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Masters 2022: No rain on this parade

By |  April 12, 2022 0 Comments
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)

My 2022 Masters got off to an unusual start, but it was something I have done before: watch my Jayhawks in the NCAA Championship game while in Augusta, Ga.

My first Masters was in 2003, the year Mike Weir won. I had tickets to both the Final Four and the Masters that year, a first-timer for both events. I remember the feeling of leaving the Final Four in New Orleans after one game (Kansas beat Marquette in the semi-final) to get to Augusta. My KU friends called me crazy. I told them, I don’t know if I’ll ever get an invite to the Masters again!

I went from watching the Jayhawks win in the Superdome to watching them lose to Syracuse in a packed Augusta restaurant. The restaurant was apathetic to the results of the game. I was crushed because at age 25, you take those games hard (and this was before they won it in all 2008). I thought to myself, maybe if I had stayed they would have won? Crazy fans think this way …

Here it was 19 years later and I’m again watching KU play in the national championship game in Augusta. This time the results were different. Kansas — again playing in New Orleans — set a record, overcoming the largest first-half deficit (15 points) in NCAA championship game history.

I turned and told my friends when your favorite team wins the national championship game … and the next day you’re going to Augusta National for the Masters … that’s about as good of a sports week as you can get.

Returning to ANGC

After a two-year hiatus from attending the Masters because of the pandemic, it was a surreal feeling to walk through the gates again. I ditched my normal Masters attire of a Golfdom shirt and khakis in favor of a bright red KU windbreaker and a KU hat that should have been retired years ago. I walked the grounds feeling like nothing in the world could get me down.

And then, about three hours in, the horn sounded. My return to the Masters was cut short.

The Golfdom and Quali-Pro group were joined by some industry professionals at a backyard barbecue. (Photo: Golfdom Staff)

The Golfdom and Quali-Pro group were joined by some industry professionals at a backyard barbecue. (Photo: Golfdom Staff)

No worries, I said to my friends, apparently still feeling the previous evening’s high. We’ll still make a day of it, and we’ll be back again tomorrow.

That afternoon we ran into some superintendent friends from the Boston area, a few from New Jersey and of course we also saw John Daly. We headed back to our rented house and grilled out. Our crew was a combination of Golfdom and Quali-Pro staff. Back at the house, we were joined by supers from Texas and Connecticut. It was great to hang out. Not often do we get to do that with such a diverse group.

Though I didn’t see much golf that day, I did hear a bevy of story ideas and angles. Joe Kinlin, a superintendent in New Jersey, talked to me about what the golf boom in 2021 did for his club and how they handled it. Steve Loughran talked about working construction in the northeast. I learned of a unique golf course that I should add to my travel itinerary soon. It’s conversations like these that can turn a rain-out at Augusta into a success.

Wednesday at the Masters

Going into Wednesday at Augusta National, hope sprung eternal. But the forecast told us that you can have hope in one hand and …

After the Golf Writers Association meeting, I trekked down toward Amen Corner. The crowd was insane! And Tiger was on the course. The whole vibe was electric.

After getting stuck at a crossing, I ran into a big group of guys from Virginia that consisted of Paul Van Buren, Kanawha; Jay Wade, Magnolia Green; Ryan Dwyer, Viniterra; Brent Graham, Two Rivers; Jeremy Waddell, Golden Horseshoe and Chris Roberts, Landscape Supply.

I invited those guys to join me at the Friends of Golfdom meetup at Amen Corner and I’m sure they regretted their decision to join me. We went through the Amen Corner concessions so we wouldn’t arrive empty-handed … and I chose the WRONG LINE. We waited for 30 minutes, maybe more, to trudge through that line. To quote Dwyer, “I blame Seth!” And I do too, Ryan!

As we were almost through the concessions, the horn again sounded … shortly after 11 a.m. They were clearing the course again, despite what seemed to be clear skies.

The return to an in-person tournament allowed us to catch up with some friends of Golfdom at the 2022 Masters. (Photo: Golfdom Staff)

Seth Jones celebrated the Jayhawks’ good karma with some friends of the magazine while in Augusta. (Photo: Golfdom Staff)

We left the course but were hopeful they would re-open soon. Sure enough, when the storms didn’t materialize, they opened the gates. It was a mad dash to get back and get as much golf in as possible. The par three contest was underway.

After a slow trip through the Pro Shop, I was back on the course. I got in another hour or two, and a little of the par three contest, when the siren went off again. That was the anticlimactic end to my 2022 ANGC experience.

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.

The Golf Writers dinner

Seth Jones is joined by Golfdom's Jake Goodman (left) and Craig MacGreger (right) at the Golf Writers Dinner. (Photo: Golfdom Staff)

Seth Jones is joined by Golfdom’s Jake Goodman (left) and Craig MacGregor (right) at the Golf Writers Dinner. (Photo: Golfdom Staff)

The trip wasn’t quite over yet, as we still had the Golf Writers dinner, which is always a fun treat to see the players and writers being honored. Collin Morikawa accepted the 2021 GWAA male player of the year award and Nelly Korda accepted the 2021 GWAA female player of the year.

Adam Scott accepted the ASAP/Jim Murray Award, which is given to a player who has been especially cordial to the media over the years. I know I voted for Scott, as he has always been giving of his time when I’ve approached him.

Scott, who won a green jacket himself in 2013, accepted the award and deadpanned in his Aussie accent, “It’s been a little over 20 years I’ve been talking to the Golf Writers … so honestly I think I deserve this award.”

With that, we packed it up and headed back to the airport. Our 2022 Masters trip was over. We saw some old friends and made some new ones. Despite all the rain on our parade, it was a success.

Hope to see you there next year.

Photo: Quali-Pro

Photo: Quali-Pro

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