- Shopping Bag ( 0 items )
HarigUnlike Golf's other major championships, the Masters is played at the same course in the same city year after year. The Augusta, Ga., dateline is one of the most famous in sports, the Augusta National Golf Club a revered venue.
And despite some 70 years of history, there is always seemingly something to learn about the Masters, its participants and the course.
Founded by the great amateur Bobby Jones, Augusta National is private and public. For a club that has strict rules and many secrets, it is also well known to the public because of the tournament.
Another Masters wraps up today, and there are more stories to be told.
Author Mike Towle sought to do that by letting dozens of golfers and experts tell their tales in a recently released book, I Remember August. Included are stories from former Masters champions Jack Nicklaus, Gary Player, Sam Snead and Larry Mize.
One of the best is a story told by Tom Weiskopf, who continually was frustrated in his attempts to win a Masters green jacket. Weiskopf was foiled by Nicklaus in 1975, when the Golden Bear drained a dramatic 50-foot birdie putt at the par-3 16th and won by a single shot.
A few years later, Weiskopf was to be paired with Nicklaus during the final round, with both on the fringe of contention:
"I can see we've got identical outfits on: navy blue pants, white shirts, and white shoes," Weiskopf recalled. About that time, Weiskopf said he was approached by an FBI agent who said Nicklaus had received a death threat and that several agents would be with the group and scattered throughout the gallery. "I went over to my wife, Jeanne, and said, 'Jeanne, please go to the pro shop and buy me something like a powder-blue shirt," Weiskopf said. "So she comes back and by now I'm on the first tee, where I take my shirt off and put on this powder blue shirt. Everybody whistled and kind of oohhed and aaahhed. "Jack came over and said, 'What are you doing?' And I said, 'Well, I just want to make sure they don¹t shoot the wrong guy today.' He chuckled. Neither one of us played worth a darn."
Another story seeks to explain the popularity of the Masters. It is from Frank Chirkinian, the former CBS-TV executive producer of golf, who began working for the network at Augusta in 1959.
"The tournament didn't have quite the attention that it has now because golf was a relatively unknown thing as far as television is concerned," Chirkinian said. "Arnold Palmer had just emerged as a potential superstar and the Snead-Hogan era was winding down. Today, the Masters goes into more than 100 countries. Part of the tournament¹s appeal is that it's conducted at the same venue year after year. People are comfortable with Augusta. They can turn it on at any moment and see the action at, say, the 14th hole and know immediately that they are seeing the 14th hole."
I Remember Augusta has dozens of such stories, provided by golfers, club members, writers, broadcasters and fans who have been to the tournament over the years. And it's a nice way to think about the Masters.