Masters Golf

The gallery watches as Phil Mickelson crosses the Sarazen Bridge to the 15th green during a practice round for the Masters golf tournament in Augusta, Ga., Wednesday, April 7, 2021.

AUGUSTA, Ga. — Some of the greatest stars at the Masters aren’t on the course but in the gallery. I’ve seen famous folks here this week like Joe Montana (on a motorized scooter; get well soon, Joe), Greg Norman, Chris Tucker and Nancy Lopez. I’ve missed people like Dwayne Wade, Wayne Gretzky and Patrick Mahomes, but they’ve been here, too.

But some of the real stars are the average folks in the gallery, the patrons. They are much thinner in number this year than normal, but they still produce some gem-worthy quotes if you really listen.

Here’s a sample:

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“Now, this is 13 …” (If you don’t know the 13th hole at Augusta National, turn in your ticket immediately.)

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“Where is number 7?” (10 yards to your left, sir.)

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“I didn’t bring my camera. I’m going to need to go back.” (Cameras are allowed on practice days, but no cell phones … ever. And patrons weren’t allowed this week to leave the grounds and return. Sorry, Mr. No Camera Guy.)

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“What the hell is way over there?”

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“No. 2 is just a big dogleg downhill …”

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“That was both exciting and nervewracking.” (Would have liked to have heard the first part of that conversation.)

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“Is there a patron lying on the ground over there?” (This after Bryson DeChambeau hit a drive way right into the trees on No. 1 during a practice round.)

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Tuesday on the practice green, Jordan Spieth called out to Daniel Berger.

“How much to your hole?” Spieth asked, aiming at a hole about 75 feet away.

“500” Berger said. Dollars, we assume.

Spieth missed. All bets were off.

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“Can you take our picture?” (Monday.)

“Can you take our picture?” (Tuesday.)

“Can you take our picture?” (And Wednesday.)

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A steady stream of fans come down the hill at 10 every day of Masters week, looking for the spot where Bubba Watson his famous wedge out of the trees to win his sudden-death playoff in the 2012 Masters.

“It’s crazy that he turned it that much with a wedge.”

“It was to win the Masters. It wasn’t a couple of guys playing for a couple of beers.”

“I guess they moved the plaque.” (There has never been a plaque to commemorate where Watson hit his shot. Augusta National doesn’t do plaques to commemorate shots.)

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“It’s hard to believe a place like this exists.”

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Man to his friends at Amen Corner: “This is God’s country right here.”

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Golfing great Greg Norman and actor Chris Tucker chatting Thursday morning near the first tee.

Norman: “How’s your game?”

Tucker: “It’s coming together.”

Norman: “What you shooting?”

“Oh, no," Tucker says, laughing. "You need to give me lessons.”

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A man by the fourth tee Saturday pointing out Joe Montana: “You recognize that Notre Dame quarterback over there?”

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“Is that Mike Tirico over there?”

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“I hope there’s a restroom up ahead.”

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“This is the safest place in the United States.”

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“I’m not going to lie to you here.” (Someplace else, perhaps, but this was also at Amen Corner. God’s country, remember?)

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“It feels fake, right? You see it on TV so much.”

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Behind the 16th tee Saturday:

“Who’s this? Oh. It’s just Patrick Reed.” (Ouch.)

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“How long is your drive home?”

“Safe travels.”

Until we meet again.


Email Scott Rabalais at srabalais@theadvocate.com