Thanks, Alan, for that "Invite to Augusta"
Editor Alan Pittman's account of his round at Augusta National
on the Monday following the tournament generated lots of positive comment. Here's a very grateful letter from a California reader.
All I can say is thank you. There are many of us who only get to see places like Augusta on television or video games and our dreams. We don't get involved in the politics or the correctness of what the club does or does not stand for. We are interested in one thing and one thing only. What Augusta means to golf. The history.... Jones, Snead, Hogan, Palmer, Player, Nicklaus, Woods, Sarazen, Oosthuizen, Mickelson, Watson... I'm certain you get the picture. The sights of Augusta... The serenity. The trees, greens... all of it. The sounds... nothing... I mean nothing... sounds like Augusta. Just listen to the tournament on TV. You hear the birds chirping, the breeze in the trees. And, the sound of a solidly struck iron shot sounds like nothing else, anywhere else.
Yet, your photo article showed us a few things we don't get to see. Some things like views of the course you don't see on television. Also, the human and nature side of things, as well. Your caddie. You told us of him and his family. The turtles. Even the Hogan plaque. My former employer had the opportunity to play Augusta once as a guest. He twisted his knee on the 3rd hole and could not complete the round. I was sad for him. The chance of a lifetime, gone.
That said, I just wanted to take the time to write you and give you a resounding thank you for something I may never see myself with my own eyes. You stated it perfectly at the end. You probably didn't play your best golf that day. But, it was a day when your score really didn't matter. But, it is a day that you will always have and remember. If you have the scorecard, frame it, my friend. It will be something you can cherish and look at for the rest of your life.
Dean T. Smith
Thanks, Dean, for that lyrical letter. The story about your former employer pains me, because I know how marvelous the experience is. A Golf Digest assistant editor was lucky enough to be chosen in the lottery back in 1985, the day after Bernhard Langer won his first green jacket. The 10-handicap editor shot a million (99, actually) and managed to par No. 10 and "lay up" into the water with a 5-iron on No. 15. Oh well, still an unforgettable day. That was me. It's a very nice thing for the club to do, and under Chairman Billy Payne and his media committee, the treatment of the media guests is truly remarkable, as Alan conveys.