It’s Master’s Week, and I couldn’t be more excited. Some people say this is when Augusta looks its best. I disagree. Sure, the streets are cleaner and local establishments put on their best face for the incoming masses. But I prefer Augusta about a half month before, when we get that first little taste of spring weather. The dogwoods, Bradford pears and azaleas are blooming outside of the course. Inside the gates of the Augusta National, they probably use not-yet invented technology, and I think some sort of general wizardry to delay their blooms just for this week.
There are three kinds of locals when it comes to the Masters: There’s the local who can’t stand it. Kind of like fans of a band before they had their radio hit, these people can’t stand all the ‘new people’ or visitors. They are the ones that usually skip town for the week (it is also spring break for schools). The ones that stay curse the extra population and moreso the traffic. Which, in all honesty, isn’t that big of a deal unless you live or work on Washington Road. Most locals generally know how to avoid it.
Second, there’s the local who doesn’t really care one way or the other. They are the ones who live and/or work in an outlying area, are not affected by the traffic and won’t see the first out-of-towner.
Then, there’s the local who absolutely loves this week. They can’t wait for it to get here and then revel in the attention our li’l city gets for one week out of the year. You can count me in this group. I don’t watch golf, I’ve never played a round of golf, and I don’t own any golf clubs. But this week, I’m a golf nut.
Whichever breed of local they are, most of us have been to the course at least once. If you haven’t been, ya wanna go — even if you hate it. This week is perhaps the only week where “going to the course” is an excused absence from work. And, oh, there will be people missing from the office this week.
After the course, if any visitors are looking for the “locals hangout,” you can find most of us in the spots where we think the visitors go. Celebrity sightings have been a thing every Masters Week since I was a kid: “Didja see Mark Wahlberg at Hooters?” Last year, I heard about a Matt Ryan sighting at the Country Club. Then, there’s the numerous Bill Murray stories that are told every year. I always hear about them, but have never seen one. Nope. Not one celebrity sighting in my entire 40 years in this city. Oh, I hear about ’em all the time, though. Sometimes, it’ll be I “just missed them” or they “came in after I left.” It feels kind of like ’Squatch hunting.
But, no matter what kind of local we are or how we spend this week, we’re all very proud of being the home of golf’s most prestigious event. And we all keep an eye on the “tunnamint” to see what will be the “Masters Moment” this year.
And we all hate the “GET IN THE HOLE!” guy.