I lucked into a ticket to Thursday's first round, and then got another ticket from Mike Weir so I could bring my dad. Our trip was last minute and kind of thrown together, but it worked out well and I was able to share an experience of a lifetime with my dad.
We flew there Tuesday, and we stayed in Columbia, South Carolina, just over an hour from Augusta. On Tuesday, we played Palmetto G.C. in Aiken, SC, the 2nd oldest course in America. Dad hit some balls on the range and played one of the par 3's. He's 81 years old, and doesn't get around as well as he used to, so he was saving his strength for Augusta. I played well for 13 or 14 holes before I ran out of gas. But it was fun.
The real fun came on Thursday. We arrived at the course around 8:00. We stopped at the Masters store there to buy a t-shirt for my cousin Dennis and some hats for my sons and brother, and I got a nice golf shirt. We stored our booty, then headed to the course. We walked out by the first tee, and its more beautiful than you can imagine. As we were taking it all in, Tiger Woods walked right by us, about 3 feet away, heading to the practice green. I think I saw my dad smile.
We hiked down to Amen Corner, and got there before any of the groups had come through yet. So we just sat there and admired the beauty and peace and quiet there. It was about 50 minutes before the first group came through. We watched a couple of groups tee off on #12, standing maybe 10 feet from the tee box. Then we walked down 13, went over to 15 and 16, saw several guys make birdies and even saw an eagle. My dad was in a lot of pain, trying to walk around. We sat in the bleachers for awhile, then started to make our way back. We followed Tiger on #7, where he made bogey. We got back to the clubhouse, and chatted with Billy Casper near the clubhouse. I told dad to sit for awhile, and I went back out on the course to follow Mike Weir. I caught him on #2, and watched him make par. Then it was time to go. We had to catch an early flight.
It was over way too soon. But it was one of the coolest things I have ever done, taking my dad to the Masters. It was worth every penny. And I want to do it again...