Piece of Heaven - The Masters
Monday, April 6, 2015 9:13:37 AM America/North_Dakota/Center
Is there any better week in the year than Masters week? One of the perks with being in the golf business is I have had the honor to attend the Tournament over 15 times. It is always a treat. I have told people if the good Lord told me I only had 3 hours to live and he would take me anywhere, anytime I would go to the hill on the par #3 number 6. The golfers hit their tee shots over your head, walk right by you as they go down the hill to the green, and you have a great view of the par 3 sixteenth and the green on number #15.
Some of my more memorable times at Augusta include:
- Several years ago I got a coveted Club House Pass from my supplier, Spalding. They had 10 of them because co-founder Bobby Jones played Spalding clubs. This gave me access to everywhere, even the player’s locker room. One day there was a rain delay and everyone scrambled into the clubhouse. I excused myself to use the restroom and almost fainted when I turned from the urinal to see Jack Nicklaus at the next urinal over. I was proud of the fact I didn’t ask for an autograph or shake his hand.
- One year I got a real treat by getting an inside tour of Augusta National from Sammy, a 40 year employee at the club. He took me by Eisenhower cabin, (where Ike would watch the tourney from his porch) and he even took me to the spot where co-founder Cliff Roberts was found on the par 3 course after he tragically shot himself.
- Everyone from the security guards to the attendants are incredibly friendly, until you break a rule. Then they are on you quickly. I have watched a Fortune 500 CEO lose his clubhouse pass forever because he used his cell phone in the dining hall. I had my cell phone taken away when I was doing a live radio report, and I was in a phone booth behind Amen Corner at the time.
- My first visit to the Tournament was 1987, the year after Jack made his incredible comeback. I wasn’t expecting anything close to that excitement. Of course, a local kid who snuck under the course fence as a boy changed that around. I was standing 30 feet from Larry Mize when he chipped in from an impossible spot to beat Greg Norman in a playoff. It felt like the entire course was going to explode when the local boy one. Truly an amazing day.
- A ticket to the Masters has been called the toughest ticket in sports. While the allowable patrons have increased considerably since the 80’s, prices have not. You can easily get a sandwich, chips and a beer and get change back from your $10. They are efficient and friendly serving thousands with virtually no wait. As for the tickets, I was offered $1,000 for just the Sunday ticket when Tiger was way ahead. I passed.
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