Masters notebook: Behind the scenes on the final day at Augusta
Last Updated: 13/04/15 7:52am
Golf editor Keith Jackson reflects on the final day of the 2015 Masters and gets prepared to tackle Augusta National.
The greatest walk to work
After the euphoria of yesterday, it was back to business as usual today although it was still tough to rid myself of the smug expression that had adorned my face since finding out I would be playing Augusta National on Monday.
Every morning this week, the shuttle from the hotel has dropped us off at the TV compound, from where I have a 10-minute walk to the media centre.
The walk takes me through a few broadcast trucks before I chuck a left and enter the serenity of the par-three course. The vast expanse of colour, the terrapins in the big lakes, the beautifully-manicured tee boxes and greens, but there’s also a calmness about the place with the only noise being the gentle revving of a lawnmower engine.
From there I turn towards the first tee and walk down the fairway, past the clubhouse and into the media centre. It’s an inspiring, relaxing stroll, although I did break sweat on Wednesday morning as I was joined by former rugby union international Will Greenwood.
Trying to keep pace with a 6ft 5in professional athlete is hard work, but even Will slowed his stride as we walked past the famous ninth and savoured the surroundings.
It truly is the greatest walk to work in the world. If there’s a better one, I want to see it!
Preparing for a big day
Myself and the other lucky 27 who were drawn out of the hat to play Augusta on Monday attended a meeting this morning to discuss the rules and regulations.
We were surprised to be informed that we could have our mobile phones with us for picture purposes only, although posting to social media during the round is strictly off limits.
Steve Ethun, Augusta National’s director of communications, gave us a rundown of the day, including how we would be allocated a champion's locker, taken to meet our caddies, dress codes etc.
When Steve started fielding questions, I asked what time the gates would be open for the patrons.
I cannot possibly publish the response!
Welcome to Augusta
It is a shame there’s a general perception from those around the world who have never been to Augusta that the men in Green Jackets are stuffy, elitist and self-important.
I’ve encountered several members during my week here, and I can tell you with all honesty that, to a man, they are courteous, well-mannered and welcoming.
I got the sense they all still feel an immense privilege in being a part of arguably the most famous golf club on the planet, and treating all visitors with respect is close to the top of their agenda.
Politeness is rife in the entire area. Ronald, one of our shuttle drivers between the hotel and the course, told me it was engrained into a vast majority of Georgians.
There are a lot of places I can think of that should take note and follow suit.
Golf writing royalty
Being in the fantastic theatre-style media centre throughout the week along with a few hundred others has been an enlightening experience.
I’ve met many golf journalists I’ve always had huge respect for, but never thought I would interact with other than on Twitter.
There’s Golf Digest veteran Dan Jenkins, for example. Doug Ferguson is in prime position front and centre. There’s also Hall of Fame journalist Ron Sirak, and a whole host of others too numerous to mention.
Talking to one of the lesser-known writers on his first trip, even after four days here he was still struggling to cope with the magnitude of where he was and the company he was in.
“That’s golf writing royalty in there,” he said. “They’re not just journalists, there’s some Pulitzer Prize winners for God’s sake. I’m not sure how I’m in the same room.”
I nodded politely and returned to my position at my Masters rookie desk – back row, far right and a long way from Doug Ferguson!
Rory gains support
I was genuinely surprised by the reaction of the patrons to Rory McIlroy and Tiger Woods today. Tiger arrived on the first tee and, as usual, was given a warm reception. Rory arrived, and his reception was red hot.
It was the same when the Green Jacket announced their names on the tee, the cheers were noticably louder and longer for McIlroy than for Woods.
Perhaps that contributed to Tiger's woeful opening salvo, a pull-hook that ended up on the ninth fairway – 60 yards left of where he was aiming.
I decided to ask 20 American patrons (apologies to the guy from Canada) who they were rooting for.
There were 10 for Rory, eight for Tiger, and two who said: "Both, we're golf fans."