Masters Golf

Tiger Woods hits from the third tee during the third round for the Masters on Saturday.

Let’s take a look at what probably happens. Reporters and journalists from all around the world would certainly relish an assignment that allows them to come to this tournament and write about it for their paper or magazine. Admittedly some of these people are very good golfers, but there are probably a goodly number who have played very little golf in their life and even a goodly number who have never played before.

Then the club offers each one of them a chance to play a round on the same course that they have been reporting the golf shots of pros from all around the world during the Masters. Now just think about it for a minute. If you had never played golf before and you received such an offer, what would you do? Play golf of course! Then you could go back home to your country and tell everyone that you had played the Augusta National!

Now it is people like this who make it so dangerous to work on the course on the same day that members of the press corps are playing. There are just so many people who aren’t golfers on it.

Just before the tournament one of our nursery crew’s jobs was to help in putting out ropes all over the course to provide order and some measure of control of all the crowds.

That first Monday morning after the Masters golf for the press began. On that very day our nursery crew was given the job of taking down all these ropes and almost immediately found ourselves dodging golf balls. We would be along the side of a fairway doing our job when “zap,” a ball would come soaring toward us with no warning whatsoever.

Pardon my French, but these fellows were lousy golfers. Perhaps they had been busy with pressing matters and had not had time to practice. Whatever the reason, I would have felt right at home in a foursome of these fellows as they were hitting their golf balls all over that course.

The club has a tradition of the caddies carrying with them a bag filled with green soil with rye seed mixed in it. When a player makes a divot a couple of hands full of this soil-seed mix is used to fill the hole. The rye sprouts and in a matter of days that fairway hole is completely healed.

Finally, after having dodged a number of shots that morning and almost being hit several times, someone in view of us made a shot that hit our utility golf cart — WHAM — right in the side! As our work crew was all around the cart, we were very lucky that one of us did not get hit.

One of our crew, who had suffered a painful blow from a golf ball in previous years from these fellows of the press, shouted out to this foursome to watch where they were hitting. He was really upset, and as the players approached us I tried to release the hard feelings by saying that didn’t they know that they were to shout “seven” when one of their balls was headed toward a person on the course? (Usually one shouts “fore,” but this is a high-class course!)

The answer that came from the press corps member that had hit the ball immediately set us all to laughing in stitches. In his delightful, perfect accent he said something to the effect of, “By Jove, I say old chap, I didn’t know my ball went that way!”

It was quite obvious that this visitor to our country was not a golfer at all but could now go back home to his island nation home and tell everyone that he had played the beautiful Augusta National.

I would be willing to bet you that the number of divots he left behind that day came very close to his golf score! The club certainly did not have enough green dirt to fill all these holes and, after a day with the press from all over the world playing on it, would be busy just getting the fairways ready for next year.

This is the final part of a four part column series. Tommy Robins is a Rome native who has worked on the nursery crew at Augusta National Golf Club, home of The Masters. He owned a landscaping business but is now retired and resides in Cave Spring.