Monday, April 7, 2008

The Outsider's Report: Pregaming It

Being in Augusta, Georgia on the first full week of April means one thing and one thing only: idiot tourists behind the wheel. It's a phenomenon that begins the Saturday before the Masters Tournament begins, and doesn't end until the Monday after the Green Jacket is awarded. As I said in a previous blog entry, I've never been so close to the action before, and I plan on soaking it in.
Several months ago, the RVs started showing up. Not your average RVs, mind you, but the ticket seller RVs. Shortly after those arrived, the golf inspired billboards showed up. All along Washington Road, everything from Sergio Garcia hawking Michelob Ultra to the Club Glove ads graced the skies. Then, about a month out, you see the Preparations start. The Guesthouses are landscaped and maintained. Trash is picked up. The big green nets with the flags are seen high above the main gate, and then the satellite trailers are set up across the street to transmit the game. The tents go up, and mesh fences are set up in all parking lots within a two mile radius, including the one where I work. About two days before the tournament starts, THEY come. You Augustans know what I mean: the khaki-shorts-and-floppy-hat-clad middle aged men in their lawn chairs, begging for tickets. Their poster boards claiming the utmost in discretion and the highest prices paid for badges and tickets to the practice rounds.
I sat outside the Starbucks last night and watched it all start. I didn't realize what exactly was going on yesterday; I thought the practice rounds didn't start until today. My father informed me, though, that some of the players come and start playing on Sunday (and Tiger was there), which would explain the near-full parking field in front of my office. I sipped my cappuccino and watched as the polo shirts roamed up and down Washington Road, filling the restaurants. It was a refreshing change from the usual GIs walking around.
That's all I have to report thus far. I'm off today, but I am absolutely sure I'll have more as the days pass. Rest assured I'll keep you informed!