The First Call readers express their sentiments about the traditions and memories of Augusta National and the year's first major championship
> Question of the Week [March 28-April 3]: Augusta National Golf Club and the Masters are chock-full of memories and traditions. What are your favorites?
Just walking the course and taking in the beauty of the place is a great memory. As to the tournament itself, my favorite memory is from 1992. We sat at Amen Corner just behind two older gentlemen when Fred Couples hit his shot onto the bank at the 12th hole and it did not roll back into the water. The two men remarked that in all the years that they sat at that same spot, they had never seen a ball not roll back into the water. I later found out from television replays and reports that no one could remember a ball not rolling back into the water. I will always remember the call by the two older gentlemen.
After growing up in Augusta and attending over 40 “tuna-mints” as we locals called them, I have enough memories to write a book. Since Tiger Woods' potential return is on everyone’s mind right now, I’ll relay an event that I witnessed up close and illustrates one of the things that Woods has had to overcome.
On No. 11, Woods' drive drifted over to the rope line on the right-hand side where I just happened to be standing. His ball was about 3 feet away from me. The gallery was about four deep behind me. Just as Woods got to the top of his swing, a spectator very loudly cleared his throat. Even Woods, with his impeccable club control, couldn’t stop his swing, and with the pond looming left, he bailed right instinctively. I thought Stevie [Williams, Woods' caddie at the time] was going to come into the gallery he was so mad. But Woods took it in stride and just started walking toward his ball. I tried to find a Pinkerton guard, but the person quickly moved away and blended into the gallery on the next hole. I’m sure that this event was not an isolated occurrence and it shows the incredible determination to overcome stupidity that Woods has developed throughout the span of his great career.
Hilton Head, South Carolina
Hands down: Sunday, April 7, 2019. Tiger Woods' final round and win.
Raleigh, North Carolina
Great to read the various submissions to First Call regarding readers' favorite Masters moments. However, I find it sad that one submission centered around an ill-advised, disruptive political protest during the 2002 Masters. So many great moments to celebrate and this is all the individual could come up with? My suggestion to the author is to forget politics for the week, sit back and enjoy arguably the greatest golf tournament of the year at one of the most beautiful venues in the world as it might do wonders for his attitude.
I’ve watched the Masters for many years on TV, but about eight years ago I got to attend. Though it was only for a practice round due to time constraints, being less than 5 feet from Ben Crenshaw as he hit a wedge to about 3 feet of the pin and being part of the crowd that cheered him is my best memory.
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A couple of great TV memories for me are Jack Nicklaus' back-nine of 1986 and Tiger Woods' chip-in on 16, which became the best and cheapest Nike commercial ever with the camera at full zoom on the swoosh logo. Woods' 15th major win with arms raised on 18, Ben Crenshaw sobbing on 18 with [caddie] Carl Jackson patting him on the back, and Greg Norman's collapse to Nick Faldo were all great TV theater. Plus, I got to attend two Monday practice rounds in the early 1990s when you could buy a ticket from an exiting patron for $5, use it to get in and stay all day. How times have changed.
My favorite Masters moment was in 2002 when Martha Burks used the Masters to take on the gender discrimination policy of the Augusta National Golf Club. It took 10 years for ANGC to admit women (two of them), but her actions in 2002 probably hastened their policy change.
There are many that come to mind, some tragic, but here are two — Bubba Watson's improbable shot in his playoff win over Louis Oosthuizen when Louis was sitting in the catbird seat and Hideki Matsuyama’s caddie bowing to the course on the 18th on Sunday. Both lasting moments.
The Par-3 Course! Brings the pros back to where they all began and down to the average golfer level. Provides up close and personal golf for the galleries.
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