AUGUSTA, Ga. — The greatest walk on the greatest golf course at the greatest tournament isn’t what you’d expect.
It isn’t with the marquee group on Thursday, or with an aging legend on Friday, or with the leaders on Sunday.
It’s not with players who can bomb it, or alongside holes that require the most delicate of chips or the trickiest of putts.
The greatest walk at Augusta National during Masters week doesn’t involve watching a single shot of golf.
The jaunt avails itself on Wednesday evening, with faint roars from the Par-3 Contest in the distance. While thousands cram the short course to watch pros hit three-quarter wedges and cute kids caddie and Paulina Gretzky smile, one of the most exclusive golf clubs in the world is left unguarded, and cameras are still allowed.
Yet this year it never happened.
When storms shuttered the course at 1:25 p.m. Wednesday, patrons shuffled to the gates instead of down the slippery hill to Amen Corner.
What a bummer. How often does one get to the grounds of Augusta National, which is more of a sanctuary than a golf course? How often does a course become the venue for a leisurely stroll through time?
History is everywhere. The spots where Phil pulverized a 6-iron on 13 in 2010, where Larry Mize chipped in on 11 to beat Norman, where Tiger electrified the masses with his chip-in on 16 in ’05—all there for the taking.
Any tournament can provide birdies and bogeys, Rory and DJ, thrills and spills. But at the Masters, the allure of the event is the stage upon which it is played.
And never does that stage look more enchanting than it does during a peaceful walk on Masters eve.
Just not this year.