Monthly Archives: March 2018

Tournament Tips & Landmarks

Guide to The Masters

Course LandmarksMagnolia Lane – tree-lined main entrance to Augusta National

Founders Circle – two plaques honoring founding members Clifford Roberts and Bobby Jones at the base of the flagpole in front of the clubhouse

Crow’s Nest – a cupola atop the clubhouse that provides tournament housing for amateur players 

Oak-TreeBig Oak Tree – a gathering spot for media interviews behind the clubhouse

Rae’s Creek between the 11th and 12th greens 

Hogan Bridge at No. 12 green 

Nelson Bridge at No. 13 tee

Sarazen Bridge at No. 15 green

3.-Landmark--Arnold-Palmer-Plaque-behind-No.-16-teeArnold Palmer Plaque behind No. 16 tee 

Jack Nicklaus Plaque between Nos. 16 and 17

Record Fountain to the left of No. 17 green

Augusta National Golf Club cabins

Ike’s Pond – a spring-fed, 3-acre pond on the Par-3 Course behind Eisenhower Cabin

Par 3 Fountain – adjacent to No. 1 tee on Par 3 course; includes list of Par 3 Contest winners 

 

Prohibited Items
• Cell phones/cellular-capable devices
• Beepers
• Electronic devices/tablets
• Any device capable of transmitting video
• Backpacks, bags and purses larger than 10” x 10” x 12” (in its natural state)
• Cameras on tournament days*
• Weapons of any kind (regardless of permit)
• Radios/TVs/noise- or music-producing devices
• Two-way or other talk radios
• Folding armchairs/rigid type chairs
• Flags/banners/signs
• Strollers
• Food/beverages/coolers
• Golf shoes with metal spikes
• Ladders/periscopes/selfie sticks

 *Cameras (still photography/personal use only) are allowed at practice rounds on Monday, Tuesday and Wednesday. 

Violation of these policies will subject the ticket holder to removal from the grounds and the ticket purchaser to the permanent loss of credentials.

4.-Amenities--Golf-ShopTournament Amenities:

  • Automated teller machines
  • Concession stands
  • First aid stations
  • Golf shops*
  • Information centers
  • Lost and found
  • Merchandise shipping/check stands
  • Message center
  • Pairing sheets with course map and tee times
  • Parking
  • Picnic areas
  • Patron photos (tournament days only)
  • Restrooms
  • Scoring information
  • Spectator guides
  • Telephones
  • Water fountains

* The main golf shop near the practice area has expanded this year.

Autograph Policy
Autograph seeking is only allowed around the practice range and on the Par 3 course during the Par 3 Contest. A No Autograph Policy will be enforced on the golf course for practice and tournament days.

Re-Entry Policy
Patron tickets will be limited to a total of three entries per day. 

Parking
Free Masters parking is available at Augusta National Golf Club on a first-come, first-serve basis.

Sentimental Journey

Guide to The Masters

1.-Winner-2017-Sergio-GarciaFrom the absence of Arnold Palmer for the first time in 62 years to a major victory for Sergio Garcia at long last, the 2017 Masters Tournament tugged at heartstrings from start to finish 

At the 2017 Masters Tournament, the spirit of winners past loomed large over the competition. The opening round began with a poignant tribute to Arnold Palmer, who died in September 2016, at the honorary starters ceremony, and the final round fell on what would have been the 60th birthday of Spain’s Seve Ballesteros, the two-time Masters champion who died in 2011. The significance of that date was lost on no one, especially since the final round began with Spanish golfer Sergio Garcia in a tie for the lead and in prime position to win his first major title. 

2.-Justin-RoseWhen he was growing up, Garcia said, he idolized Ballesteros and another two-time Masters winner from Spain, José Maria Olazabal.

“I don’t even know how much it would mean to be able to join both of my idols as a Masters winner,” he said after the third round. 

Just 24 hours and an extra hole later, however, he found out. Garcia, whose career sometimes had been plagued by petulance and self-doubt, bested Justin Rose of England on the first hole of a sudden death playoff for the victory.

He said he thought about Ballesteros several times during the final round. “I’m sure he helped a little bit with some of those shots and some of those putts,” Garcia said. 

4.-Par-3-ContestThe Elements and Emotion
While it took an extra hole to decide the Masters on Sunday, rainy weather made it difficult for players to get in practice holes at the beginning of the week. The Monday practice round was suspended from noon until 1:45 p.m. A tornado watch suspended play for the day about 45 minutes later. Sunshine and balmy temperatures prevailed on Tuesday, but inclement weather returned Wednesday.

A siren sounded about 10 a.m. to clear the golf course because of approaching storms, and play was suspended for about two-and-a-half hours. The popular Par 3 Contest got a late start at 12:30 p.m. The reprieve was short-lived, however, as inclement weather closed the golf course again about an hour later for the remainder of the day. 

6.-UmbrellasEven though six threesomes teed off on the nine-hole course, the Par 3 ultimately was canceled for the first time in its 57-year history. No winner was declared. And with no winner, there was no jinx. A golfer has never won the Par 3 and the Masters in the same year.

Wednesday morning, Billy Payne, chairman of Augusta National Golf Club and the Masters, remembered Palmer, a four-time green jacket winner, during his annual remarks.

“For the first time in over 60 years, our sport is without its preeminent hero – a man whose greatness as a player and a champion was exceeded only by his qualities as a man. Arnold Palmer let us all into his life, not from the distance that is typically maintained between a superstar and a fan, but into his life close-up, so that we could literally push him to greatness and regale in his accomplishments as though they were our own,” he said.

Payne said the traditional honorary starters ceremony, where Palmer served as an honorary starter from 2007 through 2016, would be a time for “an emotional good-bye, but at the same time, an even more powerful thank you to the man we dearly love.”

ARNIE'S-ARMY-PICCapitalizing on Experience
On Thursday morning, Payne escorted Palmer’s wife, Kit, to the first tee and draped the golfer’s green jacket over an empty white chair. As he spoke to the throng of patrons surrounding the first tee for the ceremony, honorary starters Gary Player and Jack Nicklaus brushed back tears.

“Arnold Palmer was my friend. He was your friend,” the chairman said. “Despite all of his fame and fortune, he always had time for all of us.”

He concluded his remarks by asking for a moment of silence to remember Palmer before calling on Player to hit the first tee shot. Nicklaus followed, lifting his hat and looking skyward before striking his ball.

Augusta National also gave a button that read, “I am a Member of Arnie’s Army,” to every patron on the grounds for the opening round.

Other fan favorites were missing in action from the 81st Masters as well. Tiger Woods had announced the Friday before the tournament that health reasons would prevent him from competing for the third time in four years, and Dustin Johnson withdrew Thursday afternoon.

Johnson, who was ranked number one in the world at the time and already had three consecutive PGA tour victories in 2017, injured his back when he slipped and fell at his rental house Wednesday afternoon. Hitting balls on the range just before his tee time, he realized he was unable to play. “I couldn’t make a good backswing,” Johnson said. “Every time right at impact, it would just catch.”

Weather continued to be a factor when the tournament got underway. The 93 players left in the field after Johnson’s withdrawal battled harsh conditions all day in cool temperatures and blustery winds with 30- to 40-mph gusts. At the end of the first round, Charley Hoffman sat atop the leaderboard with a four-shot lead. He carded a 65 on a day that the average score was 74.978.

Garcia had 17 pars and a birdie on No. 8 to shoot 1-under-par 71 on Thursday, finishing six shots behind Hoffman in an eight-way tie for fourth place. “It’s very difficult when it’s this gusty. It’s hard to figure out the right clubs, and you need to get a few breaks,” he said after his bogey-free round.

The cold and wind continued on Friday, before dying down in the afternoon. Garcia got off to a hot start, birdieing the first three holes. He had six birdies and three bogies in the second round to shoot 3-under-par 69 and finish at 4-under in a four-way tie for the lead with Hoffman, Thomas Pieters and Rickie Fowler.

“The more experience you have here, the more you know how to approach some of these holes and know what’s going on,” said Garcia, who was playing in his 19th Masters. “But it definitely helps if you’ve been around a little bit, because you know what to expect, and once you realize that sometimes funny things are going to happen with good shots, and you can accept that, then you can do better.”

8.-Jordan-SpiethLucky 13
At the end of the second round, 53 players, including two of five amateurs, made the cut at 6-over-par 150.

In the third round Garcia had four birdies in a two-under round of 70, tying Rose for the 54-hole lead at 6-under-par. One of those birdies came at the 13th hole after his second shot on the dogleg par 5 bounced onto the bank of the Rae’s Creek tributary and stayed dry. He nearly holed his chip shot, leaving a tap-in for birdie.

“I’ve definitely had some good breaks through all three rounds – 13 obviously was one of them,” Garcia said.

He wasn’t the only one to conjure up a little magic on No. 13. After Jordan Spieth’s tee shot landed in the pine straw to the right of the fairway, he knew just what to do with his second shot. He could be heard on Masters.com “Amen Corner” coverage discussing the situation with his caddie, Michael Greller. “What would Arnie do?” Spieth asked.

12.-Main-Scoreboard“Hit it to 20 feet,” the caddie replied without hesitation.

Spieth’s four-iron shot stopped 29 feet from the pin on the par-5, and he two-putted for birdie.

Rose, the 2013 U.S. Open champion and reigning Olympic gold medalist, birdied five of the final seven holes, including No. 13, to post the best round of the day – a 5-under-par 67.

“You’ve got to sort of pick your moments and stay disciplined out there,” he said. “That’s the good thing about this golf course is that if you are spot on and you are on top of your game, it will reward you.”

Garcia said he would try to make as many birdies as he could in the final round. “Having a chance of winning a major and winning here at Augusta, it’s extra exciting,” he said.

His luck continued at the 13th hole on Sunday after his tee shot nicked a tree and landed against a bush, forcing him to take a one-stroke penalty for an unplayable lie. He punched out and hit a wedge to the green, draining an eight-foot putt to save par. Rose maintained his two-shot lead after missing a six-foot birdie putt.

No.-16-vertical-option“That little two-shot swing there was kind of when he was back in the tournament,” Rose said. “I feel like if he misses at that point, I make – I’m four clear and I’ve got my eye on Thomas Pieters and Matt Kuchar instead.”

Riding his momentum, Garcia birdied No. 14 and eagled No. 15. Rose answered with a birdie at the 15th hole and gained a one-stroke advantage with a birdie at No. 16. After Rose bogeyed the 17th hole, the two competitors headed to the 18th tee tied at 9-under.

Belief and Encouragement
Both players settled for par on No. 18 after missing birdie tries on the 72nd hole to set up the final showdown. After his drive landed in the trees to the right of the 18th fairway, Rose bogeyed the first hole of the sudden death playoff. This time Garcia’s putt curled into the hole from the left side for a birdie, and the green jacket belonged to him. The appreciative gallery, recognizing his long-overdue major championship, chanted “Ser-gee-oh.”

9.-Matt-KucharCharl Schwartzel, the 2011 Masters champion, finished in third place with a Sunday charge that included six birdies and two bogeys. Kuchar, whose final round 67 included an ace on No. 16, and Pieters, a Masters rookie, finished T4.

“It came down to the back nine on Sunday here, which is what this tournament is famous for,” Rose said.

Playing in his 74th major championship, Garcia at long last found the calm and equanimity he needed to win. He credited his victory to a positive attitude that was fostered by self-belief and words of encouragement from friends, family, his then-fiancé and one of his idols – Olazabal.

“To be able to join him and Seve as Masters champions from Spain, it’s unbelievable,” Garcia said. 

By Betsy Gilliland

Changing of the Guard

Guide to The Masters

Augusta-NationalA new chairman will lead the Masters Tournament this year 

Augusta National Golf Club and the Masters Tournament never shy away from change, and a new chairman will preside over this year’s tournament. Fred Ridley, the former Competition Committees chairman, took the reins last fall from Billy Payne, who retired from the position of chairman in October. 

“Throughout my life, Bobby Jones has been my idol and role model. I remember meeting Clifford Roberts during my first visit to Augusta National as an amateur invitee more than four decades ago. So to become chairman of Augusta National and the Masters is beyond humbling. I stand ready to embrace the responsibilities that come with this important position, strengthened by the lessons the sport teaches and the example of those who have provided leadership to me over the years,” Ridley said upon his appointment.

“As chairman, I will always look to Jones and Roberts as a source of wisdom and inspiration. I fully subscribe to their mandate of constant improvement and their commitment to maintaining the highest standard in all that we do. I pledge to use my deep-rooted respect for the customs and traditions they established to further elevate our club and tournament, while continuing their mission of contributing to the development of the sport around the world.

“I would like to thank Billy Payne, our esteemed chairman emeritus, who appointed me as his successor. His confidence in allowing me this honor has already had a profound impact on my life. I am grateful to consider him a friend and mentor, both personally and professionally.”

Ridley is the seventh chairman in the club’s 86-year history, and he is the only chairman to have ever competed in the Masters. He was invited three times during his amateur career, qualifying in 1976 and 1977 by winning the 1975 U.S. Amateur Championship. He played again in 1978 as a member of the 1977 Walker Cup team.

Payne, who started his tenure as chairman in May 2006, announced in August that he was stepping down.

“The privilege I experienced serving as chairman of Augusta National and the Masters was far greater than I could have ever imagined,” Payne said last summer. “Just as nothing can prepare you for the unique responsibilities and important decisions that come with this position, it is equally impossible to anticipate the many joys and, most importantly, the wonderful friendships that are the ultimate reward of service. This honor, however, is too great for one person to claim as their own for too long a period of time.” 

In addition to Payne, Roberts (1934-76), Bill Lane (1976-80), Hord Hardin (1980-91), Jack Stephens (1991-98) and Hootie Johnson (1998-2006) also served as chairman.

By Betsy Gilliland

Got to Be There

Features

michael jackson tributeBeat it to the Jabez to rock along with a world-renowned Michael Jackson tribute artist

Get ready for a thriller as renowned Michael Jackson tribute artist Michael Firestone moonwalks into the Jabez S. Hardin Performing Arts Center on Saturday, May 5 for “I Am King – The Michael Jackson Experience.” 

Firestone, who has performed for millions of Michael Jackson fans worldwide, has been hailed as the heir apparent to the pop artist in look, performance and authenticity. His ability to sing live while mimicking Jackson’s famous dance moves has made Firestone the most sought after MJ tribute artist in the world. 

Firestone was chosen as one of two official Jackson impersonators for the Michael Jackson Laser Spectacular shows in theaters and casinos all across the United States and Canada. Most recently, Firestone co-created and starred in “MJ Live” and numerous other tribute shows that still use Jackson’s image and video to sell tickets. 

Before Jackson’s death in 2009, Firestone had performed as a Jackson tribute artist in live shows such as “MTV Magic” and “Around the World” in Asia, “Legends in Concert” in Myrtle Beach, South Carolina and “LaCage” and “Masquerade” in Atlantic City, New Jersey. Firestone also did guest appearances on “Larry the Cable Guy’s Christmas Spectacular” and the Asian variety show, “The Bon Show.” 

hat-and-glove-3x2“I Am King” will feature renditions of Jackson’s biggest hits including “Bad,” “Billie Jean,” “Thriller” “Man in the Mirror,” “Human Nature” and more.

If You Go:
What: I Am King – The Michael Jackson Experience, featuring Michael Firestone

When: 7:30 p.m. Saturday, May 5

Where: Jabez S. Hardin Performing Arts Center

white-hat-9x14How Much: $46

More Info: (706) 726-0366 or augustaamusements.com

The Italian Teacher by Tom Rachman

Literary Loop

The-Italian-Teacher-bookWhat if your father was one of the 20th century’s most celebrated painters? How would you define yourself against that kind of talent and machismo?

In The Italian Teacher, his third novel, Tom Rachman sets in play just that dynamic. Bear Bavinsky is a world-famous painter, a first-class narcissist and father of 17 children who he treats with careless, sometimes callous, warmth.

Bear’s shy son Pinch loves to paint, but his ambitions are snuffed by his father’s offhand critique: “I got to tell you, kiddo. You’re not an artist and you never will be.” After that, nothing in Pinch’s life seems to gel.

When Bear abandons his family, Pinch strives to make himself worthy of his father’s attention, first trying to be a painter himself; then resolving to write his father’s biography; eventually settling, disillusioned, into a job as an Italian teacher in London.

With Rachman’s signature humanity and humor, The Italian Teacher examines a life lived in the shadow of greatness. If you enjoyed William Boyd’s Any Human Heart, you’ll love this portrait of Pinch, who has the good luck to both outlive and survive his famous father, and to find, in the end, a way to take ownership of his difficult legacy.

- Sarah Harrison Smith

Rev Your Engines

Features

gray-carA national Mustang show is wheeling into Columbia County for the second time in four years

People don’t have to cue up Ray Charles to have the Peach State on their mind this month, thanks to the Mustang Club of America. The organization, which has four national Mustang shows annually, once again will have one of them – “Georgia on My Mind” – at the Columbia County Exhibition Center on Memorial Day weekend.

cars-outsideMike Anchor, president of the CSRA Mustang Club, says about 350 cars from all across the country, including 30 to 40 local cars, will be on display at the show.

“The Mustang is an icon. It’s been around for 54 years,” says Anchor, who lives in Evans. “Everybody you run into has a Mustang story. They talk about the Mustang they had or the one they dreamed about having. The car brings everybody from all over the world together.”

inside-exhibition-centerFriday evening activities will include a hospitality reception/meet and greet, and judging in 15 divisions will begin on Saturday. Judges typically look for cleanliness, workmanship and overall quality. Unrestored cars, which usually are low mileage with original factory parts and equipment as ordered, are judged on originality. Unrestored or restored Thoroughbred Mustangs must have the original or correct era parts such as fan belts, batteries, exhaust systems, etc. Absolutely no reproduction parts are allowed. 

Saturday evening festivities will feature a banquet catered by Diablo Southwest Grill, followed by a casino night party and an auction, at Savannah Rapids Pavilion. Community members who are interested in attending can visit motosho.com to purchase tickets at $40 each.

All proceeds from the event will benefit the Rebecca Erryn Moon Foundation, which fights childhood cancer. When the CSRA Mustang Club last served as host for a national show in 2015, it raised $20,000 for the foundation. Since 1989, the local Mustang club has contributed at least $150,000 to various charities, Anchor says.

Those who attend the show can do more than admire Mustangs and raise money for a good cause, however. Vendors will be on hand to sell car parts as well as merchandise like jewelry and Tupperware. 

blue-car“We would like for people to come out and enjoy the cars, make new friends and support local charities,” says Anchor. “It’s all about having fun. I have made friends all over the world because of a car.”

If You Go:
What: “Georgia on my Mind” MCA National Mustang Show

When: 8 a.m. – 5 p.m. Friday, May 25 and Saturday, May 26; 8 a.m. – 2 p.m. Sunday, May 27

Where: Columbia County Exhibition Center, Grovetown

How Much: Free

More Info:csramc.org

Will to Win

Guide to The Masters

Trophy-From sibling winners to repeat victors to playoff champions, the 2017 Drive, Chip and Putt Championship was full of drama and excitement 

When it comes to the Drive, Chip and Putt Championship, winning is a family affair for Maye and Treed Huang of Katy, Texas.

Following in her brother’s footsteps, Maye won the Girls 7-9 division in the competition last year. Treed, who placed fourth in last year’s Boys 12-13 division, was the 2014 champion in the Boys 7-9 division. “My dad, my mom and my brother all gave me tips to be confident and try my best,” said Maye.

Conducted by the Masters Tournament, the PGA of America and the USGA, the championship is a free, nationwide youth golf development program for boys and girls, ages 7-15, in four age categories. Tens of thousands of youth compete in the annual event, which began in 2014. The field is winnowed down to 80 competitors who earn a trip to the finals, which are held each year at Augusta National Golf Club on the Sunday preceding the Masters.

WinnersLiam Hartling, the Boys 10-11 division champion, has been playing golf since he was 18 months old. “You just have to try it even if it is hard at the start. Stick with it, and it will be fun,” he said.

Alexa Pano of Lake Worth, Florida became the first two-time champion. She won the Girls 12-13 division, after prevailing in the Girls 10-11 division in 2016. “Drive, Chip and Putt is definitely more nerve-wracking than going out for 18 holes,” says Pano. “If you make a mistake, you don’t have a lot of chances to make up for it.”

After making an extra 15-foot putt on the 18th green, Mason Quagliata of Scottsdale, Arizona topped Andrew Scholz of Fairway, Kansas in a playoff to take the Boys 14-15 title. “My hands were shaking when I hit that last putt,” Mason said.

Leaderboard-(optional)Other female winners were Lucy Yuan of San Diego (ages 10-11) and Savannah Grewal of Mississauga, Ontario (ages 14-15). Other male champions were Carter Gaede of Manhattan Beach, California (ages 7-9) and Zachary Colon of Bolton, Massachusetts (ages 12-13), who also won in a playoff.

This year’s Drive, Chip and Putt Championship will be held at Augusta National on Sunday, April 1. Registration for the 2019 championship is underway at drivechipandputt.com, and local qualifiers begin in May. 

By Betsy Gilliland

John Luton Columbia County Director of Community and Leisure Services

P.Y.S.K.

John-Luton-(2-of-2)Number of Years in Position: 2

Family: Wife, Jenifer; children, Holly (4), Camille (2) and Eli (6 months)

Why I’m Passionate About What I Do: In Columbia County, the best is the standard. I love working with a team and for a community with high expectations that strives to be the best. It’s what attracted me to Columbia County five years ago and what motivates me every day to do what I can to enhance the quality of life for residents. Seeing employees that I lead have success in what they’re passionate about, and experiencing the impacts of what we do on the community, is gratifying.

Community Groups and Charities I Love to Support: I am involved with several citizen advisory boards including the Recreation Advisory Board, Community Events Advisory Board, Monument and Public Art Committee, Greater Clarks Hill Regional Library Board, Friends of the Euchee Creek Greenway and Animal Services Advisory Board. I also work very closely with the Columbia County Convention and Visitors Bureau, whose mission of promoting the county as a destination marketplace is one I’m very passionate about.

Biggest Career or Life Obstacle I’ve Overcome and How: At one of my previous jobs, my department director was suddenly let go, and I was thrust into a leadership role. I was challenged to manage a brand new $17 million park (tournament complex) with only a quarter of the budget that was originally allocated to operate it, but with the same expectations for success. The park’s construction was controversial, and we faced a great deal of negativity from the public. Many couldn’t wait to see it fail. Our staff used this as motivation and rallied together. After just one year in operation, the total economic impact generated by events hosted at the park was greater than the cost to build the park itself. I still draw from lessons learned from this experience every day and consider it a crucial point in my professional development.

Accomplishment I’m Most Proud Of: I’m very proud of many professional accomplishments I’ve been able to achieve at this point in my career, but the success would mean nothing without being able to share it with my wife and kids. So, I’m most proud of being a husband and a dad.

What Your Childhood Self Wanted to Be When You Grew Up: Some sort of professional athlete

Favorite Way to Spend a Saturday Afternoon: Couch, multiple TVs, full slate of college football

Favorite TV Show: “30 for 30”

Favorite Movies: Hoosiers, The Jerk

Favorite Sports Team: Clemson Tigers (2016 College Football National Champions)

Favorite Comfort Food: Steak and potatoes

Favorite App: ESPN

Last Book Read: Pete the Cat and His Four Groovy Buttons                                                         

Dream Vacation: Anywhere tropical would work, but a safari-type trip sounds fun

Something That Has Changed My Life: The birth of my first child…then again with the birth of my second…then again with birth of my third…

Best Thing I Ever Learned: Treat others the way you like to be treated. Simple, but something I try to always remember whether it’s with personal relationships, dealing with the public or managing staff.

One Word You Would Use to Describe Yourself: Thankful

Favorite Hobbies: Clemson sports, golf, poker, spending time with the family

Secret Aspiration: I’ve always thought I would have been a good coach or sportswriter. I actually wanted to major in journalism in college, but Clemson didn’t offer it. And I certainly wasn’t going to USC.

Reality Show I Would Totally Win: I used to say I would win “Alone” on the History Channel. But my wife likes to remind me about a recent trip into our backyard woods, when I stumbled over my own feet and sliced my leg, pretty badly, with the hatchet I was carrying. So I won’t be auditioning for that.

Something People Would Be Surprised to Know About Me: I’m hesitant to share, but I’m pretty good at impersonations. I don’t break them out that often because people tend to hound me to do my impression of them, and you never know how someone will take it. My high school basketball teammates persuaded me one time to do my impersonation of our coach, in front of our coach. So I did. All my teammates died laughing, coach’s face turned red as he laughed awkwardly and insecurely – and I never played again.

What person do you think we should know? If you’d like to suggest someone we should meet, email editor@columbiacountymag.com and tell us why.

2018 Masters Predictions

Guide to The Masters

1.-Jon-RahmLocal golf pros share their picks for Masters glory – or heartache

When it’s April in Augusta, the golf world turns its attention to the Masters Tournament. It’s always fun to try to foresee the outcome of the first major of the year, and once again we have teed up area golf gurus to tell us how the tournament will play out.

In 2017 PGA Tour veteran Sergio Garcia won his first major with a sudden death victory over Justin Rose on the first playoff hole. (Kudos to fearless prognosticators Dan Elliott and Scott Penland for choosing Sergio as their dark horse pick last year.)

We’ll see if the Masters crowns another first-time major champion in 2018 or if a proven winner can add a green jacket to his major championship collection. 

2.-Justin-ThomasGreg Hemann
Director of Operations, Jones Creek Golf Club
(Greg’s correct 2017 predictions: Low Senior, Pivotal Hole, Highest Score on One Hole)
2018 Masters Champion: Let’s go with Jordan Spieth. I think he has the strongest mind and the best short game.
Dark Horse: Jon Rahm. He’s big and strong. I think he has a game that’s suited for the course.
Low Newcomer: Patton Kizzire
Low Senior: Let’s go with Fred Couples. I ride that horse every year.
Highest-Ranked Player to Miss the Cut: I hate to jinx him, but I’ll say Jason Day.
Toughest Hole: No. 11
Pivotal Hole: No. 13
Highest 18-Hole Score: 84
Highest Score on One Hole: 9

 ———-

7.-Ryan-MooreKirk Hice
Director of Golf, West Lake Country Club
(Kirk’s correct 2017 predictions: Pivotal Hole, Highest Score on One Hole)
2018 Masters Champion: I’m going with Justin Rose. He plays well there. He’s playing good golf right now, so I expect him to be ready.
Dark Horse: Ryan Moore. He’s playing well right now, and I think that will continue.
Low Newcomer: Wesley Bryan. He’s a local boy.
Low Senior: I’m going to say Bernhard Langer.
Highest-Ranked Player to Miss the Cut: Adam Scott
Toughest Hole: No. 11
Pivotal Hole: No. 15
Highest 18-Hole Score: 81
Highest Score on One Hole: 8

 ———

 4.-Dustin-JohnsonTommy Brannen
Head Golf Professional, Augusta Country Club
(Tommy’s correct 2017 predictions: Highest Score on One Hole)2018 Masters Champion: Dustin Johnson. He’s number one in the world, and I think he’s ready for revenge after what happened last year when he got hurt and couldn’t play.
Dark Horse: Tony Finau
Low Newcomer: Tony Finau. I think he’s a heck of a player.
Low Senior: I’m trying to figure out which one’s going to make the cut. I’ll take Vijay Singh.
Highest-Ranked Player to Miss the Cut: Jason Day
Toughest Hole: No. 11
Pivotal Hole: No. 12. It seems like it always is.
Highest 18-Hole Score: 88
Highest Score on One Hole: 8

————-

Dan Elliott
PGA General Manager/Director of Golf, Forest Hills Golf Club
(Dan’s correct 2017 predictions: Dark Horse, Low Newcomer) 
2018 Masters Champion: Tommy Fleetwood. I think he’s playing really, really good golf.
Dark Horse: You hate to call somebody that’s a prominent player a dark horse, but I’ll say Justin Rose.
Low Newcomer: Xander Schauffele. He’s posting some good rounds.
Low Senior: Bernhard Langer
Highest-Ranked Player to Miss the Cut: I’m going with Hideki Matsuyama. 
Toughest Hole: No. 11
Pivotal Hole: You almost have to say No. 13.
Highest 18-Hole Score: 82
Highest Score on One Hole:

———— 

6.-Rory-McIlroySpike Kelley
General Manager and Golf Professional, Goshen Plantation
(Spike’s correct 2017 predictions: Pivotal Hole)
2018 Masters Champion: Rory McIlroy. He needs this one to win the career grand slam.
Dark Horse: Jon Rahm. He’s really good.
Low Newcomer: Tony Finau
Low Senior: Vijay Singh
Highest-Ranked Player to Miss the Cut: Hideki Matsuyama
Toughest Hole: No. 11
Pivotal Hole: No. 17
Highest 18-Hole Score: 84
Highest Score on One Hole:

——————

5.-Bernhard-LangerScott Penland
Director of Golf, Hickory Knob State Park Golf Course
(Scott’s correct 2017 predictions: Dark Horse, Low Newcomer, Highest 18-Hole Score)
2018 Masters Champion: I’ll go with Justin Thomas. He’s been playing pretty well.
Dark Horse: Thomas Pieters. I think he did pretty well last year, so maybe he’ll do well this year.
Low Newcomer: Doc Redman. He’s from Clemson, and I have followed him there.
Low Senior: I’m going to go with Bernhard Langer this year.
Highest-Ranked Player to Miss the Cut: Patrick Reed
Toughest Hole: No. 11
Pivotal Hole: No. 15
Highest 18-Hole Score: 86
Highest Score on One Hole: 9

————–

3.-Fred-CouplesChris Verdery
Director of Golf, The River Golf Club
(Chris’ correct 2017 predictions: Toughest Hole, Highest 18-Hole Score, Highest Score on One Hole)
2018 Masters Champion: The winner is going to be Dustin Johnson. He’s been close many times, and I feel like he has the confidence to pull it out.
Dark Horse: I’ll say Kevin Chappell.
Low Newcomer: Xander Schauffele. He has the all-around game to avoid any disasterous holes.
Low Senior: Let’s say Freddie Couples.
Highest-Ranked Player to Miss the Cut: I’ll say Bubba Watson.
Toughest Hole: It’s going to be No. 1.
Pivotal Hole: No. 15
Highest 18-Hole Score: 85
Highest Score on One Hole:

By Todd Beck

Semicircle — The Go! Team

Listen To This

TheGoTeamSEMICIRCLECOVERrgb-1507736711-640x640The Go! Team is the electric company of vintage ’60s riffs and double Dutch chants rolled into a pep rally of retro urban-garage-cardio beats. A concept that was birthed in Ian Parton’s parent’s kitchen, The Go! Team creates an infectious groove and bombastic sonic wall of organic emotion and raw exhilaration.

Nearly two decades after the critically acclaimed Thunder, Lightning, Strike, Parton’s project dives deep into the Motor City, enlisting the Detroit Youth Choir to serve as the vocal force behind the English band’s latest release, Semicircle.

With youthful pop magic, Semicircle boasts an innocent and optimistic revel that carries a common chord throughout each track while creating a nostalgic gymnasium of varsity cheer. Out of the gate, the opener “Mayday” shines the ray of warm lush urban horns and marching band step-dives into a loop of choreographed magic. 

The momentum remains and is highlighted on the field day anthem “Semicircle Song” and roller-skating jam “All the Way Live.” As the days grow longer and the season gets warmer, The Go! Team is laced up and ready for some sidewalk sprinkler fun.

- Chris Rucker

Rock Fore! Dough

Community Groups in Action

logoA perennial fan favorite during Masters Week – Rock Fore! Dough – will take place at Evans Towne Center Park Tuesday, April 3 from 4 p.m. to 11 p.m. The concert benefits First Tee of Augusta, the local chapter of the First Tee Network, which provides educational programs that build character, instill life-enhancing values and promote healthy choices through the game of golf. Rock Fore! Dough is in its 14th year, and past concerts have raised more than $1.5 million for the local First Tee chapter.

Founded in 1997, The First Tee, which now has programs in all 50 states and select international locations, started as a way to bring affordable junior golf programs to youth and communities. However, the network soon discovered that participants were learning valuable life lessons as well. 

Dustin-with-kids-photoThe First Tee of Augusta holds outreach clinics and field trips for local schools, youth development and community organizations. Participants also are introduced to The First Tee’s nine core values – honesty, integrity, sportsmanship, respect, confidence, responsibility, perseverance, courtesy and judgment.

“The nine core values of First Tee are closely aligned with those of CallingPost, and are fundamental values that make America great,” says Phil Alexander, CallingPost founder.

concertThis year’s concert will include performances by Scotty McCreery, Jordan Davis, Shaun Piazza, DJ Rock and the first ever “Jacket Jam” band featuring artist and celebrity appearances. 

“Every artist that plays at Rock Fore! Dough is donating his or her time to The First Tee of Augusta,” says Joe Stevenson, event producer. “I’m blown away by the support this event has received over the years and excited we have the opportunity to bring some new names to the stage this Masters Week.”

First-Tee-Colina-Park-97-e1472155263469Advance tickets, which cost $29, are available at First Tee of Augusta and all area Kroger stores. Day-of-show tickets will be sold for $39 online and at the gate.  For more information, visit rockforedough.com.