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.
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