Answers For Masters Bucket Listers: How to Make the Most of Your Masters Visit

Screen Shot 2019-04-08 at 4.34.02 PM.png

One of the great privileges of covering a few Masters comes in the form of emails I now annually receive asking for the best way to maximize a day at the Masters.

Since practice rounds and events like the Augusta National Women’s Amateur have added more opportunities to visit here, short term visits to the Masters have become more commonplace. This adds a sense of urgency and dare I say stress to a visit.

In this long-form piece for, I try to cover all of the key questions about folding chair placement, Founders Circle photos, the Golf Shop, best places to watch and Georgia Peach ice Cream Sandwiches, all so you can focus on what matters: watching golf and having a great time.

1939: When The Masters Became The Masters

Screen Shot 2019-04-08 at 3.49.19 PM.png

Most of us would be giving the wrong answer if we said the Masters was officially born in year two of the tournament, but as John Steinbreder explains in this story, the rollout was not really official until 1939. There’s hope for The Tournament Players Championship/The Players Championship/The Players/The PLAYERS!

As much as Jones disdained the name, it had more than its fair share of early adopters. In fact, Roberts relates how a mutual friend of theirs, Tom Barrett, was so disappointed that the competition was not being called the Masters that he told a newspaper reporter friend about it. That person then wrote a story on the matter, which was one reason several members of the media referred to the event during its inaugural playing as the Masters Tournament.

“By 1935, most of the media did so, and in 1936, no one except the Club called the Tournament by any other name than the Masters,” Roberts wrote.

The First Masters Since 1950 Without His Ownself

Screen Shot 2019-04-08 at 1.23.49 PM.png

Bill Fields with a nice remembrance and Masters history of the late Dan Jenkins’ era, a record of attendance (68 years)n and productivity unlikely to be matched.

Here’s how it all started:

It was 1951. Jenkins was a 22-year-old Texas Christian University student and golf-team member moonlighting as a sportswriter for his hometown newspaper, The Fort Worth Press. His beat essentially was Ben Hogan, a native son, who made Jenkins’ maiden journey to Georgia a memorable one with a two-stroke victory.

“The press tent was indeed a tent and open at two sides to catch the breezes,” Jenkins said in 2018 of the first time he reported from Augusta National. “Table-model typewriters were provided, but you brought along your own portable in case the one at your assigned seat wasn’t worth the struggle. Light bulbs dangled from the ceiling above. A crowded row of Western Union operators was on hand to send your stories, often turning them into puzzles in their haste. You kept a carbon copy to use when calling the office to clean things up. Almost everybody smoked every waking moment.”

His Ownself’s seat this week. Boy I’ll miss those drive-bys to ask a question!

How About A Little Drive, Chip And Putt During Masters Practice Rounds?

Screen Shot 2019-04-07 at 7.08.22 PM.png

The PGA of America brought back the old long drive contest at the PGA Championship and it’s been a nice practice round addition.

After another successful Drive, Chip and Putt at Augusta National, I sense the format has not picked up enough steam outside of this event. Why aren’t more junior tournaments kicking off with a fun DCP, or club invitationals or…Masters practice rounds?

I present a short case for Golfweek and suggest that many in the Masters field could not pull off what two national finalists accomplished in 2019: making both putts on the 18th green. Amazing. These kids today.

ANWA: Highest Rated Amateur Golf Event Since 2003, Women's Event In Almost Three Years

Screen Shot 2019-04-07 at 3.31.30 PM.png

The Augusta National Women’s Amateur final round on NBC was the highest-rated overnight rating for a women’s golf telecast since the 2016 U.S. Women’s Open final round on Fox according to Nielsen Company.

The .96 was also a big number in the amateur golf rating world. For Immediate Release from Golf Channel:


AUGUSTA, Ga., (April 7, 2019) – The final round of the inaugural Augusta National Women’s Amateur, won by Jennifer Kupcho (Senior, Wake Forest University), is the highest-rated amateur golf telecast – men’s or women’s – in 16 years, with a .96 Overnight Rating (Noon-3 p.m. ET/9 a.m.-Noon PT) Saturday on NBC (1.36 Overnight Rating, 2003 U.S. Amateur Men’s Finals won on the 37th hole of a sudden death playoff, from 4-6:15 p.m. ET on NBC), according to data released today by The Nielsen Company. The Augusta National Women’s Amateur began with a GOLF Films short, When I Grow Up, I Want To..., which has garnered nearly one million views on social media this weekend.

Before We Move On: The Inaugural Augusta National Women's Amateur Exceeds Nearly All Expectations

Screen Shot 2019-04-07 at 9.09.40 AM.png

When Fred Ridley shocked the Masters world a year ago with the announcement of a women’s amateur event to precede the Masters, it was admittedly hard to see the event working out of the chute. There were just too many questions about how the event could click on a golf course untested by female players who would only get one practice round.

Not only did the skeptics have their questions answered by a magical performance from two exceptional talents in Maria Fassi and winner Jennifer Kupcho, something unthinkable happened: we were reminded of a better time for Augusta National when the course functioned…just better. The patrons noticed on site and even viewers reached out to ask if the pace was as fast as it looked (it really wasn’t…I explain why it seemed that way in this course assessment for Golfweek.)

Beth Ann Nichols files a wonderful account of the day and the stellar performance by Kupcho shooting 67 even after a migraine appeared at the 8th tee for the first time since her freshman year in college.

The day will forever be remembered by this epic, foot-on-the-pedal shot from Kupcho. She was two back at the time.

And as if scripted, she put the exclamation point on the round with this birdie putt at the 18th:

As for improvements, a few thoughts:

—The one day gap between the opening two rounds and the finale at Augusta National actually worked thanks to players suggesting they enjoyed the reprieve after the cut was made. It still should be changed. A Wednesday practice round for all competitors followed by a Chairman’s dinner at Augusta National seems more fitting of a proper championship. Two rounds at Champions Retreat, followed by the Saturday final round at Augusta National would require less explaining.

—A merchandise shop closure around noon ET in future years should get more patrons out on the course watching some stellar golf. I get it people, you came to shop but you were a little slow to find your way out to…Augusta National on a perfect day for spectating.

—Better merchandise. Even with a fantastic logo that already took on a timeless appearance, the offerings were slim and uninspired. Oddly absent given the club’s understanding of history, there were few items with the “inaugural” designation for this historic day (a poster playing off the original Augusta National Invitational program cover would have been outstanding).

Any thoughts from out there on what you saw via the broadcast or from on site as a patron?

ANWA Final Round Is Here: Augusta National Hosts Its Second Non-Masters

Screen Shot 2019-04-06 at 9.39.05 AM.png

A year ago when the Augusta National Women’s Amateur was announced, it prompted mostly questions and a healthy dose of skepticism.

As a big crowd rolls into ANGC this morning, I note for Golfweek a few of the questions already answered by the Friday practice round. Of course, the players were assessing golf on a quiet, relaxing day. Things will inevitably change a bit with 20,000 on hand.

You can follow scoring here.

One stroke back, Maria Fassi’s diary after day three and first round at Augusta was once again entertaining.

The Forecaddie spotted another new female member Friday.

There were two magnificent moments on the first tee Saturday morning. Beth Ann Nichols tells the surreal story of Anna Redding returning to Augusta National and hitting the first shot after just making the cut.

For history buffs, the answer to a great trivia question is answered by Ward Clayton, who explains how this is the second non-Masters tournament played here.

And I was fortunate to witness the honorary starters ceremony. Safe to say, they do great openings here in Augusta and all four legends hit perfect tee shots. Incredible stuff:

NBC’s telecast starts at 12 ET and kicks off with this mood setter:

The Female Golfing Greats Who Changed Bobby Jones' Life: Golf Channel Feature Debuting Today

Screen Shot 2019-04-05 at 8.57.00 AM.png

I’m very excited to share the story this week of Bobby Jones and the great female amateurs who intersected with is life at key times, influencing his temperament, humility and ultimately, his vision for Augusta National.

The new women’s amateur event underway and concluding Saturday on NBC allowed us the opportunity to showcase three of the all time great female amateur golfers, but also explain how, as with so much of his life, Jones was an outlier when it came to admiring, respecting and benefitting from his friendships with Alexa Stirling, Joyce Wethered and Marion Hollins.

A Golf Channel feature produced by Dominic Dastoli and written and voiced by yours truly appears today on Live From The Augusta National Women’s Amateur (around 10:30-11 ET on Golf Channel.) . I’ll be on to discuss the story and why went about this. There will be other airings but please tune in and share your thoughts!

In the meantime, David Owen, who contributed to our feature, continues the great work of David Outerbridge and Bob Beck in telling the story of Marion Hollins, 1921 US Amateur champion, giant figure in the 1920s golf world and an underrated figure in shaping the development of Augusta National.

From Owen’s New Yorker piece this week:

Hollins, in addition to providing the original model for Augusta National, made one small direct contribution to its golf course—as I myself discovered in the late nineties, while I was researching my book “The Making of the Masters.” In 1931, Roberts complained to MacKenzie, in a letter, that MacKenzie wasn’t spending enough time in Augusta during the construction of the course. The main reason was that MacKenzie had money troubles of his own, including the fact that Augusta National had stopped paying him. But in his place he sent Hollins, who at that point was more than flush. “She has been associated with me in three golf courses, and not only are her own ideas valuable, but she is thoroughly conversant in regard to the character of the work I like,” he wrote to Roberts. “I want her views and also her personal impressions in regard to the way the work is being carried out.” Roberts was unhappy not to have MacKenzie himself, and he said that Jones would be unhappy, too. But MacKenzie defended Hollins in another letter, to the engineer who was supervising construction of the course. “I do not know any man, who has sounder ideas,” he wrote, and added, “She was most favourably impressed with it.”

And the magic of the Internet, it’s now posted:

Women's Amateur Cut Made, Players Welcome Their First Shot At Augusta National

Screen Shot 2019-04-05 at 8.47.12 AM.png

Player diaries can be pretty dull but Arkansas senior Maria Fassi, just one stroke out of the Augusta National Women’s Amateur lead, is delivering forthright and interesting takes for Golfweek.

Today is the Augusta National practice round before Saturday’s final round on NBC. Fassi is glad they have the day off and maybe she’ll be calling Angel Cabrera tonight for advice.

I’m tired. Mentally drained after two rounds at Champions Retreat and actually relieved that there’s a chance to reset tomorrow during the practice round at Augusta National. I’ll meditate and enjoy some quiet time.

The weather report doesn’t look great, but I’m confident that even if I don’t get in 18 holes tomorrow, that I’ll have a good game plan.

Ángel Cabrera reached out about a week ago. He’s a big fan of the team my dad’s working with in Argentina (Club Atlético Talleres) and wanted to offer his congrats and assistance. He said I could call back after Friday’s practice round if I had more questions.

Pleased to report the rain passed by overnight and the practice round appears to be going off without a hitch.

Beth Ann Nichols reports on the playoff of 11 for 10 spots to make the cut into Saturday’s final round, including the incredible tale of Ainhoa Olarra.

GolfTV Getting Into The (Tiger) Match Business; Will This Kill "The Match"?

Screen Shot 2019-04-04 at 10.58.11 PM.png

Joe Levy of reports on plans to have Tiger star in exhibition matches exclusive to the PGA Tour’s international distributor in select countries, GolfTV. The idea was revealed by Discovery CEO David Zaslav at the CAA World Congress of Sports, who said Woods will is all in and will have control of the format as part of his deal with GolfTV. One match is already scheduled for Tokyo.

Zaslav added that Woods was a key figure in the planning and implementation of these events, adding: "Tiger is going to decide what is the best format. Should it be one-on-one? Two-on-two? Should we have two matches going on at the same time. But he’s all in."

"We could bring in some local players, we could evolve the format so that it really works," continued Zaslav.

He added: “[Woods] can have a direct relationship with people that love golf and figure out what they want to see and what they want from him.”

This would seem to potentially doom another edition of The Match given that as an AT&T/BR Love/TNT play while GolfTV is the PGA Tour’s international, non-US distributor.

The move certainly makes Discovery’s deal with Woods look better given that the only content generated (so far) has been limited to Tweeted sitdown interviews.

The Death Of Hazard, All Square, Dormie And Halve Not Sitting Well

Last week’s match play and next week’s Masters prompted a couple of pieces worth your time on the changing language in the game. While everyone was for simplifying the rules, increasingly folks are not warming up to the idea of simplifying the language of golf. Particularly since so many golf terms are part of the every day lexicon.

For example, to be living under par suggests you aren’t feeling well. But I digress.

David Normoyle in a special to Golfweek expresses his dismay at the death of the hazard and the timeless word now replaced with penalty area.

Personally, I’m not looking forward this April to the first time a player takes on the corner of the 13th hole at Augusta National, with its famous tributary lying in wait to capture the carelessly played shot, only to have the television commentator suggest the fate of the Masters may hinge on whether the ball finds the meandering “penalty area” to the left of the fairway or not.

What would Herbert Warren Wind say about his beloved Amen Corner being defined each year not by the players who fell victim to the confounding hazard that is Rae’s Creek but rather those who cautiously negotiated the yellow penalty areas on their way to victory?

Golfweek’s Alistair Tait points out that during the Sky broadcast of the Dell Match Play, the announce team did not acknowledge the preferred new match play terminology. As Tait writes, “he language of golf is part of its allure” and with a history of some words dating back to Mary Queen of Scots’ day—caddie for instance, some are not ready to say goodbye to several terms.

Sadly, there is no mention of all-square in the new rule book. It’s been quietly deleted in the supposed attempt to make the game more accessible to new players. Maybe the governing bodies think the game’s going to become populated by morons incapable of understanding simple terms like all-square and halved.

I wouldn’t be surprised if that wonderful, unique to golf term “dormie” is edited out of the next edition of the rule book even though it’s been in existence since Mary Queen of Scots pondered the benefits of an overlapping grip over a ten-finger one.

Woods, Hanse To Design 36 And Maybe Help Put Oahu Golf On The Map?

Screen Shot 2019-04-03 at 9.15.44 PM.png

For Immediate Release on Pacific Links’ big plans for Mākaha Valley Resort, with one Tiger Woods and one Gil Hanse design:

Pacific Links Press Release – Wednesday 3rd April 2019

  • Pacific Links International (PLI) announces Tiger Woods and Gil Hanse as designers of two world-class golf courses on the island of Oahu, Hawaii

  • Mākaha North Course (TGR Design) and Mākaha South Course (Hanse Golf Course Design) will become the highlight of the Mākaha Valley Resort

  • PLI is working with community leaders, landowners, native Hawaiian cultural practitioners and regulatory agencies on the project’s long-term vision

Golfing icon Tiger Woods and his TGR Design company have today been unveiled as lead architects for one of two spectacular golfing layouts to be created at Mākaha Valley Resort, Hawaii, a project commissioned by Pacific Links International, the world’s premier golfing network. Inspired by the pristine setting on Oahu’s Leeward Coast, TGR Design will lead the development of the Mākaha North Course, while Gil Hanse, creator of the Olympic Course in Rio de Janeiro, will develop the Mākaha South Course. Together, these world-class, tournament-quality layouts will become the centre pieces of the Mākaha Valley Resort, a 644-acre mixed-use property developed in conjunction with community leaders and native cultural practitioners on Hawaii’s third-largest island.

WATCH: To view a video which celebrates the announcement of Tiger Woods and Gil Hanse as designers of Mākaha North and South

As Jason Scott Deegan notes for based on his time in Hawaii, this may finally be the project that puts Oahu golf on the map. To this point, the golf tourism side of things there has been pretty weak.

Roundup: The Augusta National Women's Amateur Is Here As Is The First Women's Major Of 2019

Screen Shot 2019-04-02 at 10.25.59 PM.png

Golfweek’s Beth Ann Nichols sets up the 54-hole Augusta National Women’s Amateur and after reading the player’s excitement , with all 72 getting to play Augusta National Friday, the format is aging well (as opposed to all getting to play prior to the two rounds at Champions Retreat followed by the final round Saturday).

But before Augusta, there’s Champions Retreat, a 27-hole facility with nines designed by Jack Nicklaus, Gary Player and Arnold Palmer.

Rain pushed back Tuesday’s low-key practice round at Champions Retreat, where players pulled out long irons and hybirds a bit more than expected.

The signage, food (including prices), merchandise and pairings sheet look the same as what you’d find at the Masters. The logo is different, of course, and the scoreboards are electronic, but there are enough similarities here to make it feel like we’re in a neighboring zip code.

Out in the west where the ANA Inspiration starts Thursday, three of the top five players in the Women’s World Amateur Rankings accepted invites while four of the top 11 are there instead of Augusta. But LPGA Tour Commish Mike Whan is sounding (finally) more positive about the week and attention given to women’s golf, reports Randall Mell in this look at the co-existing events.

“I think there’s the potential the media coverage will end up being dramatically greater this week,” Whan said. “Everyone has their reporters talking about women’s golf. When’s the last time we can say that? Even when we play the U.S. Women’s Open, I’m not sure that happens.”

Also worth noting will be cross promotion and the impact from NBC/Golf Channel’s coverage at Augusta and how that aids the ANA Inspiration. Which reminds me: NBC coverage is from noon ET to 3:30 ET Saturday. I

And first of many plugs: I’ve worked with Golf Channel’s Dominic Dastoli on a feature that will air during ANWA Live From coverage that looks at Bobby Jones and the role several all-time great female amateurs played in his life.

The official tournament website where you can read coverage and see scores.

Ryan Lavner profiles U. Of Arizona’s Haley Moore, one of the top players and most recognizable in the field given her NCAA and ANA Inspiration play in recent years.

Maria Fasi is filing a daily diary and offered a lot of insight into how the players are being treated. As usual, there are rules, but also spectacular attention to detail.

Tonight we’re going to the Chairman’s Dinner at the clubhouse. I’m never been to Augusta National before, so it’s going to be super exciting just to drive down Magnolia Lane and be at such a historic place.

I’m especially looking forward to the shopping experience they have planned in the pro shop. We get to pick two shirts, a pullover and a hat from our tournament. Then we can just buy whatever we want. They are bringing everything that we buy to our room and leaving it there for us. Every little detail has been taken of.

If video is your thing, here is Golf Central’s setup, followed by Matt Adams and I discussing what we’re most interested in seeing. Hint: we both picked the golf course and how these women tackle Augusta National.

A stellar group shot from the first Chairman’s dinner on what looked like a beautiful evening in Augusta.

There's Life In The Old Masters App And Social Accounts!

Screen Shot 2019-04-01 at 9.29.58 PM.png

Tie to download the update folks, the High Holy days are almost here. If you’re an Android user, sorry, I don’t have your link.

The Instagram account has been teasing us too, with some stellar flashback’s to great calls.

The 1960 and 1997 editions stood out.

Is it me is or Tiger less upright over the putter then?

Dell Match Play Sunday Ratings Plummet Without Tiger; How About A Monday Finish?

Screen Shot 2019-04-01 at 9.25.42 PM.png

Austin Karp reports on Saturday’s 2.4 rating for the 2019 Dell Match Play featuring Tiger Woods in the round of 8.

Sunday’s final day on NBC featuring the Kevin Kisner-Matt Kuchar final saw it’s lowest last day rating since 2010 Karp reports, a 1.6. However, that all time low was against the Vancouver Olympic Games. This year’s 1.6 was only slightly down from the 1.8 Sunday drew the last two years.

Still, there is a sense that Sunday is anti-climactic, whether due to player fatigue (and so-so-golf) or just the limits of only have two matches.

I proposed on Morning Drive a Thursday start, with Saturday’s broadcast bringing us elimination day while Sunday shows us the round of 16 and round of 8. This would get the final match away from the NCAA Regional Finals and let golf get some limelight with a Monday finish, perhaps late in the day on Golf Channel. The current sponsor is said to not be pleased with the small crowds and small field on Sunday’s.

My chat on this with Morning Drive’s Damon Hack:

ANWA Theme Music Debuts, The Players Can Only Ponder What Might Have Been?

Screen Shot 2019-04-01 at 9.01.35 PM.png

If you’re still scratching your head over that forgettable new Players Championship music replacing a very memorable theme, hearing the new Augusta National Women’s Amateur theme won’t help matters

While it’s not Dave Loggins piano ballad—what is—the ANWA theme appears to have a hook and as soon as it appears in a place of purchase, I’ll be adding it to my Masters playlist for the drive to Augusta.

Kuchar, Sergio Film PSA: Stop Obsessing About Our Match Play Dust-Up

Screen Shot 2019-04-01 at 8.54.40 PM.png

I’m all for any kind of match play drama and the Matt Kuchar-Sergio Garcia negotiation over a short miss by Sergio before Kuchar could concede was fun. But it was not the stuff of the attention it’s getting since Garcia acknowledged mistake, took full responsibility and Kuchar wisely held his ground.

Well the two combatants put the whole thing to rest (maybe) with this PSA filmed Monday at Austin Golf Club, with Kuchar doing all the talking.

Justine Reed Plans To Be First Wife To Attend Champions Dinner, Asks Guy Fieri To Help In The Kitchen

Celebrity chef Guy Fieri will be helping with the Champions Dinner

Celebrity chef Guy Fieri will be helping with the Champions Dinner

After successfully convincing instructor David Leadbetter to help with her husband’s game without Patrick Reed’s knowledge, Justine Reed is pulling out all the stops as her man prepares his Augusta National return. She has enlisted celebrity chef Guy Fieri to take over Champion’s Dinner preparations just two weeks shy of the annual Tuesday gathering where her husband is this 2019’s host.

Via text, Mrs. Reed confirmed the news. 

“Guy and I chatted at length about the menu and we are pleased to welcome him to the team,” Justine Reed said. “He is going to ensure that Patrick stays on his current diet while all of the former champions get something better than what the club wanted Patrick to serve.” 

Justine also confirmed her intention to be the first spouse to attend the Champion’s Dinner. While Patrick is not yet aware of his wife’s plan just as he was not aware of the Leadbetter outreach, Justine confirmed her plan to this decision out on their shared wavelength sometime Monday night of tournament week.

“I don’t want to bother him while he’s trying to find a swing,” she texted.

The 2018 winner’s spouse has grown concerned about the Champions Dinner and decided to contact the host of Diners, Drive Ins and Dives to make last minute changes for this year’s gathering of living Masters winners and the current chairman.

A Masters spokesman would not discuss Fieri’s standard practice of including a Food Network camera crew wherever he goes, but did confirm the club has reminded the charismatic host that Augusta National forbids the wearing of sunglasses inside its clubhouse.

Source: Mueller Report’s Mid-April Release Designed To Avoid The Masters

Screen Shot 2019-03-31 at 6.56.11 PM.png

William Barr informed lawmakers last week of plans to release a redacted Special Counsel report on Russian interference by mid-April.

Left out of the Attorney General’s letter, according to senior-level Justice Department sources: Barr is waiting for the Masters to conclude before sharing the redacted Mueller report with the public.

“The AG knows the President doesn’t want his executive time interrupted,” said one official who spoke on the condition of anonymity. “The President is planning to watch a lot of the Masters. So no report until April 15 at the earliest.”

The Attorney General wrote last week to Congress explaining why he could not meet an April 2 deadline set by the judiciary committee.

“Everyone will soon be able to read it,” Mr. Barr wrote. Yet he did not elaborate on what sources say was the primary reason for delay: the 2019 Masters.

An Augusta National spokesman declined comment when asked if the club influenced the decision. However, several longtime members are reportedly still bothered by the distraction caused when U.S. troops took Baghdad in 2003 and felled Saddam Hussein’s statue as Chairman Hootie Johnson was giving his annual State Of The Masters press conference.

“That was just not well orchestrated by the generals,” said an Augusta National source. “The last thing America needs to be doing tournament week is reading the Mueller Report when we could be watching The Masters.”