Now like Jack Nicholson and Morgan Freeman, I can check another thing off my bucket list - being at the Masters!
I would bet there is not a kid on the planet that has not pretended that a final putt on the practice green or on the 18th hole is the one that he needs to win the Masters!
I arrived in Augusta late Tuesday night and got up bright and early to arrive at Augusta National. It took about 30 minutes to go about 5 miles just to get into the parking lot. All along the route, there are people sitting in chairs or standing with signs wanting to buy tickets. I was watching Ernie Els and Jim Furyk putt, and I met a man from Minnesota that told me that practice round tickets were going for $400 each!
I got to the first tee just as Phil Mikkelson and Fred Couples were starting their practice round. Watching these two guys conduct themselves on and off the course, if they ever wanted to get into politics they would win by landslides!
In a practice round, the players can hit a couple of shots or drop some balls in a bunker and try a few shots to test the sand. I was watching Keving Na putt a ball on the ninth green, and I thought he was just testing the speed. He was aiming with his back almost to the hole and it made a left turn and almost went in. I am sure you have heard that, at Augusta, if you miss a green you better miss it in the best location. I really witnessed that.
For you younger players and for those of us who want to get better, I really noticed that the best players in the world are here at the Masters and they practice putting, and practice on the range and work on their bunker play. Most of them also used little aids to help them when the practice.
The Masters merchandise areas are another popular thing at Augusta National. About the only thing I did not see you could get with the Master's logo was a tatoo, but I am sure many die-hard golfers would get one if someone was doing them.
I went out to No. 13 to look at the spot where Phil hit the famous shot last year that some say helped him win last year's Masters. There are not too many golfers that could have hit that shot in that type of pressure situation.
So in wrapping up, I guess I should make my Masters prediction. I think that it will be Phil and Bubba Watson in the hunt on Sunday. As I walked the course today, I was trying to get a game plan for Thursday's round.
There are so many people, so walking along probably will not be an option. I may just grab a different hole each day and watch all of the groups come through.
Hopefully, we will all be golfing soon and enjoying the games of a lifetime!
Steve Kottsick is the pro at Souris Valley Golf Course. He is at the Masters and is writing a column each day.