Augusta diary - Friday

You have to be on your best behaviour at Augusta National. Patrons are not allowed to run, which caused me quite a problem as my hat flew off on the wind as I made my way up the 18th.

Fortunately, it was intercepted by a friendly face as it cartwheeled its way toward the spectator walkway on the ninth fairway.

I had to remind myself not to run. But one patron quickly found out that the Securitas officers on duty around the course do not stand for any kind of messing around.

With beer readily available at the course, one man was talking so loudly on the par three 16th that he caused a player to back off his putt.

Despite the shushing of those around him, he continued to roar in stentorian tones and was soon tapped on the shoulder by security. 

His badge was removed and he was escorted to the gate, never to be seen again no doubt.

Banner year

The Federal Aviation Administration wants to have a word with the pilot who flew over Augusta National on Thursday, trailing banners poking fun at Tiger Woods.

Two aviation safety inspectors will be sent to meet the pilot of the single-engine Cessna and the company behind the stunt, apparently an aerial advertiser from Ohio.

The plane flew around the course during Woods first round and towed two banners at different times.

The first read: “Tiger: Did you mean Bootyism?” The carried the message: “Sex addict? Yeah. Right. Sure. Me too.”

According to the local press, the FAA received calls about the banners and said it would send inspectors to check whether the pilot and company had appropriate credentials.

“We will ensure that the operator had banner-towing authorization for that area,” a spokeswoman said. 

The wording on banners is not regulated by the FAA, nor is Augusta National a no-fly zone.

Because of increased flights in and out of local airports during the Masters, the FAA issues a non-mandatory advisory asking pilots not to fly within two nautical miles of the tournament and not below 2,500 feet in that area.

Famous faces

You’re likely to bump into some famous faces on a trip to Augusta National.

On Wednesday, the former Mayor of New York City, Rudy Giuliani, popped his head into the media centre.

Later in the day I was waiting to cross the eighth fairway when a patron borrowed a pen from the marshall and proceeded to ask a tall, grey haired man for his autograph.

It turned out to be 6’ 4” Andy North, the 1978 and 1985 US Open champion, who is one of 25 honorary non-competing invitee this week.

The fan thanked North, who replied: “Thank you, sir. Appreciate it.” 

Sounds like the kind of man the green jackets like to have around.

Waiting to bloom

Many have commented on the lack of colour around Amen Corner this week.

But a local horticulturist is betting that the azaleas will be in full bloom by tomorrow afternoon (Sunday).

According to the Augusta Chronicle, Jenny Addie from the local Green Thumb West nursery believes the late blooms can be blamed on the cold weather of a late spring.