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The Global Ambassadors – The Masters

The 2022 Masters

#8 – The Masters: April 2022

Our ability to witness, firsthand, “A tradition unlike any other” was delayed two years so that we would not find ourselves attending, “An unlikely event lacking tradition.” If, as the saying goes, “Good things come to those who wait,” then how long are great things worth waiting for?

Waiting a mere twenty-four months to take in The Masters felt like a chronological Bucket List bargain.

Six of us crashed our eighth event in Augusta for several days heading into Sunday’s final round of the 86th Masters tournament, the most prestigious and scenic of the four major championships in professional golf.

Author’s Note: Yes, six of us attended the final round – amazing how friends found a way to attach themselves to our Bucket List once the concept was deemed a proven a winner!

Founded by legendary golfer Bobby Jones and investment banker Clifford Roberts, Augusta National Golf Club formally opened in January 1933. The Club’s first tournament in 1934, called the “Augusta National Invitation Tournament,” was won by Horton Smith; since 1940 the tournament has simply been known as The Masters, and had taken place each year during the first full week in April except for years 1943-1945 due to World War II.

The global pandemic that was the Coronavirus altered this history and made the 2020 tournament, one postponed until November, “A tradition even more unlike any other.” Further, since the 2021 tournament, which returned to its traditional April timeslot, permitted a greatly reduced number of patrons, we deferred our attending until The Masters restored its historic look and feel.

Because there are twenty ways to qualify for the tournament, The Masters does not have an established field size. But it does routinely offer the smallest and most competitive field in major championship golf for the 2022 tournament the announced field was set at 91, including the gimpy, yet much-ballyhooed Tiger Woods.It was against this amazing backdrop, both literally and figuratively, that we were beyond thrilled to have secured badges to walk the course Sunday for what many believe to be the most extraordinary setting in all of sports. But before we could attend Sunday’s fourth and final round, we had to survive our own early rounds, attempting to stay out of the personal rough Thursday through Saturday.

After convening at the Hartsfield-Jackson airport in Atlanta, four of us found ourselves game planning the next several days over “breakfast” at the Cracker Barrel in Madison, GA. We then completed the 150-mile drive to our rental house, a great spot on a cul-de-sac about two miles from the Augusta National Golf Club.The 2022 Masters

Completing our acclimation over steaks and cocktails at a couple of the nicest places Augusta had to offer, we called it night as the anticipation surrounding Sunday began to grow. Following a leisurely Friday morning we made it a point to visit two of Augusta’s mainstays: Hooters, the restaurant best known for its culinary models and two-time major winner John Daly. An Augusta tradition since 1997 that (thankfully) can’t possibly be like any other, Daly literally sets up shop at the restaurant and sells his personally branded golf products to his beer and chicken wing adoring fans.

Later in the afternoon as we waited for the rest of our party to join us, we returned to the house to watch the completion of round two to see who would make the cut and continue playing over the weekend. To qualify for the final 36 holes, players had to be among the lowest scoring 50, including ties; 52 players met this standard.

The 2022 Masters

We wrapped up the evening with a barbecue and an over-the-back-fence, insurance policy Marco’s pizza delivery as the anticipation surrounding Sunday steadily grew.

Unsurprisingly, Saturday was about golf – but not in Augusta. The crew had arranged for a day on the links at The Reserve Club at Woodside in Aiken, South Carolina, twenty-five miles from Augusta. By day’s end, we were enjoying the first of two private gourmet dinners prepared by Chef Parind Vora. We then called it night as the anticipation surrounding Sunday became palpable. So palpable, in fact, that one of the guests sitting at the next table next to us accurately summed up the evening by stating, “It feels like Christmas eve.”

We awoke Sunday to a very chilly morning which, much to our delight, eventually saw temperatures double to a glorious sunny and 75 degrees by mid-afternoon. Before settling in to see if Scottie Scheffler could hold on to his three-stroke lead, we ventured into the golf shop to buy a wide range of merchandise before heading to get our pictures taken near the clubhouse.

Getting the professional pictures taken was a must given ANGC’s strict adherence to a no camera/phone policy; one punishable by badge forfeiture and a $5,000 fine for having ‘lost’ your badge. Importantly, though, this policy served to enhance the entire experience by compelling patrons to soak up the experience in the moment rather than attempt to do with a selfie stick (or worse) in hand.

Prior to navigating our way to see the first players of the day tee off, we decided to stop first to grab breakfast. Popularly priced concessions allowed the six of us to eat a variety of pimento, egg and other sandwiches for a mere $27. It bears mentioning that this tab could not include beer or cocktails as the final Sunday morning church bells had not yet rung as it was an hour or so from 11:00 AM.

The 2022 MastersAs stunning as Augusta’s foliage looks on TV, it pales in comparison when seeing its azaleas, as well as its pine, dogwood and magnolia trees in person. While Masters attendance is a bit of a mystery, but likely around 35,000, this sentiment about the course’s pristineness and majesty is universal. As we traversed our way across much of the approximate 365-acre club, we saw the best and the worst of what The Masters has to offer. We watched up close and personal an incredible putt by Tiger Woods at 14, as well as an unfathomable final round 64 carded by Rory McIlroy, which tied him for the lowest in Masters history and resulted in a remarkable second place finish. Not to be overlooked was Scheffler’s
bizarre, if not outright laughable (at least to him) four-putt at 18 that secured the win and cemented his legacy.

Although Scheffler may not have needed any help given just how quickly he burst on to the golf scene as evidenced by his meteoric rise to No. 1 in the world over a span of just 45 days, Cam Smith provided all that was needed when he attempted to navigate “Amen Corner.”

Dubbed “Amen Corner” by Sports Illustrated’s Herbert Warren Wind in 1958, the three-hole section comprised of 11, 12, and 13 have all but made it imperative for golfers to say their prayers. Referred to as a 12-stroke, 1,170-yard death trap, Amen Corner routinely strips golfers of their souls. Just ask Smith, whose triple-bogey on the par three 12 th ensured that yet another soul was claimed at Amen Corner, this one all but guaranteeing a Scheffler victory.

And we were there to see it. We were there to see all that The Masters had to offer.

At days end Hideki Matsuyama dutifully presented Scheffler with the green jacket, the tournament’s signature and symbolic prize. Golf has often been described as “A good walk spoiled.” However, we felt strongly that we had been spoiled by a great walk, one lasting twelve hours and just a pitch and run longer than 10 miles.

Final Score: Scottie Scheffler -10, Bucket List +8

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