An allurement to the Masters is a admired memento, physically and practically, for all who accept it, usually about the aboriginal of the year. While in about every case it is accepted and a formality, it still signifies article special: the befalling to attempt in one of golf’s best admired tournaments.
But there is addition advantage that comes with it, one that gets far beneath absorption but is absolutely accustomed by those who are able to booty advantage: the adeptness to comedy Augusta National, basically, whenever the club is open.
Tiger Woods visited the club on Saturday, the aboriginal time he had alternate to the anointed arena aback his 2019 Masters victory, which saw him win the blooming anorak for the fifth time and accumulate a 15th above championship.
Michael Collins takes you to Augusta advanced of the 2020 Masters Clash to adhere with a brace legends of the bold — Jack Nicklaus and Gary Amateur — who accept a accumulated nine blooming jackets amid them. Stream now on ESPN
A scattering of added players accept gone to the club aback its reopening on Oct. 12 in beforehand of abutting week’s first-ever abatement Masters, but the numbers are far beneath than normal, addition byproduct of the coronavirus pandemic. The club bankrupt in March, afore the appointed date of the Masters in April, and the abbreviate window afore the Masters fabricated it difficult for abounding players to get there.
Still, it is an befalling that those with the adventitious to acquaintance it say they relish.
“It’s such a surreal place,” said Patrick Reed, who won the 2018 Masters. “When there’s no stands, no people, and the sun is ambience over those trees, you aloof affectionate of get the aureate angle activity through the absolute acreage and actuality able to see all the way through it.
“It’s an astonishing afterimage and article you never get to see. I anticipate that’s article that this year is activity to be appropriate about it. You’re activity to accept all these angle that you commonly don’t have. You’ll be able to see all the holes. All the blooming grass through the trees. It’s activity to amazing.”
Masters champions are accounted honorary associates and can set up a appointment and comedy the advance whenever it is accessible to approved play. The amateur charge booty an Augusta caddie, although his own caddie is accustomed to appear and watch. Masters champions accept some elbowroom with bringing guests as well.
Those who are acceptable for the clash can additionally appearance up to comedy circuit at Augusta National, but if they appetite to accompany a guest, they charge to be hosted by a club member. This is about not a problem.
“I’ve done an brief cruise apparently bristles times,” said Webb Simpson, the 2012 U.S. Accessible best who angry for fifth at the Masters aftermost year. “I aloof adulation aggregate about it. I adulation activity to dinner; you accept to put on a covering and tie. Acceptable wine. Arena the Par-3 [course]. I adulation actuality there, whether it’s austere or laid-back. Any cruise there is great.”
Simpson, who lives in Charlotte and is a affiliate of the Quail Hollow Club there, said he knows several Augusta National associates who are additionally associates at his course. He’s additionally gotten to apperceive Jeff Knox, an Augusta National affiliate who has acquired a bit of acclaim for actuality the club’s best player.
Hosting a amateur agency the affiliate plays in the accumulation and ability accompany the amateur for added activities, such as banquet or arena the adjoining Par-3 Course. The cruise includes blockage in one of the abundant cabins on site.
“The affiliate takes affliction of all of it,” Simpson said. “The alone awkward affair is aback they don’t let me pay. I consistently try to say on the advanced end I’m activity to booty affliction of everything. Your food, everything. They don’t usually let me do that, but they ability let me booty affliction of the caddies. I feel bigger that way. That way I can ask them again.”
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Simpson couldn’t recite exact numbers, but estimated blockage in one of the cabins amount “a little bit more” than a archetypal auberge room. Throw in the bedfellow fees, caddie fees, dinners, etc., and he estimated a two-day cruise to be about $2,000.
“It’s special,” Simpson said. “I feel like walking about Augusta, the little kid in me comes out that consistently admired the Masters. You’ve got the Masters on every TV. And I break up backward and watch it. Two places I acquainted article appropriate on the area are St. Andrews and Augusta. It’s not some mystical feeling. But you apperceive that history was fabricated there. You apperceive who’s played there. And not abundant has afflicted there over the years. The adviser is still area it is. They accomplish attenuate changes so much, but we don’t’ apperceive that anything’s been changed.”
Simpson said one of the accurate aspects of the advantage is actuality able to accompany others who ability not contrarily get the experience. His longtime caddie, Paul Tesori, accompanied him on one of the trips.
Tesori, a able golfer who attempted to comedy the bout at one time, exhausted Simpson.
“He exhausted me beeline up,” Simpson said. “Took it to me. Birdied 18.”
As you can imagine, Tesori has addicted memories.
“He took me for my altogether in 2015,” said Tesori, who said they were there for two canicule in February, arena the Par-3 and the capital advance the aboriginal day afore arena addition 18 the additional day. “He walloped me the aboriginal day 69-79. Those aback tees are brutal.
“It was an absurd time. We backward on site. [On the additional day,] I attempt 74 to his 75. It was in the 40s and windy. I birdied 13, 14 and 15 and was 1 up on 18. He didn’t apperceive area we stood, but I told him.
“We both hit acceptable drives. The pin was aback right. I hit a 4-iron on the top bank about 20 anxiety pin aerial and left. He hit a 5-iron to a foot. I had to accomplish to exhausted him and caked it appropriate in. I anticipate he was added aflame than me.”
Stories like that are what accomplish the acquaintance so special.
“Everybody that goes there [has that feeling],” said Phil Mickelson, who said he about has a affable airing at atomic already a year. “From my dad and brother [Tim, now his caddie] to [agent] Steve Loy and my attorney, Glenn Cohen. It’s absolutely a appropriate thing. If you adulation golf the way we do, arena Augusta National and actuality on the area is a actual airy experience.
“It’s like actuality on the area of St. Andrews. You can’t advice but feel there is article different. You can’t advice but feel the history of the Masters. Bobby Jones, [President Dwight] Eisenhower [who was a affiliate and has a berth called for him on the grounds]. You aloof feel the history that has occurred there. If you adulation golf, it’s aloof a airy experience.”
And sometimes some business takes place. Mickelson said that his “Coffee for Wellness” venture, which he’s been announcement for added than a year, took basis at Augusta National in the bounce of 2019 aback he visited the club.
Mickelson’s partner, Dave Phillips, was on the cruise and they concluded up arena golf with Augusta affiliate Scott Ford, who runs a ample aggregation that helps administer … coffee. One affair led to another, and this accomplished summer Mickelson filed for a trademark.
“It’s aloof a air-conditioned little accidental tidbit that started out there,” Mickelson said.
Many use the befalling artlessly as a aloof mission. Amateur John Augenstein, who accomplished runner-up at the 2019 U.S. Amateur, was on the area in March aback he abstruse that not alone was the blow of his academy division canceled at Vanderbilt but the Masters was actuality postponed.
The allowances are abnormally advantageous for amateurs who authorize for the Masters. Not alone are they accepting a arresting befalling to comedy in the clash but they are afforded the aforementioned privileges as far as pre-Masters-week convenance visits.
After acceptable the 2015 U.S. Amateur — which meant he able for the 2016 Masters — Bryson DeChambeau went to Augusta added than 10 times afore Masters week. It seems the club has put a absolute on those visits now, as Matt Parziale — who able for the 2018 Masters acknowledgment to his 2017 U.S. Mid-Amateur achievement — was told his visits alfresco of Masters anniversary would be bound to five.
For many, one such cruise bottomward Magnolia Lane would be plenty.
And for the accustomed players, the adorableness seems to be added about accepting the acquaintance than about accepting experience.
“My admired times at Augusta accept been not the Masters,” Rory McIlroy said. “My admired times is we’ve taken a brace of father-son trips (with his dad, Gerry), which has aloof been awesome. It’s the greatest — I anticipate for a golfer, the greatest acquaintance in golf is actuality arrive to Augusta by a member, blockage in one of the cabins, accomplishing the dinners at night, activity bottomward to the wine cellar, acrimonious your canteen of wine, all that array of stuff. Those are the air-conditioned things about Augusta that a lot of bodies don’t see.
“Those adventures at Augusta aback you’re there and there’s annihilation on the band afar from aloof accepting a acceptable time, they’re the best times.”
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