The Mystery Behind Magnolia Lane
The Masters tournament at Augusta National Golf club is one of the most special weeks in all of sports, and even pro golfers want to make the most of it
From the Print Edition:
Matthew McConaughey, March/April 2011
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Another friend of Weir’s, David Dube of Saskatoon, got his Masters reward in 2010. Dube, CEO of the Concorde Company, had won a charity auction to carry Weir’s bag during a PGA Tour event in 2008. Weir subsequently invited him to the Masters in 2010, but Dube would only come with a stipulation: that he could cook a meal and take over from “The Guv” for a night.
So now Dube, who’s a pretty well-traveled guy in the golf world, finally got his chance to be at Augusta National. “There’s no place on earth like it,” says Dube. “You feel like you are walking on clouds. It’s pretty magical.”
After the Tuesday practice round, Weir asked him to caddy in the Wednesday Par 3 tournament. That got Dube a bit nervous, since he was slated to cook that night. “Mike’s caddy said ‘David, this is a once in a lifetime thing. You’ve got to do it.’ So I did and it was great, great fun.”
“It’s really something for the people who come for the first time there,” says Weir. “When you are not at the course it really doesn’t have the feeling of a real big-time event like some U.S. Opens or British Opens. But when they walk around to the other side of the clubhouse and see the course all out in front of them, there is a real wow factor.”
For Nick Faldo, he of the iron chest and steely demeanor, the Masters was all about winning, and he went about his business with authority and austerity during his playing days in Augusta.
“For the longest time I took rooms at the Courtyard Marriott,” says Faldo, now the lead commentator for CBS at the tournament. “When I won in 1989 and 1990, we were staying there, Gil [his first wife] and the kids and a nanny. We’d go out to eat, places where the kids would eat, maybe to Michaels, Olive Garden. I really don’t remember that much. I was playing in the tournament and wrapped up in that.
“After I won I said I should buy a house. It would have made things bloody simple, same place every year, but didn’t do it. I have been renting houses over the last maybe 19 years, and certainly since I’ve stopped playing and been with CBS, I have been able to be much more social about things. I love having my friends come now and enjoy the tournament with them, have a few laughs.”
And now Faldo, meeting his friends at the club most days, gets to see things he never allowed himself to see before. “We now sort of meet up in the morning at the club, on the back terrace there for breakfast. My son Matthew usually comes and brings a friend. I get to sit back and watch the people go by, which is pretty cool, actually.”
There is a considerable amount of corporate schmoozing going on at the Masters and most of it is off the property. There are a few discreet hospitality “cabins” at Augusta National, mostly out of sight off the first and 10th fairways. Like so many companies, Callaway Golf rents a house. “It’s a small town and the house brings that small-town atmosphere to what we are doing,” says Callaway spokesman Tim Buckman. “It’s a very rich experience for our retailers, customers and our own staff. Being able to come back to the same place every year, there’s just something extra special about it. The town is so happy to have us there. Everyone wants to go. If you asked our 2,500 employees if they wanted to go, every single one of them would raise their hand. It’s a family kind of thing.”
Tom Lehman always saw the Masters as a family affair, and one that he was personally involved in. “We would probably have upwards of 20 people, my wife and children, my father and mother, my in-laws, my brother, friends,” says Lehman, who last played in the Masters in 2006. “When the kids were young, not in school, they would come. And a nanny.
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