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Wednesday At The Masters: The Full Skinny

As you watch the Masters kick off, take a look at Wednesday At The Masters

The Masters - Preview Day 3

I woke up a bit hungover today. Not from alcohol, but from Masters whoop. My body was physically fatigued from how cool Tuesday was.

Fortunately, Wednesday was also fantastic.

Buddies

Today, our good personal friend Mr. Gary Player played in the par 3 contest. He mixed it up with Jack Nicklaus and Tom Watson while draining birdies and rooting for Jack’s grandson’s ball so majestically that it actually went into the hole for a hole-in-one.

He chatted with titans of the golf world, took pictures in his green jacket, and received standing ovations across Augusta’s hallowed grounds. Thousands and thousands of patrons turned out to see the Black Knight, to cheer for one of golf’s all-time legends.

But before all that, Mr. Gary Player spent his morning with the Fore Play boys.

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We’re putting out a Stool Scenes type video of our “Masters Week With Gary,” so I don’t want to give it all away, but we had a great morning this morning with the Black Knight. He has every single right to be a distant, quiet, mystical figure who gives guys like us the bare minimum.

Instead he’s as nice, humble, and down to earth a guy as you’ll ever meet. He cares more about random people than you care about the actual physical human people in your own family. He’s the definition of a man to look up to, and he spent his morning making sure Trent and Riggs, who he met a day ago because somebody told him we were OK, got everything we needed. He’s the best.

The Grounds

After our morning with Gary, I wrote a million words in my Masters Preview then we headed in to see the par 3 contest. It got rained out last year, so this was our first time.

The crowds are stunning. You expect the masses to turn out for Tiger Woods, Phil Mickelson or Rory McIlroy, who all have a decent chance of winning the green jacket this week. But watching how tens of thousands of people reacted to seeing 78-year-old Jack Nicklaus, 82-year-old Gary Player, and 68-year-old Tom Watson play a par 3 course was truly amazing.

Those three are legends, and every person at Augusta knows it. They’re greeted with legitimate standing ovations after every shot they hit — and it’s well-deserved.

The Masters - Par 3 Contest

Amazingly, Tom Watson became the oldest person to win the par 3 contest.

A different Watson did this totally wacky thing with a wedge. It was so funny and wacky.

Augusta also announced the berth of an entire new tournament. The Augusta National Women’s Amateur will be a 72-woman event played the week before the Masters, 36 holes at the Champions Retreat (where we’re staying, no big deal) and the final 18 holes at Augusta National the Saturday before the Masters. This elevates the women’s game, and this tournament may instantly become the biggest amateur tournament in women’s golf. Imagine the opportunity to hole a winning putt on the 18th green at Augusta? Imagine the eyeballs it will draw, with folks getting a glimpse of those legendary holes an entire week early?

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Awesome move, bravo ANGC.

Tony Finau had a weird day. It’s his first Masters, and it went like this.

Holes out, celebrates, dislocates his ankle, relocates it, and is a maybe for tomorrow.

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Tiger played a practice round with 30-year-old Massachusetts firefighter Matt Parziale today. Parz is a Brockton dude and Stoolie who we had on the podcast after he won the Mid-Am last year.

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Think Tiger’s ready?

We watched the par 3 contest for a bit, but eventually the crowds became too much. So we decided to do what anybody would do — grabbed a couple unmarked beers and waltzed down towards Amen Corner.

On Wednesday evening, there’s nobody out there. The players are done prepping, a few lawnmowers are making last-minute tweaks, and the crowds have dwindled. Around 5pm, we nearly had Amen Corner to ourselves.

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Let me tell you this — it’s a nice place to drink a beer and nibble on a pimento cheese sandwich.

We trekked our way back, stopped by 18 tee for another quick look at that iconic chute, and headed out.

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The Braai

Tonight, the Black Knight himself hosted a South African Braai at the house. For those of you that don’t know (ha, idiots), a braai is a barbecue.

We rubbed shoulders with Mr. Player and many other fine folks while live music played and boar roasted. It was lovely.

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Wednesday serves much as a bit of a reprieve from the pressure of the whole week. Guys are noticeably more relaxed, a welcomed departure from the intensity of the rest of Masters Week.

Tomorrow morning the action starts. Our good personal friend Mr. Gary Player hits the ceremonial opening shot with Mr. Nicklaus, around 8am, then we’re off.

Tiger’s off at 10:42am. Here are some other notable times.

As anticipated a Masters as there’s ever been is about to begin. Let’s. Fucking. Go.