Nights Of The Round Table

By Jerry Tarde Illustrations by Jeffrey Smith
March 17, 2011

Every year at the Masters,

Golf Digest rents a handful of Augusta houses where we stay and commune each night to replay the day's highlights over honey-baked ham and cocktails--more often than not, Diet Cokes, in tribute to that great Coca-Cola bottler from Atlanta, Bobby Jones. Around the table over the years, you would have found the likes of Dan Jenkins,

Dave Marr, Charley Price, Peter Dobereiner,

These days you'll still find Jenkins,

and always a surprise guest like Tom Brokaw.

Last year it was the artist Jeffrey Smith (see a time-lapsed video of these illustrations


Each evening concludes with what we call "Jenkins' Races"--that is, a draft of the field with a little wagering at stake. You pick a number out of a bowl for the draft choice and go around the table with each bettor selecting a pairing for the next day's play (for example, the 10:46 starting time, which gives you both players in the pairing as your "horses"). There are about seven or eight betting teams, and we have to circle the table several times to exhaust the field. The daily payoffs are for low man, low pairing, low any two, and high man.

Usually after going around once, we are lamenting what miserable dogs are left, and there's a lot of good-natured kibitzing. Jenkins would take "Raymond and Lanny" past the time they were even in the field. Chuck Rubin, who is invariably Seitz's partner, has to be shamed into picking his brother-in-law, Tom Watson. Seitz, on the fourth time around the table, consistently asks if Tiger is still available.

I always lose, but there was one year I didn't: 1986. On Saturday night before the last round, there was more than the usual excitement because we had an exceptionally good leader board. All the heroes were in contention. I think I drew the No. 4 draft choice among seven betting teams, which meant I would get the fourth, 11th and 18th picks as we worked our way through all the tee times. On the 18th pick, Jack Nicklaus was still available, and I took him. I bring this up, not just to revel in Jack's and my good fortune to win that year, but to emphasize what an underdog Nicklaus was at the time to win his sixth Masters at 46.

Twenty-five years later, Nicklaus and his son Jackie, who caddied for him that week, sat down with Yocom and watched the final nine on videotape for a story in this issue. You can listen to excerpts of their conversation in the April issue online

of Golf Digest on the iPad.

Oh, yes, did I forget to mention? We're on the iPad now, so you can read all of Golf Digest's articles starting with the April issue in a digital format

that includes video, audio, interactive tools and bonus features.

which shows multiple life-size images of all 94 Hot List medal winners, plus the results of robot testing, interviews with tour pros about their equipment and automatic updates of what's in the bag of each week's tour-event leaders. As clubs are introduced and evaluated for future hot lists, they'll be added to the app with quarterly updates.

but keep watching this space for more Golf Digest content on a variety of tablets and smart phones. Someday you might even be able to play the races along with us.