Postcard from Augusta: Surviving the dreaded Golf Shop experience


OK, I’ve survived the Main Golf Shop experience.

As one customer said in the line with a wait of about 30 minutes with twists and turns in a cordoned-off section: “This is like a Disneyland ride.”

The new expanded store has probably doubled in size if not larger with 16 checkout lines, but they are all about 20-30 people deep. I did not buy one of the new Masters gnomes. I did spend most of my kids’ inheritances, however, which I realize may come as a shock to both them and my wife.

BUELLER? BUELLER?: Talked to a nice chap from Phoenix, Ariz., who readily admitted that he had taken his 10-year-old son, Corbin, out of school for a first-ever trip to the Masters. Can’t blame Chris Vierkoetter at all. Ferris would be proud.

The 37-year-old man, who owns a dance studio with his wife, was decked out in Rickie Fowler-orange shirt and cap, but doesn’t quite have the same game.

“I try to look the part,” he said, “but I don’t have half his game. This is a blast.”

He bought an Augusta flag for Corbin, who stood in wait during a special area marked for juniors under the age of 16.

“He’s really a hockey player,” Vierkoetter said, “but I first took him out for golf when he was 5. I could have come with one of my buddies, but he’ll be able to remember this.”

SPLIT LOYALTIES: Ran into a nice young lady from Houston. Paige Fredrickson and her parents were checking out the course for the first time. Both her mom and dad went to Texas, but she graduated from Missouri and worked in the sports information department there before going to work in corporate communications.

She did not go to the Texas Bowl last December, when the Longhorns knocked off her Tigers, because she was so torn between the two teams. “I couldn’t win,” she said.

LAWN CARE: Augusta National is so meticulous, so well-groomed that even the lawn in front of the Press Building is mowed daily at 4 a.m. by the heavy mowers to keep its pristine, beautiful green look. My question: They only mow it once a day?

You think the golf course is in exquisite shape, well, the same goes for the lawn in front of the media center.

And I’m told they overseed it as well. Yes, they overseed the media lawn.

TIGERMANIA IN OVERDRIVE: You think there’s no hype for the return of Tiger Woods to the Masters after a two-year absence?

The Golf Channel even went so far as to track the mere mention of his name during the Monday and Tuesday player press conferences. As of now, the count was 130 total mentions by the 18 players who showed up at the Press Building for an average of 7.2 per player.

Jason Day was on the biggest Tiger bandwagon. He invoked the four-time Masters champion’s name a whopping 18 times.



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