Bluefield Daily Telegraph, Bluefield, WV

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April 3, 2013

Good golf, good food at the Masters

I attended the Masters in person for the first time in 1996 with my good friend, Phil Alicea. It was his first time as well and we had a ball. I'll never forget that we were on the 10th tee on Sunday and saw the last group tee off. It was Greg Norman and Nick Faldo. At that time Norman had (if my memory serves me) a five- or six-shot lead with nine holes to play.

Traffic at the Masters is a challenge. We were near the clubhouse and made the fateful decision to not follow the back nine and start our drive back home. At that time, Phil lived in Pulaski, Tenn. As I dropped him off I came in to check the final leader board. We were shocked to see that Norman had totally folded, and Faldo had secured another green jacket. Yep, and we missed it. As they say, “it's never over till the fat lady sings.”

If you have attended other sporting events, one thing you will notice is that they really stick it to you on the pricing of food. Not at the Masters. The concession areas for the general public are meticulously clean, the model of efficiency, and the ladies selling you the food exhibit the genteel manners of southern kindness. 

All the sandwich wrappers are green, the exact green of the tightly mowed rye grass. If you drop it, you will not spot the wrappers on television. As a backup, there are young men dressed in yellow swarming the grounds, picking up cigarettes, cigars, cups, wrappers, whatever shouldn't be on the ground. There is no doubt that during that week, Augusta National is the most highly cared for 500-acre plot of land in the world.

Back to food. I have attended 14 Masters tournaments, and something I always looked forward to was an egg salad sandwich and a cold Heineken beer. Cost? A total of $3.50. Don't believe me? I took a picture of the menu board. Also on the menu is the famous pimento cheese sandwich. From what I understand they have dropped the cold (and fried) chicken breast sandwich and replaced it with a grilled chicken wrap sandwich. Did Michelle Obama threaten to picket the tournament or something?

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