Wednesday, April 07, 2010

Under The Tree Is The Place To Be

One of the best places at Augusta National is not in the clubhouse but right behind it.

Under a giant oak tree that shades an enormous patch of property is the favorite gathering spot for those fortunate enough to have access to the area.

It's where meetings are set.

"I'll meet you under the tree at noon" or "Meet me under the tree when you're finished," are among the most common things you hear.

Standing under the tree today you could see the rich, the famous and powerful. And some sports writers.

There was Tom Fazio, the course designer, talking to friends. John Solheim, the man who runs Ping golf and made the gracious and wise decision to resolve the illegal grooves issue that surfaced earlier this year, was under the tree.

Tiger Woods, having just finished a nine-hole practice round, was escorted through the area into the clubhouse but he reached out to shake hands with a friend as he passed.

Woods' agent, Mark Steinberg, was there, making small talk with people between meetings.

Around lunch time, there were plenty of green-jacketed members under the tree. Nearby, a couple dozen outdoor tables were filled with guests having lunch under umbrellas.

Occasionally, golfers would pass through under the tree. Some stopped to chat with friends. Others were headed to the practice green.

Outside the ropes, spectators watched what was happening under the tree, snapping photos and pointing.

It's a cool place to be.