Maybe the funniest story of the entire trip happened Wednesday night on the drive down. We stopped for dinner at a Waffle House, and grabbed an empty booth. As soon as we sat down and started talking, this creepy guy in the next booth started eavesdropping. Then after we ate, all three of us decided to hit the bathroom, apparently. This creepy old guy only had one hand and wouldn't leave us alone! Then we got back into the car and he wanted Tom to roll down the window, so he cracked it about an inch. We were in Tom's car, it's as old as mine and barely more comfortable. But this creepy guy just has to tell us (while he lights up a cig) that we've got "a mighty pretty pontiac", so that happened. And it became a theme for the road trip.
Mom sent the only pic I got of the day:
|Ready to hit the road|
We started out walking the course backwards, but nobody had made it to the 18th hole yet. So we had a few empty holes before we got to see the players. i know there's a better joke in there. We walked around long enough to see the entire course, and got to spot a few players along the way. We ended up back at the #1 tee just as Rory was starting his tourney. It was the only time our view got a little blocked.
After getting to see the entire course we wanted to plant ourselves in the right spots to see the right players come through. So next we hit the #2 green and got to see Phil and Rory play through in consecutive groups. Rory was in the next to last group, so then we trucked it down to #16 green in time to see Stuart Cink, Bubba Watson, and Tiger Woods play through. I think the most exciting point was when Tiger reached the green, Lindsay Vonn walked up right behind me. Our seats on 16 were that good.
After that we got a few fresh beers and found the grandstands on the #15 green. We did get to see a bunch of mid-tier players come through and talk to some other really nice people up there. It was very comfortable, but that's when the sun came out. I got fried up there. We went back for another round and ended up in a spot where you could see the #13 green and #14 tee, so coming out of the Amen Corner. Saw some really cool shots from there.
The strangest moment on the course had to be watching Craig Stadler 3 putt and get really pissed off about it. He looks like a steamed walrus anyway, and he walked outside of the ropes through the spectator area to get to the next tee box and nobody talked to him. Of course then he crushed his next drive, fueled by anger. And I thought the entire thing was hilarious. He was slamming the driver down in frustration while on his way through the crowd.
When it was all said and done, I had 3 beers, 4 pimento cheese sandwiches, 1 ham & cheese on rye, 1 ice cream, and picked up a new hat and blanket from the golf shop. It was a pretty incredible day. The weather was perfect. The course was immaculate. I mean, you could have thrown a steak on the ground and sat down with a knife and fork without even having to clean the thing off before eating it.
After we got out of Augusta National we drove back to Columbia to give the badges back to my uncle, someone else was going to use them for Friday. When we got there, Tom got out of the car, said "Uncle Butch thank you so much" and gave him a big hug. Now, my uncle is a big hunter/fisherman, went to college on a football scholarship, a real "man's man" if you will. Needless to say he wasn't expecting such a familial greeting from a total stranger. And I didn't mention that Tom is from Connecticut originally. Hahahahhaha, oh the look on his face really put me on the floor. Too funny!
The best day I ever had at the Masters was when my grandfather took me the year I turned 13, of course. But this one was right up there in the top 5 for sure. Tom and I really had a ton of fun, the whole trip turned out perfect, and I couldn't have asked for anything better. Well, maybe seeing the players hit a few more birdie putts would have been nice.
The whole tournament turned out to be riveting. Tiger's penalty from friday? The 14 year old kid? His penalty for slow play? Then on sunday it comes down to a couple of playoff holes. Insane. I'm so happy that Adam Scott got the win, he seems like a real class act.
Did you get to watch the tourney? Ever been to Augusta? Did you know the 15th hole is a 525 yard par 5 that contains over 1600 azaleas?