Fans Dont Let Rain Wash Them Away

By Associated PressApril 8, 2006, 4:00 pm
AUGUSTA, Ga. -- More than two hours after the rain started at the Masters, Rico Terry was still on a bench near the first fairway.
 
Sitting on a plastic bag, wearing a rain poncho and holding an umbrella over his head, he was perfectly dry. Around him, though, Augusta National was beginning to resemble a swamp Saturday afternoon and there was no sign when the skies would clear.
 
'If I was on the golf course waiting to play myself, I'd go home,' Terry said. 'But it's the Masters.'
 
If rain interrupts other golf tournaments, a few stalwart fans will stick it out. Most, though, head for the exits, figuring they can watch from the comfort of their home or hotel if play resumes.
 
Not at the Masters.
 
Badges are handed down from generation to generation. People wait years for a chance to buy tickets, and pay dearly when they finally get their hands on them. If it rains -- and it usually does at some point during the week -- so be it.
 
'This tournament is probably the most sacred sporting event in America,' said Dalton Lott, who makes the trip to Augusta National from Duncanville, Texas, and who waited out the delay in his car. 'The mystique, the prestige. To have an opportunity just to come to this tournament is the highlight of any sports fan's life.'
 
So it was no surprise that when play in the third round resumed after more than four hours of delay, there were still thousands of fans on the course.
 
'We just had tickets for today. It was today or nothing,' said Ed Stickler, whose wife, Cathy, was at her first Masters. 'It would have been devastating if we'd left and they had played.'
 
When the warning siren sounded to halt play, fans took shelter at gift shops, concession stands and bathrooms. The open area inside the main gates was a sea of green-and-white umbrellas.
 
Some simply set up their golf chairs and sat under their umbrellas.
 
'You just know it's going to rain one day,' said Penny Lowery, who has been attending the Masters for about 30 years. 'If it's lightning, you get out of the way. Otherwise, you stand in the rain and don't care.
 
'Just get a good cup of hot coffee and another pimento cheese sandwich.'
 
There were fans who didn't even bother leaving the course during the delay. Martin Owens and three friends were sharing one badge, and Saturday was his day to come to the tournament. His seat behind the eighth tee put him so close he could help golfers with their club selection, and he wasn't about to give it up.
 
Whitney and Chuck Whitehall had found a spot a few feet off the green at No. 2, hunkered down on a sheet of plastic underneath an umbrella.
 
'We're trying to be optimistic and hope it clears soon,' Whitney said. 'Plus, we have a real good spot on 16 that we don't want to give up,' Chuck added.
 
This is the fifth straight year rain has disrupted the Masters, and most fans know to come prepared. Those who didn't have rain jackets or rain suits wore ponchos, and almost everyone had an umbrella.
 
Though this was Ali Despard's first Masters, she'd been warned by her friend Will Egan, and was sporting a pair of lime green, rubber rain boots.
 
'I know the smell of fertilizer after it rains,' said Egan, attending his fourth Masters. 'And that you wear pants you throw away afterward.'
 
And that regardless how hard the rain falls, leaving is never an option.
 
'We flew in on the red-eye last night and we're leaving first thing Monday morning. We're here for no other reason,' said Despard, who is from Los Angeles. 'So we may as well stay in the rain.'
 
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    Five-time Open champ Thomson passes at 88

    By Associated PressJune 20, 2018, 1:35 am

    MELBOURNE, Australia – Five-time Open Championship winner Peter Thomson has died, his family said Wednesday. He was 88.

    Thomson had been suffering from Parkinson's disease for more than four years and died at his Melbourne home surrounded by family members on Wednesday morning.

    Born on Aug, 23, 1929, Thomson was two months short of his 89th birthday.

    The first Australian to win The Open Championship, Thomson went on to secure the title five times between 1954 and 1965, a record equaled only by Tom Watson.

    On the American senior circuit he won nine times in 1985.

    Thomson also served as president of the Australian PGA for 32 years, designing and building courses in Australia and around the world, helping establish the Asian Tour and working behind the scenes for the Odyssey House drug rehabilitation organization where he was chairman for five years.

    He also wrote for newspapers and magazines for more than 60 years and was patron of the Australian Golf Writers Association.

    In 1979 he was made a Commander of the Order of the British Empire (CBE) for his service to golf and in 2001 became an Officer of the Order of Australia (AO) for his contributions as a player and administrator and for community service.

    Thomson is survived by his wife Mary, son Andrew and daughters Deirdre Baker, Pan Prendergast and Fiona Stanway, their spouses, 11 grandchildren and four great-grandchildren.

    Funeral arrangements were to be announced over the next few days.

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    Gaston leaves USC to become head coach at Texas A&M

    By Ryan LavnerJune 19, 2018, 11:00 pm

    In a major shakeup in the women’s college golf world, USC coach Andrea Gaston has accepted an offer to become the new head coach at Texas A&M.

    Terms of the deal were not disclosed.

    Gaston, who informed her players of her decision Monday night, has been one of the most successful coaches over the past two decades, leading the Trojans to three NCAA titles and producing five NCAA individual champions during her 22-year reign. They have finished in the top 5 at nationals in an NCAA-record 13 consecutive seasons.

    This year was arguably Gaston’s most impressive coaching job. She returned last fall after undergoing treatment for uterine cancer, but a promising season was seemingly derailed after losing two stars to the pro ranks at the halfway point. Instead, she guided a team with four freshmen and a sophomore to the third seed in stroke play and a NCAA semifinals appearance. Of the four years that match play has been used in the women’s game, USC has advanced to the semifinals three times.  

    Texas A&M could use a coach with Gaston’s track record.

    Last month the Aggies fired coach Trelle McCombs after 11 seasons following a third consecutive NCAA regional exit. A&M had won conference titles as recently as 2010 (Big 10) and 2015 (SEC), but this year the team finished 13th at SECs.

    The head-coaching job at Southern Cal is one of the most sought-after in the country and will have no shortage of outside interest. If the Trojans look to promote internally, men’s assistant Justin Silverstein spent four years under Gaston and helped the team win the 2013 NCAA title.  

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    Spieth 'blacked out' after Travelers holeout

    By Will GrayJune 19, 2018, 9:44 pm

    CROMWELL, Conn. – It was perhaps the most-replayed shot (and celebration) of the year.

    Jordan Spieth’s bunker holeout to win the Travelers Championship last year in a playoff over Daniel Berger nearly broke the Internet, as fans relived that raucous chest bump between Spieth and caddie Michael Greller after Spieth threw his wedge and Greller threw his rake.

    Back in Connecticut to defend his title, Spieth admitted that he has watched replays of the scene dozens of times – even if, in the heat of the moment, he wasn’t exactly choreographing every move.


    Travelers Championship: Articles, photos and videos


    “Just that celebration in general, I blacked out,” Spieth said. “It drops and you just react. For me, I’ve had a few instances where I’ve been able to celebrate or react on a 72nd, 73rd hole, 74th hole, whatever it may be, and it just shows how much it means to us.”

    Spieth and Greller’s celebration was so memorable that tournament officials later shipped the rake to Greller as a keepsake. It’s a memory that still draws a smile from the defending champ, whose split-second decision to go for a chest bump over another form of celebration provided an appropriate cap to a high-energy sequence of events.

    “There’s been a lot of pretty bad celebrations on the PGA Tour. There’s been a lot of missed high-fives,” Spieth said. “I’ve been part of plenty of them. Pretty hard to miss when I’m going into Michael for a chest bump.”

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    Pregnant Lewis playing final events before break

    By Randall MellJune 19, 2018, 9:27 pm

    Stacy Lewis will be looking to make the most of her last three starts of 2018 in her annual return to her collegiate roots this week.

    Lewis, due to give birth to her first child on Nov. 3, will tee it up in Friday’s start to the Walmart NW Arkansas Championship at Pinnacle Country Club in Rogers, Arkansas. She won the NCAA individual women’s national title in 2007 while playing at the University of Arkansas. She is planning to play the KPMG Women’s PGA Championship next week and then the Marathon Classic two weeks after that before taking the rest of the year off to get ready for her baby’s arrival.

    Lewis, 33, said she is beginning to feel the effects of being with child.

    “Things have definitely gotten harder, I would say, over the last week or so, the heat of the summer and all that,” Lewis said Tuesday. “I'm actually excited. I'm looking forward to the break and being able to decorate the baby's room and do all that kind of stuff and to be a mom - just super excited.”

    Lewis says she is managing her energy levels, but she is eager to compete.

    “Taking a few more naps and resting a little bit more,” she said. “Other than that, the game's been pretty good.”

    Lewis won the Walmart NW Arkansas Championship in 2014, and she was credited with an unofficial title in ’07, while still a senior at Arkansas. That event was reduced to 18 holes because of multiple rain delays. Lewis is a popular alumni still actively involved with the university.