Piece of Heaven - The Masters

Piece of Heaven - The Masters

Masters week is officially here!  Dave Austad has been lucky to attend more than a few Master's Tournaments.  Read up on some of his best memories of Augusta.


Is there any better week in the year than Masters week?  One of the perks with being in the golf business is I have had the honor to attend the Tournament over 15 times.  It is always a treat.  I have told people if the good Lord told me I only had 3 hours to live and he would take me anywhere, anytime I would go to the hill on the par #3 number 6.  The golfers hit their tee shots over your head, walk right by you as they go down the hill to the green, and you have a great view of the par 3 sixteenth and the green on number #15. 


Some of my more memorable times at Augusta include:


The Masters Flag- Several years ago I got a coveted Club House Pass from my supplier, Spalding.  They had 10 of them because co-founder Bobby Jones played Spalding clubs.  This gave me access to everywhere, even the player’s locker room.  One day there was a rain delay and everyone scrambled into the clubhouse.  I excused myself to use the restroom and almost fainted when I turned from the urinal to see Jack Nicklaus at the next urinal over.  I was proud of the fact I didn’t ask for an autograph or shake his hand.


- One year I got a real treat by getting an inside tour of Augusta National from Sammy, a 40 year employee at the club.  He took me by Eisenhower cabin, (where Ike would watch the tourney from his porch) and he even took me to the spot where co-founder Cliff Roberts was found on the par 3 course after he tragically shot himself.


- Everyone from the security guards to the attendants are incredibly friendly, until you break a rule.  Then they are on you quickly.  I have watched a Fortune 500 CEO lose his clubhouse pass forever because he used his cell phone in the dining hall.  I had my cell phone taken away when I was doing a live radio report, and I was in a phone booth behind Amen Corner at the time.


- My first visit to the Tournament was 1987, the year after Jack made his incredible comeback.  I wasn’t expecting anything close to that excitement.  Of course, a local kid who snuck under the course fence as a boy changed that around.  I was standing 30 feet from Larry Mize when he chipped in from an impossible spot to beat Greg Norman in a playoff. It felt like the entire course was going to explode when the local boy one.  Truly an amazing day. 


- A ticket to the Masters has been called the toughest ticket in sports.  While the allowable patrons have increased considerably since the 80’s, prices have not.  You can easily get a sandwich, chips and a beer and get change back from your $10.  They are efficient and friendly serving thousands with virtually no wait. As for the tickets, I was offered $1,000 for just the Sunday ticket when Tiger was way ahead.  I passed. 




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