AP NEWS

Masters patrons willing to brave storms for full experience

April 10, 2019

AUGUSTA — As the gates to the Masters opened Tuesday morning, rain poured down.

As patrons shuffled in, scaled Augusta National Golf Club’s now-muddied hills and mulled around near the gift shop, rain poured down.

And as storm clouds swirled overhead and a 10 a.m. thunderstorm alert went out – which included a suspension of play and course evacuation – one thing was clear: Fans were going to stick this one out. Whether that meant huddling near the entrances, kicking back in the car or attempting to linger and remain undetected on the course as long as possible was up to the individual patron.

Keith Hines Sr. and his son, Keith Hines Jr., were standing near hole No. 1′s tee box before the play-suspending call was made. Amid a flood of branded umbrellas, ponchos and the occasional plastic bag, the two stood ready to watch some golf.

Tuesday marked their first Masters. They both had one-day passes. So, they explained, they were going to be at Augusta National “rain or shine.” Especially because they drove in from Kentucky.

Hines Sr. described the Masters as a “unique” opportunity, one that had made his bucket list. Hines Jr. – who credited his dad for getting him into golf – agreed, emphasizing they would “power through” the encroaching storms.

Jordan Goldschmidt, who came to Georgia this week from Texas, was also standing at No. 1 as the rain came down. He was at the Masters – his first one, too – with his family. A self-described golf super fan, Goldschmidt said he and his Masters crew were going to try to endure the less-than-perfect weather.

“We were always going to at least try,” Goldschmidt said, later describing Augusta National and its springtime tournament as golf’s “pinnacle.”

Paul Farrar and Tad Suhara were among the sea of people being flushed off the course near the No. 18 green.

It was Farrar’s third Masters and Suhara’s first. Despite the rain and predicted lightning, Farrar said they would “like to hang” around.

Suhara flew in from Japan just for Tuesday, Farrar explained, so they would have to make the best of it. Suhara said he was amazed by the course, putting it succinctly: “Wow.”

Gates reopened Tuesday around 12:45 p.m. Patrons – adorned in rain gear – streamed back in.

Golfers on Monday discussed, in myriad interviews, the rain’s effect on the course and how it may cause a play-style switch-up.