Augusta's 12th hole is perhaps the most famous par three in the world2019 MastersDate: 11-14 April Location: Augusta NationalCoverage: view highlights of the first two days for live and uninterrupted coverage of the final rounds on BBC Two, with up to four live streams online. Live radio and text commentary of all four days on BBC Radio 5 Live, BBC Radio 5 Live Sports Extra, BBC Sport website and mobile app. All details
In 1986 I was allowed to stay up late to look at the end of the Masters. I didn't know much about the tournament, except that my father was a fan, but he allowed me to go far beyond my bedtime, so I was all-in.
It turned out to be a good introduction. Jack Nicklaus destroyed Greg Norman by making only 30 shots for the last nine holes to win a record sixth Green Jacket.
The roar was loud, the colors lively, water everywhere. The roar became louder. The television comment was sublime. I was addicted.
It took 33 years to visit Augusta National for the first time. Here are five reasons why it was on my wish list.
The Masters is about so much more than the four days that determine the winner.
The tournament is neatly packed between the drive of the honorary starter on Thursday and the presentation of the Green Jacket in the Butler Cabin on Sunday.
But even before the opening of the tee-shot, there is the Champions Dinner on Wednesday and the par-three game on Wednesday to illuminate the atmosphere.
The menu for the Champions Dinner was created by the winner of the previous year. In 1997, the English Nick Faldo chose tomato soup followed by fish and chips. In 2012, Charl Schwartzel asked for a South African braai – a kind of barbecue – with a monkey gland.
Defending champion Patrick Reed has opted for the safer option of steak, mac and cheese, and creamy vegetables
"I am going to fatten absolutely everyone," said Reed, who added grilled chicken and seafood "to the 30-year-old men please ".
The par-three competition has a relaxed atmosphere, with partners of players, children and friends who put on the white suits of the caddies and are allowed to hit tee-shots and putts.
Beware of the & # 39; par-three curse & # 39; – in the 58 years it has been disputed, no one has won it and then continued to secure the green jacket.
All this time, clients – always regular customers, never spectators – move quietly around the track. They must, or they are in danger of being thrown away.
The rules are simple. Do not run. No yelling. No cell phones. And if you have a chair approved by Masters, you can have it plundered at your favorite place, day off and come back safely knowing that nobody has touched it.
The clients are nicely rewarded for their good spending. behaviour. Pimento-cheese sandwiches – a local favorite – they put just over £ 1, while a local beer doesn't cost much more than a few pounds.
And then there is great John Daly. He becomes something of a Masters institution. The 1995 Open champion is back in Augusta this year, but not to play. He has set up his van in a parking lot just around the corner from the entrance, where he sells memorabilia.
The big shots
All majors have a large number of memorable recordings, but what helps the Masters feel more special is the fact that it is in the same place every year, so certain shots and pin positions become in our memory.
In the video below we have compiled our top 10, although there have been so many to choose from, we must have missed one or two. And even if you can't watch the video, you can still vote for your favorite in our list.
Masters 2019: Choose your favorite Masters recording of all time from this top 10
One shot that we were unable to record is the & # 39; shot of the champion Gene Sarazen & # 39; all over the world. It is perhaps the largest of them all because it helped catapult the Masters for toddlers into the mainstream.
But because there were no television images, his two-yard albatross two of 230 yards in the 15th par-5 will forever remain a mystery to everyone except those who were there.
Masters 2018: Patrick Reed has the guts to beat rivals and win Masters
It is more hilly even than I was warned to expect, but under the most gloomy sky Augusta National is beautiful.
The azaleas are in bloom. The fairways are perfectly maintained. The greens are smooth and true.
But where do you have to go first? There are clear pilgrimages. Behind the 16th tee is a bronze plate dedicated to quadruple winner Arnold Palmer. There is one for honorary starter Nicklaus on his way to the 17th tee.
Other popular places are to the left of the 16th green, from where Tiger Woods & # 39; die chip & # 39; in 2005 hid (and to show players their skimming) tee shots across the water to the green) and right of the 10th to see how Bubba Watson hooked a 40-yard wedge to win in 2012.
Amen Corner offers a view of the second half of the 11th, the whole of the dangerous short 12th and the first half of the 13th. However, it is busy even on practice days.
I walk on and wonder how 2017 champion Sergio Garcia managed to put five balls in the pond on the 15th last year.
Masters Memories: the 13-member test of Sergio Garcia from the 2018 Masters
After standing behind the 18th T-piece and introducing myself to driving a driver through the middle of the narrow, tree-lined tunnel that opens onto the fairway, I walk down to & # 39; Sandy & # 39; s bunker & # 39; to inspect – the one Lyle of Scotland knocked out a seven-iron in 1988 on his way to becoming the first British winner.
The front nine is not immediately recognizable. The elongated uphill to the well-guarded second green is perhaps best known, after the albatross of Louis Oosthuizen in 2012.
The parachute par-five eighth is a monster with a long, sinewy green but it is really going to …
… the previous nine on Sunday
There is an old saying that the Masters only really start when the players hit the nine in the final round.
So many championships have been won and lost on some of the most disturbing holes in golf. I watched them all and the memories flew back when I really saw the photos.
Faldo won his third green jacket in 1996 when Norman took nine, ten and eleven buoys before finding water at twelve as six stained shot turned into a five-shot deficit.
American Jordan Spieth, who birded four consecutive holes to lead with five to nine to play, looked nailed to keep his title in 2016 but dropped shots at 10 and 11 and hit two balls in the water at 12 o'clock when Danny Willett won from England.
Then there was Rory McIlroy in 2011. The Northern Irishman started the last day with a lead of four shots but dropped six shots in three holes of the 10th, including taking four putts from 20 feet on the 12th. Schwartzel went on to win.
Woods claimed the first of his 14 majors with Augusta in 1997 – he has won the event three times since
There are so many to go. Will McIlroy finally complete the Grand Slam career of all four majors? He has the game for Augusta National, with top 10 finishes in his previous five Masters, and he is in shape after winning the Players Championship last month.
Will England's number one, Justin Rose, break his Masters duck after a few runners-up spots in recent years? Is his countryman Tommy Fleetwood, who has been close to the US Open twice, ready to win his first major?
It is impossible for Americans to ignore Woods. At the age of 43, he is back on the world ranking of 12, the highest ranked player in the field to win here, although the last of his four triumphs was 14 years ago. Nicklaus won his last Masters 11 years after winning his fifth at the age of 46.
Spieth may have dropped to 33 in the world ranking, but the 25-year-old champion of 2015 also has two seconds and a third in his five appearances.
Rickie Fowler, who finished in second place in three of the four majors, and third in the 2014 US PGA Championship, has received a victory too late. The 30-year-old was still underground last year for his last two rounds to push Reed close.
The truth is that I could walk more than half of the field and make a claim for those pulling the Green Jacket on Sunday
I'd like to see McIlroy be Slam of Woods completed and ended his great drought, but there is little room for sentimentality in the sport and I think there will be an English rose that overshadows the azaleas on Sunday.