1) Arriving this morning and walking up to the clubhouse to see what all the fuzz was about. It really does take your breath away. The place oozes quality and to think of all the amazing events and memories that have taken place on this one course make the Augusta National so unique.
2) Seeing Tiger. As a journalist, it is deemed pretty uncool to be in awe of the blokes you pursue, and while I didn’t quite flock to his side like so many, I did get slightly caught up in it all. It was like seeing one of the Beatles (not that I know anything about that) and it completely stole the thunder from Padraig Harrington, who was wooing the galleries by warming up on the 1st tee.
3) Walking down to Amen Corner. The three holes that have determined so many Masters over the years. The 11th and 13th look as tough as they are, but the par-3 12th (Golden bell) looks slightly innocuous. However, leave it short, and you are in the drink, go long and you have possibly the toughest bunker shot possible on a downslope and down green. Fierce. Fittingly, I got to see Sandy Lyle and Ian Woosnam tee off here. This is the hole that very nearly cost Lyle the Masters in 1988. He hit the green on this occasion…
4) Standing in the press area in the stands and watching the shot of the day: Rory McIlroy’s 7-iron on the 16th. He couldn’t have hit it sweeter. As straight as an arrow, and with the pin to the front left of the green, the galleries stood to applaud the teenager as his ball landed and sloped back down to within feet.
5) More nostalgia, and more Lyle. Walking up 18, I reached the famous left-hand bunker that the Scotsman had hit his 1-iron into some 21 years ago. Considering Hunter Mahan, Stephen Ames and Sean O’Hair all creamed their drives here, and all were some 25 yards short of this bunker, suggests just what a great ball-striker the former world number one was. Shame he gets cold hands…
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