Tuesday, April 4, 2006

The hype is right - the Masters is unique.  After waiting for a number of years, Pat got selected in a lottery to attend a practice round at the Masters.  The waiting list for tickets to the tournament itself was closed more than ten years ago.  Hotel rooms in Augusta during Masters week are at least three times the rate for the rest of the year, but everything else is reasonable, especially on the course where you can get a traditional pimento cheese sandwich for $1.50.  Walking around the beautiful golf course is invigorating.  The grass on the fairways is better than most greens I've played on and the rough looks like a good fairway on most courses.  The most fun hole to watch is the par 3 sixteenth - all carry over the water.  After hitting their tee shots the players all try to skip the ball on the water surface and land on the green.  Most balls sink half way to the hole, but occasionally someone will run one near the cup and evoke a roar that can be heard all over the course.  The players appear to be having a good time and take time to interact with the gallery.  As you can tell from the pictures the weather was ideal, making for a very pleasant day.

Georgia_06 (20).JPG (49239 bytes)

Georgia_06 (35).JPG (49291 bytes)

Georgia_06 (39).JPG (70237 bytes)

Georgia_06 (41).JPG (37372 bytes)

Georgia_06 (45).JPG (66696 bytes)

There are leader boards all over the course.  This one is at the first tee.

Phil Mickelson was the eventual winner.  Here he is working on his long irons.

The whole Augusta National course is beautiful, but it is the azaleas that set it apart.

Here is the man everyone came to see - Tiger Woods.  He played his practice round with Mark O'Meara and Mark Calcavecchia.

The players appeared to be enjoying themselves.  Here Tiger chats with Calcavecchia.


Georgia_06 (48).JPG (52673 bytes)

Georgia_06 (51).JPG (61296 bytes)

Georgia_06 (52).JPG (85776 bytes)

Georgia_06 (53).JPG (265911 bytes)

Georgia_06 (56).JPG (62850 bytes)

This is the green on the eleventh hole, the start of Amen Corner.  It is a punishing par 4.  Anything below the yellow line winds up in a hazard.

The most recognizable landmark of the course is the Ben Hogan bridge across Rae's Creek on the par 3 twelfth hole.

One of the many beautiful dogwood trees that line the course.

Out of town members can stay in one the "cabins" near the eighteenth green.  President Eisenhower often stayed here.

Vijay SIngh was in contention throughout the tournament but had an erratic final round.


Georgia_06 (57).JPG (61347 bytes)

Georgia_06 (59).JPG (39100 bytes)

Georgia_06 (61).JPG (67219 bytes)

Georgia_06 (62).JPG (90243 bytes)

Georgia_06(64).JPG (65120 bytes)

Fred Couples is a gallery favorite.  Here he is striding up to the green on the par 3 sixteenth hole.  After hitting their tee shots the players try to skp the ball on the water and land on the green.

Arnold Palmer stopped by the fourth tee to offer encouragement to Ben Crane.  He was very personable and chatted with the fans.

Even with Arnie's help Crane failed to make the cut.  Here he uses a 3 wood to reach the 240 yard par 3.

The azaleas are everywhere offering a variety of spectacular views.

Last year's runner-up Chris De Marco celebrated the Florida Gators victory in the NCAA basketball touney be wearing the school colors.  Didn't help - he missed the cut.