As the morning fog burns off, and the dew on the grass evaporates, the beauty that is Augusta National Golf Course is unveiled for all the world to see.
For the 35,000+ patrons that are fortunate enough to enter the gates of golf history, the day is a promised to be filled with lush greens, classic scenery, and of course the $2 egg-salad sandwiches.
As a first timer to Augusta, I kept losing myself in the awe of the whole day. From the intimidating tee-shots that await every competitor to the white jump-suits the caddies are forced to squeeze into, it's easy to find yourself staring at multiple points throughout the round.
Oh, and not to mention the best golf the world has to offer.
The day begins with an hour delay due to fog, so the players hit the putting green one last time to try to make an effort to pace the lightning quick greens that will eat even the best players alive at any time.
Once the players were able to shake off the first round jitters and maneuver through the first hole, it was made very clear that this was no putt-putt course at the county fair, this was Augusta, and she would make it known.
Here are some things that you'll only see at Augusta aka things Jim Nantz won't tell you:
Hills, Hills, and more Hills- You wouldn't think watching it on CBS that Augusta would be known for all the awkward lies that a player faces even on the fairways. Makes walking the course a great workout.
We're all Family- The proximity of everything at this course is unlike anything in golf. Tees and greens are mere feet away from each other, there are points on the golf course where you can stand and watch 4 different shots at one time, which also makes the roars that much louder, speaking of roars....
We're REALLY Loud- Ian Poulter's first round hole-in-one on the par 3 16th got everyone's attention as it seemed time stood still as the echos of the roars from the 16th green reverberated off the giant dogwoods. This is the "thing" that all the players talk about, the boisterous roars on Sunday cannot compare to anything else in the world.
Picture Perfect- Well you probably knew this, the scenery around Augusta is fit for a postcard. My new motto is "when I die, I want heaven to look like this" because spending eternity at this place wouldn't be too bad now would it?
Amen Corner...Where?- It is typical for one to think Amen Corner is the focal point of the whole golf course, yet that couldn't be further from the truth. The 11th tee is seculded about 120 yards into the forest, with nothing near any of the 3 most famous holes in golf. Not taking anything away from the mystique of the Corner as it is easily one of the greatest sights I have ever laid eyes on.
Oh and not to mention the best golf the world has to offer.
The word gets passed around to everyone "pssh...Tiger just teed off..", and yes thank you my pairing sheet just told me that.
Everyone knows this, but the world follows Tiger, even as he limped his way to an even par 72 with a rare highlight being a chip in at the par 5 15th which evened him up after 2 straight bogeys coming out of the famed Amen Corner.
The quality of play was shown later in the day when groups such as Zach Johnson, Luke Donald, and Geoff Ogilvy and Vijay Singh, Steve Stricker, and Stewart Cink all played entertaining golf as the caliber of play was kicked up a notch, as did the temperature.
The sun sets on the opening day of the Masters with Justin Rose atop the leaderboard.
The sun also sets on my first Masters experience, and I came away with a new appreciation for the $1.50 I had to pay for a club sandwich, as well as for the pride which the members, citizens, and visiting competitors all have for Augusta.
This is truly their crown jewel and they open it up four days a year for the world to see.