I USED TO lie. Itold people I had a spot under the oak behind the 7th green, a nice littleblind where I could watch the world's best golfers play their fourth from thefairway after lying two on the back fringe. Or I claimed to be a regular on thepress scaffold down in Amen Corner, which provides a panoramic view of holes11, 12 and 13. Or I bragged about how, at 6'7", I could stand on tiptoesand see over the spectators behind the 10th tee, affording me a caddie's-eyeview of those slingshot hooks that sail down, down, down into the funnel ofpines.
My fibs protectedAugusta National's most thrilling spectator perch: the grassy sky-mound behindthe 6th tee. A par-3 of 180 yards, the 6th is amphitheater golf at its best.From the treetop tee, golfers launch iron shots over a ravine so deep that itconceals a busy crosswalk and hundreds of spectators seated on a grassy slope.The two-tiered green is ringed with bunkers and a multicolored lei of wrinkledbadge holders.
The slippery greenprovides most of the terror—downhill three-footers can turn into uphill30-footers—but I prefer the tee box. Stand close and you can pick up snippetsof conversation as the players wait for the green to clear; and when theyfinally strike their shots, you can almost feel the club in your hands as youreyes follow the ball all the way down.
To get to my aerieyou have to trek to the highest, most remote corner of the course, usually bytraversing the formidable but hard-to-view par-4 5th. Once there, you'll haveto stand to see; and if you feel a sudden urge to visit a concession stand orthe loo, too bad. They're down on the valley floor.
April 6, 2009
But I don't go tothe Masters for the beer or the bathrooms. I go to stand behind Tiger Woods andwatch him hold that magazine-cover pose while thousands wait below, their eyeson that little dot in the sky.