The Masters You Dont See on TV

By Associated PressApril 11, 2008, 4:00 pm
AUGUSTA, Ga. -- Turn on the TV and the first thing you see are the immaculate white bunkers surrounded by grass so green it looks painted. The azaleas are always in full bloom, the ponds are still as glass, and everything is framed by massive pine trees.
 
Hear the announcers talk, and everything is always perfect on the rolling acreage that is Americas most course. The wind freshens instead of howls, greens always roll fairly for any well struck putt and the ghost of Bobby Jones lives on everywhere.
 
Thats the Augusta National most of the world sees for four days every April. For all but the privileged few, the closest theyll get to Amen Corner is on a couch in front of the living room Sony.
 
But theres a lot the television cameras dont catch. So heres a look at what you didnt see Friday while watching Tiger Woods drop more f-bombs than putts in the second round of the Masters:
 
' Ian Poulters shoes. Jones was a bit of a fashion plate himself, but he would have probably drawn the line at pink and white footwear.
 
' Hank Haney as a spectator. Woods swing coach stood outside the ropes of the eighth fairway waiting for his famous client to hit and telling anyone who wanted to listen that a few bad breaks was all that was keeping Woods out of the lead.
 
' Planes. For some reason, corporate jets buzzed the course all day long from the nearby Augusta airport, while a small plane towed a banner advertising free admittance to a strip club for all patrons showing their badges. With the power of the green jacket around here, its surprising another plane wasnt ordered into the air to shoot it down.
 
' Lloyd Baker, who was manning the ropes on the 9th hole fairway crossing for the 14th year in a row. The retiree should be celebrating his wedding anniversary Saturday with his wife back in Houston, but she seems to be the understanding sort. Hes at the course before the gates open at 8 a.m., ready for a day of raising and lowering ropes, and answering questions from the patrons.
 
For most of them the first question is `Where is Tiger? Baker said. The second question they ask is how I got this job.
 
' A white man in his 20s walking along and holding hands with a black woman on the 17th hole. No big deal, but 20 years ago in this part of the world people would have been pointing fingers, and maybe more.
 
' Black fans in the crowd. Again, no big deal, but a Masters that used to be a lily-white affair now has a more integrated crowd than most major championships.
 
' Kids. Theyre being admitted free when accompanied by badge holders, and they dress the part. On some holes you saw three generations, with grandpa, dad and kid all decked up in the latest Masters attire.
 
' Six on a board. The majestic white scoreboards at Augusta National are manned by teams of six, who slide in names and numbers as easily as the crack crew at Wrigley Field. They havent sold out to electronic scoreboards flashing advertisements, and its not likely they ever will.
 
' Beer. At $2 a cup, its the last great buy in American sports, and the patrons seem to appreciate it. Two young women who work the concession stand near the 18th tee announced last call Friday afternoon, and quickly there were fans trying to juggle two or three cups of suds on their way back to their viewing positions.
 
' Roars. For the second straight day, there werent very many of them. Augusta National has been toughened up so much that even the hint of a good shot brings excitement, but there were no eagles on the par-5 15th and just a handful on the 13th despite a relatively easy pin placement.
 
' Bleacher madness. The sight and thundering sound of an entire bleacher emptying out after Woods finishes a hole is worth the price of admission. Justin Rose, Henrik Stenson and Toru Taniguchi had to feel unloved as they watched the bleachers on No. 8 suddenly clear out as they waited to play their second shots.
 
' Gloaming. Thats a word used a lot by golf writers who have run out of other words to describe scenes at Augusta National and want to impress readers with their wide range of vocabulary. Loosely translated, it means a time of day when it is getting dark but not so dark that you cant find your ball. Expect to read a lot of stories about Woods sinking a putt in the gloaming Friday to keep his hopes up.
 
' Attitude. There wasnt any among the players, at least publicly. This is the only tournament of the year where players are afraid to complain about anything, lest they risk the ire of the green jackets who run the place. Phil Mickelson thought the course setup at the U.S. Open last year was dangerous to his health and said so loudly, but they could put alligators in Raes Creek and he wouldnt say a word.
 
And, finally, whats a second round at the Masters without a little false bravado from the greatest player of his time. Woods hasnt sniffed the leaderboard since the tournament began, and needs a miraculous comeback that his game has shown no signs of giving him to erase a seven-shot deficit on the weekend.
 
Yet he stood in the gloaming off the 18th green and proclaimed himself in great shape for the second straight day.
 
This golf course, you can make up shots here quickly. Just got to hang in there.
 
For Woods legion of fans, that may have been the best sight of all on this day.
 
Related Links:
  • Full Coverage - The Masters
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  • Video - The Masters Tournament
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    Day's wife shares emotional story of miscarriage

    By Golf Channel DigitalDecember 12, 2017, 4:12 pm

    Jason Day’s wife revealed on social media that the couple had a miscarriage last month.

    Ellie Day, who announced her pregnancy on Nov. 4, posted an emotional note on Instagram that she lost the baby on Thanksgiving.

    “I found out the baby had no heartbeat anymore. I was devastated,” she wrote. “I snuck out the back door of my doctor, a hot, sobbing, mascara-covered mess. Two and a half weeks went by witih me battling my heart and brain about what was happening in my body, wondering why this wouldn’t just be over.”

    The Days, who have two children, Dash and Lucy, decided to go public to help others who have suffered similar heartbreak.

    “I hope you know you aren’t alone and I hope you feel God wrap his arms around you when you feel the depths of sorrow and loss,” she wrote.  

    Newsmaker of the Year: No. 5, Sergio Garcia

    By Golf Channel DigitalDecember 12, 2017, 1:00 pm

    This was the year it finally happened for Sergio Garcia.

    The one-time teen phenom, known for years as “El Nino,” entered the Masters as he had dozens of majors beforehand – shouldered with the burden of being the best player without a major.

    Garcia was 0-for-72 driving down Magnolia Lane in April, but after a thrilling final round and sudden-death victory over Justin Rose, the Spaniard at long last captured his elusive first major title.

    The expectation for years was that Garcia might land his white whale on a British links course, or perhaps at a U.S. Open where his elite ball-striking might shine. Instead it was on the storied back nine at Augusta National that he came alive, chasing down Rose thanks in part to a memorable approach on No. 15 that hit the pin and led to an eagle.


    Full list of 2017 Newsmakers of the Year


    A green jacket was only the start of a transformative year for Garcia, 37, who heaped credit for his win on his then-fiancee, Angela Akins. The two were married in July, and months later the couple announced that they were expecting their first child to arrive just ahead of Garcia’s return to Augusta, where he'll host his first champions’ dinner.

    And while players often cling to the notion that a major win won’t intrinsically change them, there was a noticeable difference in Garcia over the summer months. The weight of expectation, conscious or otherwise, seemed to lift almost instantly. Like other recent Masters champs, he took the green jacket on a worldwide tour, with stops at Wimbledon and a soccer match between Real Madrid and Barcelona.

    The player who burst onto the scene as a baby-faced upstart is now a grizzled veteran with nearly two decades of pro golf behind him. While the changes this year occurred both on and off the course, 2017 will always be remembered as the year when Garcia finally, improbably, earned the title of major champion.


    Masters victory


    Article: Garcia defeats Rose to win Masters playoff

    Article: Finally at peace: Garcia makes major breakthrough

    Article: Garcia redeems career, creates new narrative


    Video: See the putt that made Sergio a major champ


    Green jacket tour

    Article: Take a look at Sergio's crazy, hectic media tour

    Article: Garcia with fiancée, green jacket at Wimbledon

    Article: Watch: Garcia kicks off El Clasico in green jacket


    Man of the people


    Article: SERGIO! Garcia finally gets patrons on his side

    Article: Fan finally caddies for Sergio after asking 206 times

    Article: Sergio donates money for Texas flood relief


    Article: Connelly, Garcia paired years after photo together


    Ace at 17th at Sawgrass


    Growing family

    Article: Sergio, Angela get married; Kenny G plays reception

    Article: Garcia, wife expecting first child in March 2018


    Departure from TaylorMade


    Article: Masters champ Garcia splits with TaylorMade


    Squashed beef with Paddy

    Article: Harrington: Garcia was a 'sore loser'

    Article: Sergio, Padraig had 'great talk,' are 'fine'


    Victory at Valderrama


    Article: Garcia gets first win since Masters at Valderrama

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    Newsmakers of the Year: Top 10 in 2017

    By Golf Channel DigitalDecember 12, 2017, 12:30 pm
    Getty Images

    Montana parents can't watch kids play high school golf

    By Grill Room TeamDecember 11, 2017, 9:47 pm

    Well, this is a one new one.

    According to a report from KTVQ in Montana, this line in the Montana State High School Association rule book all but forbids spectators from observing high school golf in that state:

    “No spectators/fans are allowed on the course except for certain locations as designated by the tournament manager and club professional.”

    Part of the issue, according to the report, is that most courses don't bother to designate those "certain locations" leaving parents unable to watch their kids compete.

    “If you tell a parent that they can’t watch their kid play in the Thanksgiving Day football game, they would riot,” Chris Kelley, a high school golf parent, told KTVQ.

    The report lists illegal outside coaching as one of the rule's chief motivations, but Montana State women's golf coach Brittany Basye doesn't quite buy that.

    “I can go to a softball game and I can sit right behind the pitcher. I can make hand signals,” she is quoted in the report. “I can yell out names. I can do the same thing on a softball field that might affect that kid. Football games we can yell as loud as we want when someone is making a pass or a catch.”

    The MHSA has argued that unlike other sports that are played in a confined area, the sprawling nature of a golf course would make it difficult to hire enough marshals to keep unruly spectators in check.

    Meanwhile, there's a lawyer quoted in the report claiming this is some kind of civil rights issue.

    Worth note, Montana is one of only two states that doesn't allow spectators on the course. The other state, Alaska, does not offer high school golf.