The Loop

Townsend trails Tiger

April 05, 2010

AUGUSTA, Ga. -- The galleries were 10-deep around every green Monday as the swarms of patrons visiting Augusta National GC concentrated their energies on following Tiger Woods.

Among those watching intently and following every step of the way with Woods and Fred Couples on the front nine was Ron Townsend, who as a Gannett Television group executive became the first black member of Augusta National. He was in awe of Woods' sharpness and of the immense size of the galleries so early in the week.

"I've never seen it like this on a Monday. It's unbelievable," Townsend said standing between the eighth and ninth fairways. "I just wanted to get out and get a sense of the emotions out here, see what people are saying, how they are reacting. [But] no surprise that people are respectful."

He was not surprised that Woods seemed to be playing well, even if it was a practice round. "I was watching him especially around the greens, and it looks like he's never been away," Townsend said.