Memories From Attending The Masters

Haines Falls

April 9, 2022

To state the obvious, I "borrowed" some Getty images for this post. The photos are just too good.

It is Saturday afternoon at 1:30 and I am watching the Masters on at my sister's house in Twilight Park, New York. It is 40 degrees and raining -- not much better than the cloudy and 50 degrees it is in Augusta. Including today, I have spent three days not accomplishing much other than watching the Masters. 80 percent of the time I am ok with that -- the other 20 percent of the time, I am beating back the feeling of being lazy. But watching the Masters is a tradition of mine -- it brings back memories or attending the Masters and reminds me of how lucky I was to be able to do that. I thought I'd capture some of my memories.

  • I remember taking friends to the Masters. Tom, Jeff C., Jeff H., Jack, Gary and Steve -- there may have been others. I remember missing the 1986 Masters due to school but attending in 1987 with Tom weeks before graduating from Darden. Gary and I were there in 1997 when Tiger won for the first time. We were standing at the 18th green when he made his putt to win.

  • I remember the drive from Herndon to Aiken with kids. Those were long drives. I remember stopping in Durham on the drive down for the night. Monday night of the Masters is the NCAA championship game. If my memory is good, I think it was Duke and UNLV.

  • I remember being at a practice round with Catherine, walking down the right hand side of the 15th hole (toward the green). This was before they added the trees on the right-hand side. We heard "Fore!" and ducked but the ball hit her on the top of her back. I don't remember the player's name -- he gave us the ball but Lord knows what happened to it.

  • I remember my mother telling me how she was walking up the fairway of the first hole and Seve's drive landed in one of the many green trash bags on the course.

  • I remember that the trash bags had "please" printed on them -- three PLEASE's per side. I have always wondered if that was in tribute to James Brown, a son of Augusta (actually born in Beech Island, SC). Of course I am kidding but it is a coincidence.

  • They haven't always served chicken breast sandwiches. I remember when.

  • I remember, and I suspect this is still the same, they don't sell beer until noon on Sunday.

  • I remember talking my kids to a practice round -- when it was possible to win four tickets in the lottery. Rainy day but we delighted in watching the players skip balls on #16.

  • I remember the merchandise "tent" being a small walk-up-to-the-counter kind of place. Getting a golf towel and hat was a big deal. I am not sure when consumerism took over but boy has it.

  • I remember Wendy winning the lottery and giving the four tickets to me -- the Harris', Lucian and I went. That must have been 2018? That's the last time I attended the Masters

  • It was 1994 and must have been at the tournament with my mother. It was Sunday and I was walking around the course. Jeff Maggert was the first player out and was playing with a marker. I happened to be near the 13th hole when he holed out from the fairway for an albatross. Few of us saw that.

  • I remember how my mother and the Kisers would swap tickets so that each family could have a day with four tickets.

  • I remember how my mother would carry her "duck stool" to sit on behind the first and eighth greens. We always had to use two safety pins to attach our tickets to our clothes. She always worn something colorful -- and probably green -- to the tournament.

  • I remember when the parking lot was where the practice facility is today.

  • I remember never being quite sure which of several routes was the fastest to Augusta National from my mom's house in Aiken.

  • I remember attending the Masters with my son when he was a freshman at Clemson. We had four tickets for the Monday practice round. I went to Clemson to pick him up on Sunday and we drove to Aiken where we stayed at the Wilcox. We couldn't find anyone to use the two extra tickets but heard at dinner at the Outback that people were buying them for $500 apiece at a vacant gas station on Washington Road in Augusta. I was tired but Lucian insisted. We drove over and I was shocked by how well Lucian negotiated their sale to a man who had a HUGE wad of $100 bills. We only got $800 (it was late in the evening) but that was $800 more than I expected. We spent that money over and over through the years. BTW, the price was higher than usual that year because the Final Four was in Atlanta and the scalpers were expecting folks to drive over from Atlanta for the day.

  • That same year, Lucian and I were both wearing Southern Tide polos. A very drunk fellow took our photo (returning the favor as I had taken a photo of his group). I sent the photo to Southern Tide suggesting they have a photo contest. We won -- I forget but it was something like a $100 gift card.

  • I remember being at the Masters in a hail storm as well as a few days when it was around 90 degrees.

  • My most surreal memory is that I was sitting on the grass on the left hand side of the 15th fairway in the shade under the pine trees. I was wearing something that said Virginia on it. These two men approached me and said they were attending their first Masters and were from Charlottesville. I replied that I had gone to school at UVa and that my father's family was from Greenwood. Looking a bit shocked, they said they had gone to Greenwood High School. I introduced myself as Lucian Fox and I swear they went white. They knew my father and regaled me with how fas he could hit a baseball. That memory still gives me goosebumps.

  • I remember when there was a big hill to the left of the 17th green where we would sit on our rears to watch the action. The hill is gone now.

  • I remember following Curtis Strange on the second nine on Sunday and how he gaged.

  • A very fond memory of being there on Sunday of 1996 with Coach Harris. Greg Norman had a large lead going into the final round but Jeff noted he was not wearing colors that would go well with a green jacket. We followed as Norman folded and Faldo surged. We were at Amen Corner when Faldo took the lead. We had a perfect view of the 11th green and the 12th hole when someone stepped in front of Jeff. In his coach's voice, Jeff said, "You are not going to stand there, are you?" The fellow moved.

  • I remember the Sunday roars, the undulations on the greens and the rolling (meaning up and down) nature of the course. It's quite a drop from the clubhouse down to Amen Corner.

  • I remember walking in by the first fairway and just seeing this expanse of green. It was like walking through the portal at a MLB game but magnified a hundred fold. I remember thinking how it was like being in a golf cathedral.

  • Of course, I remember the day Lucian and I got our photo taken and were interviewed by a reporter for the Augusta Chronicle. And how Jerry Kelly saw us and waved to us from what I remember as being 20 or 30 yards away.

  • I remember how as a kid coming home from the Masters, I would go outside and hit plastic golf balls all around the yard.

  • And I remember the long drives back to Herndon starting after the final round on Sunday. A reasonable person would have taken Monday off, but not me. Makes me cringe to think of how I was chained to my job -- a job I enjoyed but still, I could have taken a day off.

If I have other memories, I'll add them.

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