My journey to Augusta, Part Four: The course, of course and a pictorial

The drive from Charlotte to Augusta, Georgia takes about three hours.

First take I-77 South for about an hour and a half, until you hit Columbia, South Carolina.  Then take 20 West for another hour and change until arriving in Augusta. 

Three hours.

Of course, the trip could take longer if you get a late start because you’re hungover from the night before.  It could take even longer if you get lost along the way trying to satisfy a Chic-Fil-A craving, and then even longer than that if you have to stop to use the lavatory for your poor breakfast decisions.  The truth is, I don’t know how long the drive took since Liar North did all of the driving.  I was busy catching up on some well-needed, beauty rest.  I figured it was the least he could do after I let him beat me in golf.

By the time all was said and done, we pulled into Augusta early afternoon, the small town geared up for its annual rite of passage.

Augusta had experienced tornado-like conditions the evening before.  The storms were bad enough to fell a few trees, one that even collapsed on one of the course’s men’s rooms, doing more damage than any Chic-Fil-A breakfast could ever do, and leaving contractors to work triple-time to ensure amenities were ready by the weekend.

In fact, Georgia’s temperature has been so erratic this spring (global warming’s a myth) that the traditional azaleas that adorn the course had already come and gone.  Despite that, Augusta National was still as beautiful as ever, colors like none you’ve ever seen.

Strolling the nine-hole, par three course that’s located on Augusta National’s north side can be both exhilarating and frustrating.  Exhilarating because you’re following the greatest golfers in the world, legends even, in a relaxed and entirely different atmosphere, golfers bringing their families and loved ones to caddy for them as they play their round, yet frustrating because as you watch one group of golfers hit their shots, you hear the roar of the crowd a few holes away as another player nearly misses a hole-in-one that you could have seen, had only your timing been better.

Participating in the tournament that day were Phil Mickelson, KJ Choi, Adam Scott, David Toms, Freddie Couples, Ian Poulter, Mark O’Meara, the ultimate winner of the event, Padraig Harrington, and new Masters Champion Bubba Watson.  And oh yeah, a few guys named Player, Palmer and Nicklaus.  Play was ultimately suspended due to returning thunderstorms (who’d have thought we’d be kicked off the course for weather and not other reasons?) but the day gave us enough time to witness firsthand the beauty that is Augusta National.  The Masters is a bucket list trip for any serious sports fan.

Better writers than me have described the eighty year old course’s unrivaled beauty so I figure I’d just let my pictures do the talking.  I would once again like to thank the entire Liar North family for putting up with me for three long, yet fun-filled, days.

Until next time.

What’s a trip to Augusta without a little Jack Daniels?

I was a little upset Liar North hadn’t photo-shopped my picture onto this book.  It would have been a hearty welcome.

About to tee off at Highland Creek.  It’s not Augusta but it certainly ain’t bad.

Cherry blossoms in full bloom adorned the course…

…as did Poison Ivy, and not the good Uma Thurman-in-a-skin-tight-green-outfit-battling-Batman Poison Ivy.  The kind of Poison Ivy where, if you hit your golf ball anywhere near it, you just leave it there for fear of infection.

Jack and Coke in full effect!

My biggest fan

Beautiful golf by sunset.

More beautiful golf.  If only my score reflected it.

What’s a national championship game without a full plate of nachos?

Day two of golf, finishing off the Jack.

At long last, Augusta.  Here’s the pairings for Wednesday’s tournament.

Oh, and look who we just happened to run into while walking onto the course.  Perhaps you’ve heard of Arnold Palmer?

Ian Woosnam watching Justin Rose putt one out

The always stylish Ian Poulter

Freddie Couples and Mark O’Meara

Freddie Couples deserves a little more love here considering, at 52, he was atop the leaderboard after Friday’s round

Fans gather at the Masters

As you can see, it was a relatively crowded day at Augusta.

Miguel Angel Jimenez almost hit me with his golf ball.  I promptly forgave him.

He smoked his cigar and walked away.

David Toms, Harrison Frazar and Ryan Palmer all stuck their tee shots this close to the pin.

Palmer approaches the green with his daughter on his shoulders.

My entire trip, I never hit a golf shot this close.  I won’t be giving up my day job.

More of the par three course

Not to be confused with Cee Lo Green, ESPN’s Mike Tirico, the voice of golf

And more of Couples and O’Meara

As one friend chimed in, the new face of golf

What you’ve been waiting so patiently for.  Amen Corner.

The Ben Hogan Bridge over Rae’s Creek

The green at Azalea, the Par 5 13th

Unfortunately, our day at the Masters ended due to incoming thunderstorms.  Play was called and all were asked to leave the course.

What’s a trip to Augusta without paying my respects to the Godfather of Soul?

Click here for My journey to Augusta National, Part One

Click here for My journey to Augusta, Part Two: Traaaaaveling

Click here for My journey to Augusta, Part Three: Bourbon, bogies and unibrows

41 thoughts on “My journey to Augusta, Part Four: The course, of course and a pictorial

  1. Pingback: My journey to Augusta, Part Four: The course, of course and a pictorial - BallHyped, Golf | BallHyped Sports Blogs

  2. As you probably know, D, you submit your name into Augusta’s pool for however many tickets you want to buy for each particular day.

    I happened to win four tickets to Wednesday’s round only.

    Trust me, I didn’t want to leave. Can you imagine being there on Sunday?

    I will say this though. Being there on Wednesday was pretty cool. Since the Par Three is a separate course, you can pretty much walk the main course with not that many people on it.

  3. I believe I’ll have a Jack & coke and linger a little longer at Amen Corner.
    Thanks for the pics brother, I owe you one.

  4. Wonderful post! Terrific pix!

    Yr obviously not showing Liar North’s pix to maintain his secret identity? :)

    Loved the post. Great job. Always enjoy yr spin on sports reporting SC!

    M

  5. I actually didn’t know how tickets became available. Do they draw Thursday-Sunday tickets from the same pool?

  6. Aer…

    There is something about that corner of the course that’s just captivating.

    You literally go there, look at it and stay for twenty, thirty, forty minutes or longer.

    Breathtaking.

  7. M…

    There were obviously some pictures taken of Liar North in compromising positions but he asked me not to disclose those.

    Although posting his image might bring up traffic among my female demographic.

  8. D, correct.

    When I get it in the mail, I’ll send you the link for next year so you can get in.

    You just basically click on as many tickets as you want, hoping you’ll win them.

    So for example, you have the option to click, I believe, four tickets per day for the Tuesday and Wednesday practice rounds at $50, and then each day of the tourney Thursday through Sunday for $100 each.

    Cameras are allowed on the course for the practice rounds, but not for the tourney. And no cellphones.

  9. Here’s the funny thing about this latest trip, D.

    Since I had already been up there once, I resigned myself to the fact that this second time would probably be my last, that I had already been there enough.

    Then I got there and said to myself that I would definitely go back.

    Like I said, I totally wanted to stay for the weekend.

  10. GREAT PHOTOS!!!

    Only problem I had was the mention of Celo Green and Mike Tirico in the same sentence. CG has talent and doesn’t beat on women.

    THANKS FOR SHARING.

  11. Wow, Ron.

    I hadn’t heard that about Tirico. Or did I and just forgot about it?

    I looked it up on Wikipedia, the internet source for all things fabricated, and it said he was suspended from the network for sexual harassment back in 1992.

    I can tell you this. He has put on some serious poundage so running from the authorities these days would be a lot more difficult.

  12. Sick pics. So who ended up winning? /s

    I heard it was the least watched masters Sunday since 2004. Surprising since Phil was in the hunt and the playoff played for a damn exciting finish.

    -Mike Tirico is actually my neighbor. Great guy, but even better voice!

  13. Good point, Al. There was extended stay at the 19th for sure. Great time though. A vacation well-needed.

    I just left a comment on your Dwight-Bynum piece. I think I’m officially over talking about the Magic for now. We’ve beaten that horse to death.

    We’ll see what happens in the playoffs and how long Stan Van gets to keep his job after that.

  14. DHS…

    Paddy Harrington won the Par Three.

    Lowest ratings since 2004? I find that hard to believe, man. It was one of the best endings we’ve had in recent years.

    You’re right, that’s odd since Phil was in contention, and Bubba, although not a household name prior to this weekend, is a great story and largely considered one of the better up-and-coming American golfers out there.

    Maybe it’s all those protesting that a female has never played the course. Or is it just their membership. Kinda hard to keep track, what with all the rampant sexism running around.

  15. Chris, your ‘biggest fan’ seems to be a bit of a blow-hard. Just saying.

    I’ve never been a big fan of golf, but I never miss the Masters. And what a finish this year… Tense, Emotional, Classic.

  16. I don’t think anyone would want their daughter/girlfriend/ working as an intern at ESPN during the early 90′s under Tirico’s watch.

    Chris as you mentioned you were a Gator alumnus. Care to comment on this negative Urban Meyer S/News piece?

    http://aol.sportingnews.com/ncaa-foo…M&sct=hp_t2_a3.

  17. Mun…

    That first course we played in Charlotte was in pretty good shape, and I’m not just saying that because I scored the best on it. I guess they have those huge fans out there to help dry out the greens. Not sure, didn’t ask.

    It definitely wasn’t to cool off my game.

    Never been a fan of golf? Mun. Why not?

  18. RB…

    A buddy sent me that earlier.

    Being still pretty bitter about the whole Meyer thing, I just kind of scanned over it, but here’s my take.

    Meyer has to take some sort of accountability for what happened there, the good and the bad. If there were coach’s favorites, like there aren’t everywhere, then that’s fine.

    But if he’s talking about a culture that developed, then who the hell’s responsible for that.

    The NFL recently suspended Sean Payton, previously one of the more likeable coaches in the league, for the Gregg Williams scandal. Stan Van Gundy is being blamed for what’s going on in Orlando. If there was a thuggish culture that went out of control in Gainesville, well, I would think Meyer’s the one to blame, no?

    It’s called accountability.

  19. Chris

    <a href="http:/ SVG might just be more secure in his current position than Ozzie Guilllen may well be with the Marlins . WTF was he thinking concerning his comments with regard to Fidel Castro , especially where more than half the population of Miami now happens to be of Cuban lineage and anti Castro .

    USA Today

    Ozzie Guillen on the hot seat over Fidel Castro remarks

    None of those comments, however, evoked either the firestorm of reaction or the contrition on his part over Guillen’s latest controversial remarks.

    Guillen, the new manager of the renamed Miami Marlins, is returning to Miami to hold a 10:30 a.m. news conference Tuesday at Marlins Park, with the intent of apologizing in person and answering questions about his expressed admiration for Cuban dictator Fidel Castro. The club has the day off in the midst of a three-game series in Philadelphia against the Phillies.

    MORE: Guillen to address Castro comments in Miami
    COLUMN: Weir: Marlins need to suspend Guillen
    PHOTOS: Ozzie Guillen: Colorful and controversial

    “I want the people there,” Guillen told news reporters before Monday’s 6-2 victory against the Phillies. “I feel very guilty, sad and embarrassed. Anyone who wants to be there, feel free. I want the Cuban people to understand what I’m going to say, because everything I’m going to say is true.”

    Ozzie Guillen became known as perhaps baseball’s most outspoken figure during eight years of making often-outrageous statements as manager of the Chicago White Sox, once getting fined for uttering a homophobic slur.

    —————————————————————

    Click on link to read in full .

    ————————————

    Things you can do in Miami to alienate the Cuban American community ………. hail Castro . Promote socialism as a worthwhile cause . Thanks to Guillen he’s now done both in one fail swoop .

    Now in light of a public apology statement at the team’s headquarters (Tuesday) that won’t abate the outrage amongst the fans . What a butt-hole Guillen just happens to be ! Freedom of speech or not , that’s a comment he should’ve kept private and in the confines of his own domain. There’s a reason why I no longer supported the ball-club because from top to bottom within the Marlins’ organizations is filled with group of dumb ##sholes ! Guillen simply embodies that alongside Dave Sansom .

    tophatal …………

  20. Pretty interesting stuff going on down there in South Florida, Al.

    Hey, but at least we now know where Guillen stands politically.

    In any other town, his comments might not have been so inflammatory but Fidel’s not so popular down in South Florida.

    We’ll see if Ozzie remains quiet over the next few weeks and lets this thing blow over, but then again, that just wouldn’t be Ozzie being Ozzie.

  21. Chris

    Sth Fla is Sth Florida is a law unto itself . As for Guillen if he can’t get this team deep into the playoffs then his tenure will be looked upon as a massive failure . The money spent on this roster is outlandish given he the bul_s#it we heard from owner Jeff Loria over the years concerning the Marlins’ financial viability . Never mind the idiocy of the stadium issue and the city of Miami . The city is on the hook for $575 million . And there are residents in the St Pete/Tampa area who want to see a new venue for the Rays while both cities’ infrastructure just happens to be in the crapper .

    Back on the winning trail for the Magic for now but I can’t wait for the next blowout from Laurel & <b< Hardy as their now growing schtick has become as riotous as it is infantile !

    Today’s game between the Celtics and Heat should prove to be really entertaining given the Celtics’ run since the NBA All Star Game.

    What do you think of the Magic’s play overall based on their stats ? See info’ provided here Magic team splits Good enough do you think to take them deep into the postseason ?

    A prospective first round match-up would have them playing the Pacers over who they have a 3-1 series’ lead for the season so far. .

    tophatal ……….

  22. I gained five pounds just looking at that pic of the nachos.

    I have never seen Cee Lo or Tirico in the same place. Hmmmm…

    James Brown and Sports Chump…two of the hardest working men in the history of entertainment.

  23. So Guillen was suspended five games by the Marlins, Al, but not by the league. I didn’t think the league would get into it but I guess I’m not surprised the Marlins did something. I’m sure there was plenty of uproar from their fan base. Wait, they have a fan base, right? Oh well, so much for speaking one’s mind.

    The Magic are currently in sixth place, Al, where they were recently in third. I don’t think they’re in too much danger of missing the playoffs but they can’t afford to drop to 7 or 8. That’s going to be post-season no man’s land.

    I’m not overly concerned with the Pacers.

  24. SA…

    You should hear my James Brown “Sex Machine” for karaoke. Brings the house down.

    And Mrs. Liar North were watching at Liar North and me, stinking of golf and bourbon, as we dove into that plate of nachos.

    Let’s just say at the time, they tasted like the best nachos ever.

  25. Sounds like an awesome trip man! I gotta make it out there one day. It’s nice to see you had one fan in your gallery!

  26. Chris

    Watching the Magic play is almost as painful as a visit to a urologist only for him to tell you it’s time for that annual finger probe of your rectum . Need I say anymore on the matter ?

    As for Guillen let him continue to play the proverbial a@s and he’ll be sent on a slow boat down to Cuba to join Elian Gonzalez , Fidel and Raul Castro . I hear Cuba is quite nice this time of year ?

    So Goodell upholds his original decision concerning Loomis , Payton and Vitt . Now what ? The union on the other hand has hired multi faceted law firm Fulbright & Jaworski </a. to represent its members in the ongoing procedural investigation by he NFL . What type of justice is this meant to be ? Got any answers ?

    Let me know what you think of the following ?

    Justice By Any Means Necessary But Not Necessarily So In The NFL ……….

    tophatal …………

  27. That fan of yours is going to be one more than Dwight Howard has if he keeps this childish behavior up. What a disaster…

  28. Al…

    I think I’m giving up watching regular season NBA. At this point, with only two weeks left, it’s either about resting superstars or jockeying for playoff position.

    I’m ready for the post-season.

    I guess it only goes to show even a 66-game season might be too much, or at least just enough.

    Re: Guillen, I’m working on a special post. Trying to land a few, very special contributors, if they’re willing.

    And Goodell upholding the New Orleans suspensions surprises me not one bit.

  29. A) Love the pics of Miguel Angel Jimenez, or as my wife likes to call him, “The Spanish Pirate.”

    B) Good to see you drank your weight in Jack Daniels.

    C) Perhaps you should start a blog version of “On the Road with Charles Kuralt.”

  30. As I recall, Dub, Kuralt like to tip back a few back in the day.

    Only problem is, the younger generation’s never even heard of him.

    I guess that’s their fault, not ours.

  31. Very envious that you made this trip Chris. To have experienced Augusta during the time of the Masters is something that every true golf fan desires to be a part of. Hopefully one of these days I’ll be able to make the trip myself. Thanks for sharing.

    Cheers!
    Jed

  32. Pingback: Sports Chump » What if? The solo hole-in-one scenario

  33. Pingback: What if, the solo hole-in-one scenario | The Sports Blitz

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