a $24,060 bid to study the proposed construction of Interstate 70 in Westmoreland and Washington Counties.  The study was to see what the construction and right-of-way costs "...to modernize the existing highway to Interstate requirements within eight months." (1)  This small, non-attributed, three paragraph article came less than a decade after the completion of a four lane highway that linked the Mid-Mon Valley to the Pennsylvania Turnpike. This would be the start of a 15 year process to upgrade and improve Interstate 70 - a process that ultimately never produced a single foot of new highway.

This is the story, albeit brief, of the I-70 that never came about.

Background:
What is now known as Interstate70 from Washington to New Stanton began as a connecting highway for the region to the Pennsylvania Turnpike.  Known as the "Express Highway", construct…

The Many Failed Plans of Pittsburgh's Wabash Bridge and Tunnel

The December 27, 2004 opening of the Wabash Tunnel ended over 70 years of proposals and speculation for the use of the over 100 year old facility.  The tunnel, which is now a reversible roadway that is an alternative route for rush hour traffic, saw many failed plans during the 20th Century.  These plans included options for mass transit, converted and new bridges for vehicles, and other forms of transportation.

Brief History:
Constructed in 1902-04, the Wabash Bridge and Tunnel was planned and financed by rail mogul, Jay Gould.  Gould began his "Battle of the Wabash" with the established railroads of the city in 1890.  He would finally emerge victorious, but during that struggle, Gould would see many setbacks that would eventually result in the railroad's bankruptcy in 1908.  On October 19, 1903, when the two ends of the bridge were to be joined together over the Monongahela River, the 109' bridge collapsed; killing ten men.  Construction would resume four days later …

A look at Pittsburgh's Saw Mill Run Boulevard

Saw Mill Run Boulevard - Pennsylvania State Route 51 - runs through the narrow Saw Mill Run Valley.  It begins at the intersection of Clairton Road and Provost Road at the City of Pittsburgh Line with Brentwood.  It ends at the West End Circle at the entrance to the West End Bridge.  A four lane highway for its the entire length, Saw Mill Run Boulevard consists of interchanges at the South Portal of the Liberty Tubes and with the Parkway West.  It is an expressway from the Parkway to the West End Circle (West End Bypass).  One of the most well known traffic tie-ups in the Pittsburgh area occurs between Maytide Street and PA 88 (Library Road) which is simply known as 'Maytide and 88.'

History:
Saw Mill Run Boulevard was part of the 1928 Allegheny County 'City Beautiful' bond issue.  The bonds resulted in the creation of Saw Mill Run, Ohio River, Allegheny River and Mosside Boulevards. (1)   After the completion of the Liberty Tunnels in 1924, Downtown Pittsburgh was offic…