Hamilton Herald Masthead


Front Page - Friday, April 15, 2016

Are We There, Yet?

Jay Edwards

“ — down in the Amen Corner where Rae’s Creek intersects the 13th fairway near the tee, then parallels the front edge of the green on the short 12th and finally swirls alongside the 11th green.” – Herbert Warren Wind (Sports Illustrated, 1958)

My Masters was in 1999, when Jose Maria Ilostmyball outdueled Greg “Buffalo Bills” Norman on Sunday for his second Masters win. My friend Guy had invited me. He also invited Claude and Fred, who, like me, said yes. Duh. 

But that was the first and last time for me. It seems my dream of an annual tradition like no other, never really materialized. 

On Saturday night, after walking every hole that day, it was decided for Sunday’s round that we would set up chairs in a prime spot. Guy suggested we either get by 15 green, 16 green or behind 12-tee box. I was lobbying for 12, where you had the famous par three right in front of you, 11 green on the left and 13 tee on the right; the area known as Amen Corner. It was also a short walk to a great view from the pines to 13 green, which almost every player goes for in two. So we decided to park at 12.

Guy said that when the gates opened on Sunday morning, two of us would need to hurry to a spot on the front row, right at the rope. Fred and I were chosen for this task, and I felt up to it, but worried about Fred. 

The next morning, waiting on the gates to open from the dusty parking area was a test of patience and will. You have to be resolute in your quest, which is get in and get moving before that other guy, or gal, gets a positioning advantage. I sound like I’m kidding but that day I watched two 70-year old grannies sprint like they were in the Olympic trials. But I had run the grueling race to Disney’s Splash Mountain a few years before, with my daughter on my back, so I felt ready.

We made it through the gate and began jogging towards Amen Corner when a forceful command came from above, telling everyone there was no running allowed on the grounds, so we slowed to a fast walk, for about ten seconds, or until the grannies began sprinting again.

I was surprised when we reached 10-tee, that there was nobody in front of us. But I worried because Guy had told us there was another entrance nearer Amen Corner. I can’t remember his reason why we didn’t begin there. 

We were jogging now and I was feeling good about the pace. In 1999, I was 42 and Fred, 51. We were both in fair shape but we were also lugging two chairs each. When we reached 11-tee, I was in front of Fred and I looked back and saw he was walking now and falling behind. It only made sense that I keep going and stake our claim, and the further I went the more concerned I became about the horde from the back gate. Fred waved me on and I picked up my pace. At the rise in the fairway I could finally see 12-tee box, and was shocked there were only two people standing there. Behind them a few others were heading that way but I knew we had it made and when I got there I was able to get us four spots right on the rope of the hole they named Golden Bell, at the heart of Amen Corner, where another heart was recently broken.   

   Jay Edwards is editor-in-chief of the Hamilton County Herald and an award-winning columnist. Contact him at jedwards@dailydata.com.