The World AM Staff’s Favorite Masters Memory
Story time! With the Masters starting tomorrow, we here at the World AM wanted to share with everyone our favorite Masters Memory. So sit back and enjoy the read. If you have your own favorite Masters Memory, be sure to share it with us on our Facebook Page!
Scott's Favorite Masters Memory
Monday, April 4, 2016
August National, Augusta, GA
There are few moments you never forget. For some it's their first child being born or their wedding day. For me, it’s the day I step foot on Augusta National.
It was a Friday afternoon in my office the week before the tournament and I get the call that there are two tickets for this coming Monday's practice round if I want them.
The first thing I do is call my father who I'd hope would be joining me. An eight hour drive away was not going to get in the way. We meet up in Columbia Sunday evening and wake up first thing in the morning to get in as the gates open. I had one request from my mother and that was to get a picture in front of the clubhouse with my father.
We walk in and are immediately mesmerized. Greener greens than you've ever seen, perfectly manicured flower beds and more delicious sweet tea than you can physically drink. First things first: get that photograph. We were disheartened when we were pointed out the line to get your photo taken. It had to be 250 people long. This could take hours. But, mothers orders, right?
We step in the line and await our turn. In a true stroke of fate, not five minutes of waiting had passed and I hear, "Scott?" being golf whispered. I turn and see my friend Caroline who I went to college with and in fact works for Augusta. We catch up for a few minutes before she asks, "would you like to get your photo taken?".
..is this a trick question? Yes! We hop in her cart and scurry past the throngs of bystanders while I had a grin inside me that I'm sure showed outward inadvertently. We got our photo taken (saving two hours of time) and made our way to the first tee where none other than Jason Day was starting his practice round. It's a memory with my father I'll cherish as long as I live.
Ryan's Favorite Masters Memory
The golf tournament that I look most forward to every year is the Masters. There is just something magical about the event that puts it on a level above any other golf tournament for me. This stems back to my childhood as one thing was almost certain in my house growing up and that was that my dad was going to miss my sister’s birthday almost every year as it fell on Masters and he was going to be there for the event. This was big, but there is definitely one Masters that sticks out to me more than any other that has been played and more than likely will stick out more than any of them in the future as well.
In 1992 I was 10 years old and one of the guys from the group my father always went to the Masters with had something come up at the last minute and I was able to go with my dad for the event. I stayed in a house with my father and a few other adults who all were like kids in a candy store discussing who they were going to follow at the event. Well there was no question in my mind who I was going to follow as I had one golfer I loved to watch swing and play more than anyone else and that was Fred Couples.
I followed him all day on Thursday weaving my way through crowds of people. Being so small I was always able to find a way to the edge of the ropes securing the perfect spot that the adults only dreamed of having. To be honest, I can’t really remember any of the shots that he hit, but when we got back to house that evening I was definitely involved in the storytelling that went on amongst the guys about the event. I could not wait to get back to the venue the next day where everywhere you walked was like walking on the best fairway you ever played golf on.
The next day I was able to repeat this process and followed him all day long and then the truly magical moment happened. I watched him finish the 17th hole and found a way, as I had for two days, to get really close to him as he made his way to the 18th and final hole of the day. At last, I finally gained enough courage to yell out “Go get em Freddie”, which created an eruption of laughter from the crowd about the little squeaky voice from the young kid calling him Freddie.
I will never forget that next moment as Couples turned, looked me right in the eye, smiled and tossed his Maxfli HT-100 balata ball in my direction while causally continuing that famous smooth walk through the ropes. The guy beside me reached out and one hand snagged that thing out of the air like your favorite first baseman before I was able to get my hands on it. Couples stopped in his tracks, turned around, came right over to us and said “Hey man I was trying to give the ball to the kid”. I'm not sure the guy liked it much, but he handed me the ball and Couples winked at me and headed on his way.
I was so excited I didn’t know what to do. I couldn’t wait to find my way back to the group to tell everyone the story. Once I found everyone, the story quickly became highlight for the trip. For everyone that doesn’t know, Fred Couples went on to win the 1992 Masters and he definitely remains my favorite golfer to this day. I get the same question from everyone when telling the story now, “Do you still have the ball?”...That is a firm no as my golden retriever tore that thing into a hundred pieces two weeks after the event, but the 1992 Master will always hold a special place in my heart and is the place where I truly fell in love with the game of golf.
Cory's Favorite Masters Memory
My favorite Masters Memory begins in 2013. If you didn’t already know, I am an alumnus of the University of South Carolina. Because of USC’s close proximity to Augusta (Columbia, SC is about an hour’s drive from Augusta), Augusta National and USC have always had a good relationship with one another. Every year, Augusta opens up temporary positions to USC students for that year’s Masters Tournament. In 2013, my senior year, I was lucky enough to be hired to work at Augusta National.
2013 was a pretty big year for Augusta National. It was the first time they let women be members of the club, accepting Condoleeza Rice and Darla Moore (fun fact: Darla Moore is a USC graduate and USC’s business school is named after her). Augusta National also opened up Berckmans Place for the first time. Berckmans Place, as golf.com put it, “is the ultimate Masters VIP room”. It holds 3 massive restaurants for guests that are members of corporations and capable of affording the hefty $6,000 price tag.
Anyways, I was hired on as a busboy for one of Berckmans Place’s restaurants, Calamity Jane’s Oyster Bar. It was a pretty incredible experience right from the get go. During the first week of training, I was able to walk around the course during our lunch break. Augusta National truly was the most beautiful golf course I had ever seen. It even exceeded my own high expectations. I swear it almost didn’t even look real.
When the week of the Masters came, it simply amazing to see the celebrities that ended up at Calamity Jane’s. Whether it was Lynn Swan, Kate Upton, or Arnold Palmer (who, believe it or not, ordered an Arnold Palmer), Berckmans truly was a place for VIPs. Don’t get me wrong though; it wasn’t all just fun and games. We were working around 14 hours a day and I was driving too and from Columbia each day. It was exhausting but well worth it.
When the tournament actually began, I snuck out on my lunch break the first two days to catch some play. The first day I got to see Sergio Garcia, the leader at the time, play hole 16. The second day I made a point to get to see Amen Corner, specifically Hole 12. My roommates and I had been playing a lot of Tiger Woods Golf recently, and that hole would do to us what it did to Spieth in 2016. So I had to see someone play it. Sure enough, the first golfer I see hits it right into the water. It’s safe to say I was pretty satisfied!
The week was capped off with the spectacular finish in Sudden Death between Adam Scott and Angel Cabrerra. It was truly special watching Scott sink the putt to win and all of Berckmans Place go crazy. It was most certainly an experience that I’ll never forget.