How is this column different from all the other Masters columns? It's a riddle

Monday April 9th, 2012

Augusta National Golf Club
Sports Illustrated
Where could the Augusta afikomen be?


AUGUSTA, Ga. -- Tom Watson can tell you about the tradition of searching for the afikomen. (His first wife was Jewish and so are his kids.) So can Corey Pavin (formerly Jewish), John Feinstein and Skip Kendall, who finished 56th here some years ago. The late Herbert Warren Wind could, too. (The New Yorker golf writer was a master of the old adage, dress British, think Yiddish.) Somewhere on the great links of Augusta, an afikomen was hidden Friday at High Noon. It is wrapped in a green wrapper that once held an egg salad sandwich. There will be a special prize for its finder.

The afikomen is a piece of matzo that an adult hides in the early stages of the Passover Seder so that squirmy kids may search for it, stay with the proceedings, and receive a finder's reward at the end of the evening. It's a Hebrew word with Greek roots that means dessert. How a piece of unleavened bread became an after-dinner treat is one of the great marketing tricks of all-time.

This first Friday in April is a triple whammy of a holy day: the second round of the Masters, Good Friday and, come sunset, the first night of Passover. Each in its own way celebrates spring, just as those green jackets represent renewal. Eggs abound at all three. Searches, too. Can you believe Phil lost a ball on 10 on Thursday, with all those people out there?

Part of Masters tradition is the pimento-cheese sandwich, and the seder has a traditional sandwich of its own, the so-called Hillel Sandwich. (Don't even ask.) As for the connection between the Earl of Sandwich and the Royal St. Georges Golf Club, we'll leave that for another time. I think it is safe to say that Darren Clarke, winner last year at Sandwich, will not be joining the SI Golf+ Afikomen Hunt, as he is busy searching for other missing things.

During the morning of the second round, I took the liberty of hiding an afikomen on the celebrated Augusta National links. I was nervous about bringing the matzo into the hallowed grounds, as you are not allowed to bring food in. I got lucky with my security guard, who actually found the matzo, said to me, "See you brought your crackers," and let me go. Thank you, ma'am.

I was thinking of asking Watson's caddie, my friend Neil Oxman, an afikomen searcher from way back, to hide it on the 13th tee. Why would the 13th tee be different from all other potential hiding spots? Well, it would have been a little tribute to Bruce Edwards, Watson's late and faithful caddie, who used to take a sandwich break on the bench at 13. But that's not where it is.

Augusta National is a big piece of land, so let me give you some hints as to the hiding place of the Masters afikomen. If you think you know where it is and are not on property, leave a note in the comments section below. If you find it on the course, you'll see a card with a telephone number to claim your prize.

The winner will receive a copy of The Big Miss, signed by its reluctant subject, Tiger Woods. Or if that cannot be arranged, maybe another golf book with a similar theme. In any event, your hints are below.

Select one key word per lyric sample, put them together and you will be well on your way. A happy holiday greeting to you and yours. As they say at Sunday Mass here, May good putting be with you.

1. The first cut is the deepest (Rod Stewart)

2. Tea for two (Doris Day)

3. I'mma can keep the paper running like a pair of aces (Lil Wayne)

4. I'm wrapped in sheets of milky winter disorder (Belle & Sebastian)

5. Stand in the place where you live (REM)

 

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