My Road to the Masters

My Road to the Masters 1

“Get off on the last South Carolina exit,” Kathy said. “It’s farther but will save you time.”

Kathy works in the ticket office at the Augusta National Golf Club. She helped me a week ago when my tickets for the Monday practice round didn’t arrive, so yesterday I called again to ask her advice on parking and which exit to take. Kathy could not have been more pleasant.

Tomorrow morning I leave by car for my first Masters. I’ve been watching the tournament since my teens (30 years or so), and I feel like a five-year-old on Christmas Eve.

I’ll leave my home in the Blue Ridge Mountains and head south for Charlotte, where I’ll pick up John Coyne who is flying from New York City.

(John is the author of The Caddie Who Knew Ben Hogan and The Caddie Who Played With Hickory, due out later this month.)

We’ll drive to Columbia, South Carolina, and spend the night. Then on to Augusta early Monday morning.

“Will Tiger be there on Monday?” my wife asked.

“Yeah, I’m sure he will be,” I replied. “He’s not playing this week.”

I told her about the various gates, the parking, the crowds, and talking to Kathy to find out the best way to do things since it’s my first time.

“How does Tiger get there?”

I laughed. “He flies in on his private jet.”

“Where will he stay?”

“He and a lot of the other pros rent homes for the week.”

“Does his caddie fly with him?”

“Steve Williams. Yeah, I’m sure he does sometimes, depending on their schedules. But caddies are responsible for getting themselves to tournaments. They’re independent contractors.”

Her questions made me think about the life of a successful PGA Tour pro. These guys are good, as the saying goes, plus they’ve got it good.

So Tiger will fly in from Orlando, I imagine. He may already be at Augusta. Meanwhile, I’ll drive in — 300 miles — from Virginia. On Monday we’ll be walking the same hallowed golf ground.

I can’t wait.

−The Armchair Golfer

Photo of author
Neil Sagebiel

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