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Theres no place like near home

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AUGUSTA, Ga. – My day started at 4:30 a.m. yesterday in Orlando. Normally I’m a little grumpy at that hour but not on a day that will end at Augusta National. As I headed north on I-95 I got an unusual treat in getting to see the fourth from last Space Shuttle blast off at a little past 6 a.m

Looking at that launch through my side view mirror was a little curious. I was hoping those would be the only flying sparks I would see on Monday. Five hours and two chicken biscuits later I was on the outskirts of Augusta approaching from the south. I grew up two hours from there and have been coming to the Masters since I was 11 years old. I’m used to seeing pollen on the ground and in the air but I have never seen anything like this year’s bumper crop.

The air was tinted yellow and it was like a thick blanket of smog hanging over the city. It looked like a quarter inch of yellow snow had coated everything it could touch. Allergy sufferers will not have a good week. This actually could impact some of the players in a significant way. Some people pay a heavy price for the beauty of spring. After covering Tiger’s press conference from our Golf Channel set at Augusta Country Club, and as I had hoped there were no fireworks, it was off to the media center at Augusta National to check in and get my press credential.

It had been a hectic day up until that point. Just setting foot inside the gate has a calming effect. Time seems to slow down. Being greeted with a warm smile and a kind look in the eyes is a big part of that. After checking in I made a short walk up to the first tee. It was late and it seemed like I was the only person around.

No matter how many times I am fortunate enough to set foot on these grounds, my breath is always taken away when I get a few quiet few minutes to take in the vista, to reflect on the history, and to appreciate the traditions. It is truly an honor to be here.