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Keeping up with the Jones: A bad day at the Masters?

By |  May 2, 2022 0 Comments
Photo: Seth Jones

Photo: Seth Jones

There’s a saying that there’s no such thing as a bad day fishing, but I’ve successfully challenged that trope. My bad day fishing included a hooked pelican, a hooked gar that our one-armed fishing guide beat the hell out of to unhook, way too much political chit-chat for any relaxation and finally, a mid-morning storm that not only drenched us but also signaled the end of any bites.

If I can find a way to have a bad day fishing, is it possible for me to have a bad trip to the Masters? Let’s find out …

My 2022 Masters experience started out with an unexpected treat: watching my Kansas Jayhawks overcome a 15-point halftime deficit over the University of North Carolina Tarheels in the NCAA Men’s Basketball Championship. I told everyone at our rented house in Augusta, Ga., that going from your team winning a national championship one day to attending the Masters the next is a sports fan’s dream come true.

Following a NCAA tournament win for his Kansas Jayhawks, Seth Jones visited Augusta for the 2022 Masters tournament. (Photo: Golfdom Staff)

Following a NCAA tournament win for his Kansas Jayhawks, Seth Jones visited Augusta for the 2022 Masters tournament. (Photo: Golfdom Staff)

The next morning, we arrived at Augusta National, my first time on the course since the 2019 Masters. It never occurred to me back in April of 2019 that a global pandemic might keep me away for the next two years. I wrote it a few months ago, and I’ll repeat it here: being back at Augusta National was not something I would take for granted.

With bad weather in the forecast, we quickly made our way to Amen Corner for a few photos. Then we went through the chaos of the golf shop to fulfill all our friends’ Masters wish list items. We hustled back onto the course for our Friends of Golfdom meeting at 11 a.m.

Then, boom! The horn sounded at 11 a.m., and we had to clear the course. The sky opened up the rest of the day, ending our Masters experience on Tuesday almost as soon as it began.

On Wednesday, we got back on the course early, again fearful of a forecast for bad weather. And once again, the horn sounded shortly after 11 a.m., just as I was buying a round of drinks for that day’s Friends of Golfdom meet-up. Between that morning’s Golf Writers Association of America annual meeting and choosing the wrong line for concessions, it felt like I barely saw any golf. As we walked off the property, people driving into Augusta National rolled down their windows and asked us, “Why are you walking away?” We were the bearer of bad news to those just rolling in. Sorry folks, the course is closed; the moose outside should have told you.

This time, the sun kept shining and, within about two hours, they reopened the course. We scrambled back in and made our way to the par three tournament just in time for … the horn to sound again. My 2022 Masters experience was over.

As we walked away from the course, my friend and Golfdom Western Regional Sales Manager Jake Goodman looked at me and said, “Dang, Jones … you must have used up all your good karma on that Jayhawks comeback!” “I’m 100 percent good with that, Goody,” I responded. The Jayhawks were still national champions, and even though it was cut short, I was still able to see Augusta National in person again.

A quick look at our Golfdom Gallery section shows that despite being cut short, we still packed in a lot in our three days in Augusta. We saw Tiger. We saw old friends. We met readers. We held a backyard barbecue with our cohorts from Quali-Pro. I heard stories from superintendents on topics ranging from the golf boom brought on by the pandemic to tales of working at some of the finest golf courses in the world. I got to tell a few of my own stories, too and I even made a few new friends.

A bad trip to the Masters? I don’t think it’s possible.

About the Author:

Seth Jones, a 18-year veteran of the golf industry media, is Editor-in-Chief of Golfdom magazine and Athletic Turf. A graduate of the University of Kansas School of Journalism and Mass Communications, Jones began working for Golf Course Management in 1999 as an intern. In his professional career he has won numerous awards, including a Turf and Ornamental Communicators Association (TOCA) first place general feature writing award for his profile of World Golf Hall of Famer Greg Norman and a TOCA first place photography award for his work covering the aftermath of Hurricane Katrina. In his career, Jones has accumulated an impressive list of interviews, including such names as George H.W. Bush, Samuel L. Jackson, Lance Armstrong and Charles Barkley. Jones has also done in-depth interviews with such golfing luminaries as Norman, Gary Player, Nick Price and Lorena Ochoa, to name only a few. Jones is a member of both the Golf Writers Association of America and the Turf and Ornamental Communicators Association. Jones can be reached at sjones@northcoastmedia.net.


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