At Augusta, my name is mud

Saturday at the 2008 Masters.
Al Tielemans/SI

The next time someone asks me for my most embarrassing moment, I’ll have a new item on the long list of mishaps and humiliations to choose from.

On Saturday, after the rain had let up and play resumed, I followed the Jim Furyk-Vijay Singh pairing for a couple holes. I watched them hit from the tee box on the short par-4 No. 3, and then started to walk down a slope connecting the tee box to the fairway. The key word here is “started.” After about two steps on the slick mud, my feet flew up and I landed square on my, uh, lower back, followed by my upper back and head, and then slid about 20 feet down the hill, in full view of the 300 or so people surrounding the green on No. 2 and the tee box on No. 3.

When I got up, uninjured except for my dignity, my entire backside was covered in mud, from my hair down to about the back of my knees. I felt like a mud person at Woodstock as I walked back to the rental house to change. Fortunately, I was the recipient of Augusta hospitality — not for the first time this week — when a guy lent me his jacket to wear, which managed to cover up the worst of the damage.

A gallery guard told me I wasn’t the only patron to take a spill on the wet ground Saturday, and the grounds crew later spilled gravel on the patron walkways to give traction over the slickest parts.

“For what it’s worth, that was a pretty graceful fall,” another witness told me. “Once you were down, you just rode the hill all the way down.”

At least I got that going for me, which is nice.