First shooting The Masters, then playing a round: ‘I’m beaming’
Editor’s note: Each year, on the Monday following the Masters Tournament, 40 lottery-winning members of the media who covered the event are invited to play the course – a never-in-my-wildest-dreams opportunity for many. Here is one photographer’s story:
I don’t normally post stories like this, but this one is too good not to share. Here’s how it went: Drive down Magnolia Lane, valet the car, walk into the champions’ locker room, use Ben Crenshaw’s locker.
Out to the range to meet your caddy. Striping balls off the best grass in the world is not a bad way to start your morning. Little short game, roll putts for about 10 minutes and off to the first tee. Shake hands with some people that are probably a few too many tax brackets above me thanking me for coming. Ok, sure. The group takes a photo and it’s time to play golf.
No one seems to want to go first, so I volunteer. I was surprised at how calm I stayed. One absolutely pure driver up the left side with a little cut, middle of the fairway. Ok, we’re golfing. Nine iron in, great 2 putt for par on the first hole at Augusta National Golf Club the day after the Masters, same pins, same everything. It literally could not be more surreal. I rip driver over the crest of the hill on 2 in the middle of the fairway — 235 in, all carry over the bunkers to a back right pin.
We think 3-wood off the TV tower behind the green and just let it bleed at the back right pin. I proceed to hit the best 3 wood I’ve ever hit in my life, like a tuning fork, and it’s right at the tower and it’s starting to cut. Pure, like you can hear it cut through the air, with birds singing, totally quiet on top of the hill overlooking the most hallowed grounds in the golf world. It starts moving over the scoreboard on 18 and it’s like it’s in slow motion.
One lands on the green and just rolls to the right fringe. Rich-the-caddy then says the best quote I’ve ever heard, in his best Georgia accent, “Ain’t nothing like a 240-yard walk with a putter.”
Leave the eagle putt short, to a 4-footer up the hill, inside right. Birdie. This was maybe the worst thing that could have happened because now you’re thinking about making a real number, which someone of my skill level this golf course will simply not allow. Jumped on a little bogey train, made the turn in 43. Ended up in Bubba territory on 10 — I’m not Bubba, punch out. Up and down for bogey.
The golf course really teaches you that if you put it in a bad spot, you will pay dearly for it, and how much it really frustrates the best golfers in the world. I hopped a really really crisp 7 iron on the green and into the back bunker on 12. No up and down for bogey. Bogey 13 with a poor approach and 14 with a 3 jack. Hit another too perfect 3 wood onto and over the back of 15 green over the pond.
Blow a chip to an impossible pin from back there and make 6. On 16, the par 3 over the pond I have 140 to the flag and I like 8 iron. Rich-the-caddy hands me 7 and says he really likes it. He knows a little more about this place than I do, so I trust him. We hit it to 5 inches. Five inches!!!! I thought it was going to roll in. Tap in bird. I needed that.
Pulled it into the Eisenhower tree on 17 which I can see why the President wanted cut down. Made a great bogey on 18 from the pine straw to finish with an 86 that felt like a 75. It was, quite possibly the best day ever and far exceeded any expectations I could possibly have. I need to thank my Getty Images team for their unwavering support, and the Augusta National Golf Club for this amazing opportunity.
Mike Ehrmann spent the majority of his career shooting sports in New York City, and after 10 years moved to Miami in 2010. Mike has been a staff photographer at Getty Images for two and half years and an avid golfer his whole life.