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An unbelievable end to a special week

The final day of my 2013 Masters experience and unfortunately it had to come to an end at some stage. But, what an unbelievable day and what an end to the tournament.

I had a fairly slow start on the morning of the final round, including a bit of a lie-in, as the effects of a long and busy week caught up with me. We eventually made our way to the course around lunchtime, and the plan was to try and walk and see as much as we could. But, it is difficult walking the golf course and seeing as many shots as you’d like, so our first stop was behind the second green.

That proved a pretty smart choice, because we saw some amazing golf, including Jason Day holing out from the bunker for eagle and Lee Westwood’s second shot that took the slope and made its way across the green and nestled close to the hole. Basically, a lot of action on that par 5.

We then snuck in behind the seventh, and that was also great, mainly because the pin position was at the bottom of a slope. So, it was quite an accessible pin and a few balls caught the slope nicely. Angel Cabrera hit an amazing shot there, to just a foot or so, and that was awesome to see live.

From there, we headed to the 16th and met up with some other South Africans. It was a good call, because we knew that on the final day, a lot of decisive plays would probably take place there and on the 15th green. So, it proved, with the wet conditions allowing the guys to hit their second shots onto the 15th green and stop it quite easily on a soft surface. We saw a couple of eagle attempts, and that’s always exciting.

We then bolted up to the 18th green and managed to get alongside the green, on the left-hand side, if you are walking up to it. So, we had a good vantage point to see Day’s birdie attempt slip just past, and then see Adam Scott hole his amazing putt, which was just a great moment, seeing a normally reserved guy like himself go absolutely mad, shouting and high-fiving his caddie, Steve Williams. We were all actually pulling for Scott, as our group of South Africans had joined up with a bunch of Aussies. I also got the sense that the Americans were pulling for him as well, due to the fact that he had done well here in the past, and just missed out on the Open Championship last year.

In saying that, Cabrera hit the most incredible shot into 18, in the most dreadful, rainy conditions. To hit that shot in those conditions and under that pressure, into the final green, to tie the clubhouse lead, was just phenomenal.

We stayed where we were for the first extra hole – the 18th – but when they both hit their second shots short, I told the guys to head for the 10th. It’s fair to say we probably ‘scuttled’ and didn’t run, because that’s obviously frowned upon here at the Masters! We managed to get quite close to the green and from there we watched the final moments of the play-off. When Scott holed the winning putt, the place just went beserk – in a reserved, Masters kind of way…..

To be fair, the conditions were cold and rainy, but there was nowhere else we wanted to be. It was just a special experience, being there when the tournament and the fate of the Green Jacket was decided.

We then went down to Butler Cabin to watch Adam come out with his Green Jacket on, and it was great to see our own Tim Clark hang around to congratulate him, as the two of them are good mates. So, there was lots of congratulating and hugging. Adam then made his way up on to the putting green, where last year’s champion Bubba Watson repeated the ritual you see on TV, helping Adam into his new Green Jacket. It was still pretty miserable out there, so there weren’t many Augusta officials, but it was still a special moment. Adam then posed in front of the cameras, before being whisked away to the awaiting media.

That was my cue to get one last, final mental image of Augusta, and I stood at the top of the 18th green, looking down the 18th fairway, as well as down the 10th, the first and the ninth. With the big scoreboard in front, I made sure I grabbed a nice mental image to take home with me.

It really has been an amazing and special week, and I owe George a huge amount for allowing me to be a part of it. As a self-confessed golf ‘nut’, this was a dream come true, and it was everything I had hoped it would be.

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