The Masters 2019 Live : The Masters 2019 Tournament Golf will be the 83rd edition of the Masters Tournament and the first of golf’s four major championships to be held in 2019. It will be held from April 11–14 at Augusta National Golf Club in Augusta, Georgia. Our final pre-tournament ranking of the best bets to win at Augusta.
He is at the world’s most famous course at its famed event, and the sport’s most famous face is in front of him. But Jay DiPali does not seem to care in the least. As Tiger Woods hits his tee shot at the 16th hole, his head is swiveling every which way but the one it should be pointed.
That is until Woods, and partners Justin Thomas and Fred Couples, depart the tee box, which grabs DiPali’s attention. With fire in his belly and beer on his breath, he barks, “Skip. Skip! SKIP!” He is joined in unison by his friends and the thousand or so patrons surrounding the hole, per tradition. And their pleas are heard: Woods, Thomas and Couples ricochet their balls off the pond and onto the green. Cheers go up, and DiPali produces a glowing nod.
He then returns to the predicaments that have vexed him so, which appears to be the prospect of an empty cup (a gulp or two away from fruition) and whether the cadre of girls they were supposed to meet will show.
“Flow killer,” says DiPalio of Columbia, S.C., resigning himself to the fate that he and his buds have been stood up. He says this with no trace of glib, because—in spite of the panorama that lies before him—he holds it as true. Also a fit of pique: the lack of sundresses in the early morning. “Just killing my morning.”
It’s a line that will make many of this tournament’s obsessives—especially those not on property this week, their lottery bids unfulfilled, their quests for a secondary-market badge in vain—bite their putters in agony. But a line that speaks to a certain, and growing, sect of patrons at the Masters. More specifically, the area they congregate.
On the whole, the patrons at Augusta National are a different profile from the modern fan. They are well-informed, attentive, reserved, respectful, stemming from Bobby Jones’ standing mandate on behavior at the Masters.
“In golf, customs of etiquette and decorum are just as important as rules governing play,” wrote Jones in 1967. “It is appropriate for spectators to applaud successful strokes in proportion to difficulty but excessive demonstrations by a player or his partisans are not proper because of the possible effect upon other companies. Most distressing to those who love the game of golf is the applauding or cheering of misplays or misfortunes of a player. Such occurrences have been rare at the Masters but we must eliminate them entirely if our patrons are to continue to merit their reputation as the most knowledgeable and considerate in the world.”
This edict still serves as the M.O. of the tournament. Well, at least over most of its domain. At the edges of the delicate Masters ecosystem resides the 16th hole, an area that can be decidedly un-Augusta.
For many, golf is not the draw of the 16th; it’s the atmosphere. What they know about the sport—or more specifically, what they don’t—hammers that sentiment home. While Woods was on the 15th, four adult men, for the life of them, could not remember who won last year’s Masters, saved by the polite sigh of “Patrick Reed” from a volunteer. (Whether the sigh was at their ignorance or the divisive nature of the champ is anyone’s guess.) Most patrons name their canines Juniper, White Dogwood and Redbud; the average fan on the 16th thinks these are Jersey Mike’s subs.
Instead, the 16th is the place to be seen, to converse, to party. Especially to party.
“Why go anywhere else?” replies Bob Rummel, full drink in hand. “It sizzles here.” And wobbles, as a host of patrons are clearly enjoying their share of the spirits.
To be fair, there’s an inherent acceptance in 2019 that hosting a sporting event means entertaining non-sports fans. That’s why hospitality boxes are so important to new arenas, why ballparks have breweries and playgrounds attached to their diamonds. It applies to Augusta National, found in Berckmans Place.
But Berckmans is for businessmen and VIPs; there’s not a specifically designated socializing area for the common man. So, over the years, they made the 16th their own.
“It’s just people being themselves out here,” DiPali said, rejuvenated at the sight of newly-arrived co-eds. “You feel like you’re going to get yelled at, but here is just different.”Scholars debate when it started—the club itself isn’t sure, and Tom Kite, Lee Trevino and Ken Green have all taken credit for it—but it’s generally accepted that skipping a ball off the 16th pond came to prominence in the late ’80s. The patrons loved the magic trick, and soon called on the entire field to take part in the act.
Only the feeling wasn’t reciprocated, with many players, ahem, skipping the request. Davis Love III was chief among the detractors, feeling the practice went against what Jones and Augusta National co-founder Cliff Roberts had in mind.
“I didn’t think it was in the tradition of the Masters,” Love told Golfweek in 2016.
But the petitions persisted, and slowly the players succumbed to the cries. That included Love, who eventually joined in. His reasoning? “I started getting booed.”
“Once you understand that there are a bunch of fans that sit there all day and that’s the only day they come to the Masters, you realize this is good entertainment for them,” Love said. “And if all the chairmen haven’t stopped it, then I guess it’s OK.”
It is, in ways, peculiar, as those that encircle the 16th echo DiPali’s ambivalence towards the practice shots but become super invested once the player stride towards the water. Imagine a basketball crowd watch Steph Curry hit three after three in warm-ups, only to plead the Warriors star to play hacky sack with the ball.
Don’t get us wrong; it is cool to see a player glide a shot over the drink and onto the pristine green, but its novelty wears thin relatively quickly. At least to us; to the masses that flock to the 16th, it’s hypnotic.
“I’ve watched this 13 years and I still don’t know how they do it,” says Mark Little, 44. “Every time one lands on the green we (the crowd) react like it’s the first time.”
At a tournament, at a course, known for its restrictive ways, a bit of silliness can sometimes be welcomed. A silliness the 16th gallery is happy to emit.The Masters Tournament begins Thursday morning when 87 golfers competing for the fabled green jacket tee off at Augusta National Golf club. But a persistent rainstorm could delay parts of the tournament.
The Weather Channel says there’s a 60 percent chance of rain in Augusta, Georgia, on Friday. On Saturday there’s an 80 percent chance of rain, and it’s even higher on Sunday, during final-round play.
While Augusta National features a SubAir drainage system to handle any rain, the threat of thunderstorms and lightning is the main issue heading into the weekend. The course had to suspend practice play Monday and Tuesday due to inclement weather.