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Jack Nicklaus, Gary Player, Tom Watson hit at the Masters. But 1 mystery follows



Jack Nicklaus, Gary Player, Tom Watson hit at the Masters. But 1 mystery follows

Gary Participant hits his ceremonial tee shot on Thursday on the Masters.

Getty Photos

AUGUSTA, Ga. — I wakened at simply after 3 within the morning.  

Then once more at simply after 5. 

Then once more at 6:15. 

However I’m not drained. No manner. Not at this time. Not Masters Thursday. Not Masters opening day. 

However, whereas great to you, that’s secondary to me. That gives simply the setting. 

I’ve a riddle to resolve. An enigma to unwrap. 


But it surely was raining. 

Masters officers had stated the beginning was to be delayed — however on Wednesday night time, in a launch to the reporter gang, an announcement of how lengthy can be made first at 3 a.m. Augusta time. So I wakened then. However there was no information — exterior of the Masters web site now saying an replace can be launched at 5. So I wakened then. However there was no information — in addition to the Masters web site now saying the primary spherical wouldn’t begin earlier than 9. So I wakened for good at quarter after 6. I’d attempt to depart for Augusta Nationwide by 7:30. 

However why all of the commotion? With the delays, weren’t the golf balls going to be within the air late into the day? Sure, sure, they’d be. 

However I needed eyes on the first golf balls, the ceremonial tee pictures from Jack Nicklaus, Gary Participant and Tom Watson off No. 1, although to not see the legends themselves. I’d seen that earlier than. All of us have. 

However I’d by no means seen the place the precise golf balls find yourself. 

Did they simply sit there?

Did they disappear underground? Like some secret trap-door deal?

If sliced or hooked into the gallery, might you … land your self a memento? Like a foul ball in baseball? To cite the Steve Miller Band, go on and take the golf balls and run? [Sorry.]

I wasn’t alone, both. Just a few of my colleagues questioned. Buddies did. In 2013, a reporter had made some progress on this most urgent of topics — some staff grabbed them, he wrote, however then they disappeared into the members’ professional store — however we’d give it one other go. The task would now begin at simply after 10:10, when the information lastly got here that the postponement would finish. 

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I began on the 1st tee. I made 210 paces down the precise aspect of the outlet, to the beginning of the upslope on the outlet. One individual was there. A photograph supervisor of some type. I informed him in regards to the Masters thriller. 

“Ooh, that’s a great query. Yeah, let me know that reply in the event you discover out.”

Will do. 

I walked one other 60 paces, to in regards to the spot the place there are timber, simply wanting the green bunker. One individual was there. A cameraman whose digital camera was pointed again towards the tee field. He stated he’s had the job for 5 years. He stated they by no means present if the tee balls find yourself poorly.  

He thought marshalls come out to get the golf balls. However he’s unsure. He was . We talked extra. 

Me: Of the 5 years, have you ever seen anybody go left or proper? 

Cameraman: “No, I believe Jack’s final yr was in all probability a lowball that didn’t look good.” 

Me: I’ll be down there. I’ll be curious. I’ll let you realize.

Cameraman: “Yeah. And in the event that they don’t get the ball, go on the market and seize it!” 

Me: Yeah, that’s what I’m considering. It’s like — yeah, the thought is ‘the unknown memento you may get’ in the event that they hit it left or proper. 

Cameraman: “I do know, proper!” 

Me: Can I simply decide it up and name it good? I don’t know. Is somebody going to deal with me? I don’t know.  

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Cameraman: “You already know — what do they at all times say? Make an apology somewhat than permission.” 

Me: Haha. Yeah. I’ll be like, yeah, I didn’t know. All proper, discuss to you later. 

Cameraman: “See ya.” 

I positioned myself about 25 yards forward of the beginning of the upslope. 

I heard applause. Sport time. Participant was first. I noticed a swing. I felt a rush. How would this go? It was onerous to identify the place the ball was in opposition to the sky — then it dropped down the center of the green, about 25 yards forward of the place I used to be standing. Nicklaus was subsequent. His ball additionally dropped into the green, although on the left aspect of it and about 40 yards wanting it. Lastly, Watson. Fairway, too, about 15 yards previous Participant. “Oh my god,” a patron stated strolling previous. 

Within the fairway, the golf balls rested. 

I waited. 

The group across the tee started to maneuver. 

I waited. There’s lastly motion in my space. 

Two employee varieties, who each seemed to be of their early 20s, went beneath the patron rope on the left aspect of the outlet and walked towards the golf balls. Two different employee varieties, one other one in his early 20s and one older, approached the golf balls from the precise aspect. The three 20-somethings have been assigned to the three golf balls. Every picked one up. Every inspected them. Everybody walked off to the precise aspect of the outlet, to in regards to the spot the place there was a tv stand. It seemed like right here the 20-something employee varieties handed the golf balls to the older employee sort. 

I approached them. 

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Me: Guys, the place are these golf balls going?

Older worker-type: “Uh, tucked away. Deep, deep away.” 

Me: The place?

Older worker-type: “By no means to be seen once more.”

[Me in my head: What is this, “Raiders of the Lost Ark?”

The older worker-type thanked the youthful crew. They thanked him again. The older employee sort darted off into the timber on the precise. There’s a path in that space. The youthful crew began strolling again towards the tee field. I adopted them. 

Me: Hey, guys — I’m with GOLF Journal — are you working for the week?

One member of the youthful crew: “We work beginning Monday, yeah.” 

Me: “So the place — do they go to the clubhouse?”

One member of the youthful crew: “I don’t know. They don’t inform us something, however they don’t need us to talk.” 

Me: How did you guys get the job to go seize the balls? Did they let you know early within the week?

One member of the youthful crew then tapped one other member of the youthful crew on the shoulder and stated: “They don’t need us to reply questions.” 

Me: I perceive, I perceive. So who was the man you gave it to?

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There was no reply.

However I had one different avenue. 

I’d ask Jack, Gary and Tom. Why not? That they had a press convention. I’ve requested stranger questions. They’ve answered odder questions.  

I waited. I bought the third-to-last query in. 

Me: This query is for the three of you simply actual fast. Do you guys have an thought what occurs to the golf balls out of your tee pictures this morning?

Nicklaus answered. 

“We signal them they usually go right into a case right here, I believe.”

That appeared so as to add up. Appeared like a solution. Nicklaus then joked: 

“They definitely weren’t broken. They are going to be all proper.”

Good to know. 

Nick Piastowski

Nick Piastowski Editor

Nick Piastowski is a Senior Editor at and Golf Journal. In his function, he’s chargeable for modifying, writing and creating tales throughout the golf area. And when he’s not writing about methods to hit the golf ball farther and straighter, the Milwaukee native might be taking part in the sport, hitting the ball left, proper and quick, and consuming a chilly beer to clean away his rating. You may attain out to him about any of those subjects — his tales, his sport or his beers — at [email protected].

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