I worked for a television station and had a Radio-TV badge back in those days and folks in the media could then stand in line for several hours on Saturday morning outside the Quonset hut that served as the press building and sign up to play on Monday morning. I believe that they took a dozen people with Radio-TV badges, a dozen Print Media folks and a dozen Photographers.
Some of us media types that were staying in the same rented house would get to the course before they opened the gates and then race like NASCAR drivers to the media parking area and then sprint to the press building to be first in line. After a few years of some pushing and shoving to get a better place in line, Master officials changed the rules. After that you had to register to play during the week of the tournament and then they would choose who in the media got to play on Monday by a drawing of everyone who had signed up. The rules were that if you got to play once, that was it. So I used a different name after I played the first time (when I applied for my Radio-TV badge) and so I got to play twice.
Our group used Augusta National caddies both times we played and they were invaluable. Ill always remember Sweets who was my caddy the first time I played. On number 3 I hit a great second shot about 5 feet from the hole. I thought I was pretty good at reading greens and my putt looked pretty straight to me. Sweets said to hit it a foot to the right and halfway to the hole. I did what he said and just missed the birdie by an inch. After that I relied on Sweets to line up every putt. In 1987 all of us had to play a chip shot on #11 from where Larry Mize hit his miracle shot in the playoff. None of us in our group even got close!
I also remember how long #10 was. This was in the days before I used metal woods and my old Haig Ultra persimmon driver didnt go that far. I believe I shot in the mid 80s both times I played. I remember Frank Broyles (at that time the AD at the University of Arkansas and a long-time Augusta National member) telling me that several guests that he brought to Augusta to play had their career best rounds there. Those rounds werent played when the greens were as fast as they were during tournament time. And there wasnt a 2nd cut then either.
Being a media person then was a real treat. We got to go everywhere in the clubhouse, except the locker room and the Champions locker room. We spent lots of time in the second floor dining room listening to stories by all the CBS crew ' Verne Lunquist, Ken Venturi, Frank Summerall and Dan Jenkins.
I always remember the first time I walked onto the course. It was more beautiful that I thought it could be and certainly different than it looked on television. I told my wife when I called her that night that it was like being in heaven without having to die. I still think thats true today even though I long ago gave up my media badge and stopped going to the Masters.
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