If you are in Augusta for the Masters or simply watching it on the box...

Golf fan and HITC writer David Kelly talks up the magic of Augusta.

My first visit to the USA was in October 2003, it was a trip I’d always wanted to make since I was a little boy. The primary reason for my visit was that a cousin of mine, from Dublin, was getting married to a beautiful girl from Augusta, GA. I didn’t go straight to Augusta, I visited a friend in Pennsylvania first, then we had a road trip to Boston, then back to Pennsylvania, then I flew to Georgia, wedding was fantastic, then a road trip to Charleston, SC, then I flew to NYC, had an awesome time there, then onwards to Philadelphia for a Halloween party before flying back to Ireland – phew!

But back to Georgia – not being a golf fan it was only while there that family, friends and locals attempted to educate me on the magic, mystery and mystique of The Masters. I didn’t get it – while family and friends went out each morning to play golf, I think at one point it was arranged for some of my Uncles to play on that most sacred of courses, I tended to wander around the town and explore the sights that weren’t golf related. Since then there are now only two golf events that capture my attention, the Ryder Cup and the Masters.

It’s early days at this year’s tournament but already my fellow countrymen are off the pace, messrs McIlroy and McDowell need to shape up or they’ll be shipping out. It will be really interesting to see if Tiger Woods really does mark his return to form and glory during this tournament and there are indications that suggest this could be the case.

So while we don’t know how things will pan out over the weekend, the green jacket is very much up for grabs, while we watch and wait I’ll leave you with a few nuggets:

The first one is a bit of a claim to fame of mine. While in Charleston, South Carolina I frequented an Irish bar called Tommy Condon’s (us Irish, no matter where we go we seek out an Irish bar, it’s a quirk of ours) and while there I met a waitress from Belfast, Brenda was her name. She was on a golf scholarship, I must google her and see if she ever turned pro. Anyhow, one evening she invited me to her house for drinks – she shared a house with Gretchen Zoeller, daughter of the famous Fuzzy Zoeller. So that’s as close I came to meeting golf royalty, quite good for someone, who at the time couldn’t tell the difference between a golf club and a cricket bat, eh? It was a lovely house and Fuzzy had just bought them a TV that nearly covered an entire wall, what a guy! When I was a student my mum and dad bought me a kettle and an Iron (for clothes, not golf).

The second thing I’d like to say, I’ve said it before and I’m saying it again – to Rory McIlroy – you’re freaking me out in those Santander adverts – now you’re standing in some guys bathroom, uninvited, giving him some information that he no doubt will already receive through the post or via email – my inbox is cluttered with them. I don’t want to pay for my current account and I don’t want you in my bathroom. Stop creeping people out and concentrate on your game!

Finally – if you’re in Augusta – check out the Boll Weevil Café on Ninth Street – they do an amazing burger – even at breakfast time. You will not be disappointed!

image: © shan213