Our long awaited trip to the Masters marks exactly half way through our three month American adventure, and boy was it a good one. We had been talking about coming to this event for the last 6 months so it was really surreal to finally be there and to be walking around the famous golf course that Tyrrell had watched on TV since he was a child. Coincidentally we had family out from both my side and Tyrrells side which was an extra special touch for the week, especially so as we hadn’t seen any of them for over six weeks.
Initially, we were very surprised by the drive through Augusta to get to the golf course. The road leading up to Augusta National is tired looking and cluttered with bars and fast food chains, then you turn into Magnolia Lane and it’s a completely different world. Everything is pruned to perfection, it transforms into a beautiful lush landscape.
Our first port of call was to check out the facilities and sign in ready for the par 3 contest on Wednesday. Tyrrell ended up signing his name next to Jon Rahm and Nick Faldo, which would have been a hell of a three ball to play your first par three contest with. However, the weather had other plans which eventually meant that the par three had to be cancelled due to an incoming storm cell right around the time they were due to tee off.
The first two days were absolutely fantastic, T played practice rounds with Dustin Johnson (before his freak accident), Angel Cabrera, Gary Woodland, Brooks Koepka and last year’s champion, Danny Willett. You turn up on the tee whenever you’re ready and play with whomever also joins the tee, fortunately T got some great pairings to share experience and advice with.
Tyrrell’s dad and coach, Jeff Hatton, was going to caddy for T in the par three this year. We arrived a few hours early to be told about severely bad weather so Jeff and T suited up and jumped onto the course quickly- They managed to play 3 holes before the horn blew and all contestants were called off the course for the day. Unluckily, this was the first time they had cancelled the contest since the 1960’s. But, on the bright side Jeff got to experience 3 holes inside the ropes which was more than some people got to do who were teeing off later in the afternoon.
That evening, T and I braved the tornado weather as we were invited to a cocktail party inside the newly built media center, which is absolutely stunning. We were very privileged to have been invited and to have the opportunity to see the inside of the structure, which has been rumoured to have cost over $50 million and has been inspired by the original war bunker that was used as the very first Masters media tent.
The rest of the week went downhill from there, sadly. Although Tyrrell had been given a fantastic draw with Henrik Stenson and past Masters Champion Angel Cabrera, it didn’t do much to help with what was already in the cards for the tournament. The weather couldn’t have been more different than how we had expected it to be. We had a tornado warning one evening as well as severe storm warnings on multiple nights. Combined with one of the hardest course in the world, it didn’t bode well for Tyrrell making the cut at his first Masters appearance. Hopes were set so high for the week with how T had been playing and with how excited he was to play the course, but it just wasn’t meant to be.
On a more positive note, the course itself was absolutely immaculate. There wasn’t a blade of grass out of place. Even with wet weather and muddy conditions, the very next day patches of mud had been covered like they never had happened. I could swear they even sprayed the grass green!
The thing that stands out the most for me though was that there were no phones allowed. I still felt naughty the week afterward at Harbour town having my phone out! Although initially inconvenient for meeting up with people, it was quite nice to know there would be no phones beeping at the top of player’s backswings. It felt peaceful. There was no shouting, no running, just birds tweeting and the occasional roar across the estate even though there were 40,000+ people each day. It definitely just felt different to any other golf tournament we had been to. The atmosphere was just incredible.
The other great thing about this tournament is that the concessions were fair. You were not allowed to bring food or drink into the grounds, but in exchange you were only charged $1.50 for a sandwich and $5 for a beer with a masters cup you could keep. I think it’s great that they don’t capitalise on your basic needs like food and drink. The pimento cheese sandwich, in case you were wondering, was definitely as good as its reputation!
After a frustrating two days, Tyrrell missed his first cut since last summer. It’s been a long run out here and I think it’s finally starting to catch up on T. So, we spent the weekend trying to recuperate as much as we could ready to be fresh for the RBC Heritage the following week. It was great to even be in Augusta for the Masters so what an achievement it was to be able to play in the tournament. It was also lovely to spend some extra time with the family, we finished off the week with a group meal at Bonefish Grill on Sunday evening before everyone flew home the next day.
It’s so strange how you look forward to something for so long and then all of a sudden its behind you. After two days of relaxation and an afternoon watching Justin Rose and Sergio Garcia battle it out for the green jacket (which was fantastic to watch), we were packed and ready to move onto the next tournament. The Masters already seemingly a distant memory on our drive to Hilton Head ready for the RBC Heritage, which can be seen soon on Wife on Tour. If you’re not already, subscribe to my blog using the right hand column for regular updates on what happens as the travelling partner of a golf professional.
*Most of the photos on this blog post were taken by the talented Nigel Tilley, Tyrrells physio for the week. If you’re reading this, Thank you Nige!!*