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AUGUSTA, Ga. – The 86th edition of the Masters Tournament teed off Thursday morning, highlighted by Tiger Woods’ long-awaited comeback, but fans have been gathering at Augusta National Golf Club since Monday to take part in golf’s premier event, and its quirky traditions.
The most common suggestion you’ll get after telling someone you’re going to the Masters is to try the pimento cheese sandwich. If you’re from the south, it’s a familiar dish, but if not – it’s a surprising option, especially considering it’s offered at one of the most prestigious golf clubs in the world.
This simple spread is sandwiched between two slices of untoasted white bread, wrapped in a green bag, and stacked on massive shelves with hundreds of its kind. It’s underwhelming but at the same time perfectly satisfying.
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Perhaps the best part is the price: $ 1.50.
In fact, all the menu items at the Masters are surprisingly affordable. Imported beers for $ 5, a cup of coffee for $ 1.50, a Georgia peach ice cream sandwich for $ 2 – just to name a few.
The general sentiment is that the Masters is an event for the people and the experiences. This is highlighted by the fact that Augusta maintains a strict no-phone policy. Fans, or patrons as they’re referred to, can bring in personal cameras – there were several disposable cameras spotted on the grounds – but no cellphones.
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In case of emergency, there are several public phones placed throughout the course fans can use.
The second suggestion is to wear comfortable shoes, very comfortable. The 18-hole course sits on 365-acres of rolling hills. Pictures can be deceiving but standing by the 9th hole reveals just how hilly the course is.
Comfortable clothing is a must in the humid and rainy Georgia weather but if you’re out of luck, the golf shop at Augusta has endless options. The lines are long, but the process is efficient.
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Tuesday’s practice round was cut short because of the weather, but patrons gathered at the practice area to watch several players, including 20-time PGA Tour winner Rory McIlroy, after the horn sounded.
It was interesting to hear lifelong fans talk about their favorite players with a sense of familiarity.
“Rory looks fit, looks like he’s been working out,” one spectator noted.
The traditions and quirks of the Masters are endless and if you’re ever lucky enough to experience it firsthand, you’d have a new appreciation for Jim Nantz’s catchphrase for it, “a tradition unlike any other.”