Tag Archives: Tiger Woods

The Glorious Goodness of the Pimento Cheese Sandwich – 2008 Masters Revisited

(The Masters is this week and in 2008 I had the pleasure of attending the Thursday & Friday rounds. Here is a blog I wrote on a now defunct – at least it should be – website about my visit and the impressions that it left)

I have to admit that I have sat here trying to figure out a way to best describe the events of the past few days and truly, I am at a loss for words. As a sports fan, there are events that you participate in and there are events that you attend and then there are there are those events that you can only truly really experience….

And then there is The Masters.

Lets get one thing out of the way first before we even begin to get to the rest of the awesomeness that is Augusta. Everyone I have ever spoken to about attending the Masters and every article I have ever read about attending the Masters have all said the same thing. You must have one of the fabled Pimento Cheese Sandwiches. They are spoken of in reverential fashion and they have been granted an almost godlike status. So when we got to the hallowed grounds of the Augusta Country Club, one of the first things we did after hitting the golf shop (more on that later), watching Tiger Woods putt on the practice green (and based on his performance he needed to spend more time here) and touching the fairway grass (well, that was just me but again more on that later) was to go and find a concession stand so that we too could partake of the Glorious Goodness of the Pimento Cheese Sandwich. I paid my $1.50 and ripped through the opaque green wrapping and took a huge bite…….

Let me now also be the one to tell you that the legendary Pimento Cheese Sandwich is obviously a cruel practical joke perpetuated on an unknowing & gullible golfing public by the green jacket clad members of the Augusta Country Club and all those who have fallen victim in the past. Though I have never tried it myself, I am now convinced that a tub of spackle has the same consistency and probably tastes better than this yellow hued mess that was globbed & spread between two pieces of Wonder Bread. You take that first big bite with relish & gusto and truly expect to see God or at least Bobby Jones. Your taste buds immediately begin to tell you that this is a mistake of truly epic proportions but your mind rejects this information and tells you that it really can’t be this bad and that surely the next bite will be better but it’s not. In fact, with each ensuing bite it only gets worse but you continue to eat it because all of your life you have heard about how you have to experience the glorious goodness of the Pimento Cheese Sandwich at The Masters. As you finally force that final bite into your mouth you begin to realize that not only have you been truly suckered but that you have also just joined a fraternity of countless thousands that have also fallen victim to this cruel & insidious inside joke. As you forcibly swallow that last bite you make a silent vow that somehow, some way, someone will pay for this……

But I digress…….now I have been to more than a few golf tournaments over the years. I have seen the PGA championship, I have been to a regular tour event, I have been to see the women and I have been to see the Senior’s Tour and none of these events can even come close to the (hold on let me put on the mantle of hyperbole given to all sportscasters working for CBS & ESPN) majesty that is Augusta. It is a course and club that is truly built for one reason and one reason only. To put on the best golf tournament of the year. From the minute you set foot on the hallowed grounds you are enveloped in the history and spectacle that are The Masters. You can also catch a whiff of Disney in the proceedings when you pass the Golf Shop with it’s 20+ cash registers and UPS shipping depot right next door. But enough of that, let’s get to real reason a golf fanatic like me is really there. It’s because any other week of the year I have a better chance of finding Osama Bin Laden in an Afghani cave than I do setting foot on the course. Come June 1 this course will be shut & locked down tighter than my daughter’s bedroom door on prom night. So when I got the call from Goose letting me know that a spot had opened in a corporate boondoggle junket and it was mine for the taking, well I just about ran all the way to Georgia. The weekend is still pretty much a blur so I will do my best to remember some of the highlights.

We flew into Columbia, SC and I couldn’t help but notice the big highway sign for Maurice’s BBQ on the road to Augusta.

Went to Wild Wings our first night. Apparently just about every hooker in the greater Atlanta area had the same idea. And who can blame them ? It was a target rich environment filled with drunken businessmen with corporate expense accounts. It was such a target rich environment that even wingchicks had their choices. And I am sorry to say but the wings were hardly wild…..

The first thing you notice about Augusta is the grass. You could putt from just about anywhere on the course. The second thing you notice is the hill that you need to climb to get to the Clubhouse, 1st Tee and practice green. The next thing I noticed was Tiger Woods 10 feet in front of me walking to the practice green. The guy is cut like a free safety in the NFL and he has serious game face. He started out putting one handed with tees stuck in the green the length of his putter apart. He hit 20 in a row that way. He should have kept putting that way the rest of the weekend because despite the best efforts of Jim Nantz & CBS, Tiger was NEVER in it. I couldn’t help but watch as all the other players on the green took glances and long looks at Tiger’s ritual & warm up. Trevor Immelman was already out on the course so I don’t think that he was intimidated.

As we walked down the 10th fairway towards “Amen Corner” I got down on my hands & knees and rubbed the grass. It wouldn’t be the last time I would do it over the weekend either. As I began to look around I was surprised at how hilly the course was. One local writer described walking the course as a long trip on a stairmaster. As we came down the 11th fairway the legendary “Amen Corner” came into view and I was brought back to my one time playing Tour 18 in Houston where I was long on my approach to # 11 and wound up in the water at Sawgrass. Not quite the same here. We scored great seats in the front row of the stands and got to watch the approach shots into # 11 – the tee shots on the Par 3 # 12 – and the tee shots on # 13. Just a prime viewing location. We later discovered thanks to a chance meeting with 2 Time Masters Champion Ben Crenshaw that the 12th green is built on an old cemetery and the players all believe that the spirits have a lot to do with balls either winding up in Rae’s Creek or somehow miraculously staying up at the lip of the water. Many a tourney has been both won & lost here and Tom Weiskopf will forever be remembered for his 12 on the 12th – which is most likely what I would shoot since the winds are fickle and the putting surface is like warped glass. We waited for Tiger to come through and the masses that follow him before we ventured further.

It’s interesting to note the spectators at the Masters. Everyone is wearing a golf shirt & hat either right from the pro shop or from their various clubs around the country. A great many women are also there and some of them – no a great many of them – obviously had no idea where they were going or what they were doing because they were wearing heels on a golf course. My feet were hurting in my Nikes so I can’t imagine how they were feeling. You could also tell which guys were strictly there for the drinking and partying – though that aspect is much more subdued at Augusta than any other tourney I have ever been to. This is no Phoenix Open. It was fun spotting the women who were there guy watching and which ones were golf groupies. A special tip of the hat goes to the chick in the red cocktail dress on the 9th hole on Friday – no bra, half dollar sized erect nipples and a tiny red thong that kept getting exposed for all to see whenever a gust of wind came up. More than one player smiled back at her as they walked off the 8th green and then again off the 9th tee – 2 shows for the price of 1…..but I digress…… (2012 edit: I do believe that this young lady was the soon to be famous for destroying Tiger’s marriage: Rachel Uchitel)

On both Thursday & Friday I wound up watching the action around the 16th hole because from the hillside to the left of the hole you could see the 15th green and the 6th green not to mention the turtles climbing on the banks on the 16th green. This was also the hole that Ian Poulter aced on Thursday and birdied on Friday to put himself in 3rd place going into the weekend. It should also be noted that after I spotted the 4 young women making a late night beeline to Ian at the hospitality house party on Friday that it was no surprise at all that Ian faded from the top of the leaderboard on Saturday. Again I want to praise the Augusta fans for the tradition of setting out your chair at a hole and being able to come back hours later to find the chair & your bag still there and untouched. Everyone is watching out for everyone else and I really believe that some people are just so in awe of the place and actually being there that they forget to be dirtbags and steal stuff.

As we left the course on Friday night I once again got down on my hands and knees and rubbed the grass on the 7th & 1st fairways and stood at yard maker 119 yards out and thought to myself, “I could miss that shot”…..I don’t know if I will ever get back to Augusta and to play the course would be an 18 hole wet dream but I felt a connection & spirituality to the place that was like no other. I have played many of golf’s great courses and walked several more but it is quite clear to me that there is only one Augusta Country Club and there is only one Masters. Congratulations to Trevor Immelman. You held on and mastered the monster for your own green jacket. Tiger may have come in 2nd but he was a pussycat compared to the South African this week……

Quietly thinking you really should try the glorious goodness of the Pimento Cheese Sandwich…….swampy abides…….

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My Trip to The Masters (a 2008 re-post)

I have to admit that I have sat here a while trying to figure out a way to best describe the events of the past few days and truly I am at a loss for words. As a sports fan, there are events that you participate in and there are events that you attend and then there are there are those events that you can only truly really experience….

And then there is The Masters.

Lets get one thing out of the way first before we even begin to get to the rest of the awesomeness that is Augusta. Everyone I have ever spoken to about attending the Masters and every article I have ever read about attending the Masters have all said the same thing. You must have one of the fabled Pimento Cheese Sandwiches. They are spoken of in reverential fashion and they have been granted an almost godlike status. So when we got to the hallowed grounds of the Augusta Country Club, one of the first things we did after hitting the golf shop (more on that later), watching Tiger Woods putt on the practice green (and based on his performance he needed to spend more time here) and touching the fairway grass (well, that was just me but again more on that later) was to go and find a concession stand so that we too could partake of the glorious goodness of the Pimento Cheese Sandwich. I paid my $1.50 and ripped through the opaque green wrapping and took a huge bite…….

Let me now also be the one to tell you that the legendary Pimento Cheese Sandwich is obviously a cruel practical joke perpetuated on an unknowing & gullible golfing public by the green jacket clad members of the Augusta Country Club and all those who have fallen victim in the past. Though I have never tried it myself, I am now convinced that a tub of spackle has the same consistency and probably tastes better than this yellow hued mess that was globbed & spread between two pieces of Wonder Bread. You take that first big bite with relish & gusto and truly expect to see God or at least Bobby Jones. Your tastebuds immediately begin to tell you that this is a mistake of truly epic proportions but your mind rejects this information and tells you that it really can’t be this bad and that surely the next bite will be better but it’s not. In fact, with each ensuing bite it only gets worse but you continue to eat it because all of your life you have heard about how you have to have to experience the glorious goodness of the Pimento Cheese Sandwich at The Masters. As you finally force that final bite into your mouth you begin to realize that not only have you been truly suckered but that you have also just joined a fraternity of countless thousands that have also fallen victim to this cruel & insidious inside joke. As you forcibly swallow that last bite you make a silent vow that somehow, some way, someone will pay for this……

But I digress…….now I have been to more than a few golf tournaments over the years. I have seen the PGA championship, I have been to a regular tour event, I have been to see the women and I have been to see the Senior’s Tour and none of these events can even come close to the (hold on let me put on the mantle of hyperbole given to all sportscasters working for CBS & ESPN) majesty that is Augusta. It is a course and club that is truly built for one reason and one reason only. To put on the best golf tournament of the year. From the minute you set foot on the hallowed grounds you are enveloped in the history and spectacle that are The Masters. You can also catch a whiff of Disney in the proceedings when you pass the Golf Shop with it’s 20+ cash registers and UPS shipping depot right next door. But enough of that, let’s get to real reason a golf fanatic like me is really there. It’s because any other week of the year I have a better chance of finding Osama Bin Laden in an Afghani cave than I do setting foot on the course. Come June 1 this course will be shut & locked down tighter than my daughter’s bedroom door on prom night. So when I got the call from Goose letting me know that a spot had opened in a corporate boondoggle junket and it was mine for the taking, well I just about ran all the way to Georgia. The weekend is still pretty much a blur so I will do my best to remember some of the highlights.

We flew into Columbia, SC and I couldn’t help but notice the big highway sign for Maurice’s BBQ on the road to Augusta. (edit: old reference)

Went to Wild Wings our first night. Apparently just about every hooker in the greater Atlanta area had the same idea. And who can blame them ? It was a target rich environment filled with drunken businessmen with corporate expense accounts. It was such a target rich environment that even wingchicks had their choices. And I am sorry to say but the wings were hardly wild…..

The first thing you notice about Augusta is the grass. You could putt from just about anywhere on the course. The second thing you notice is the hill that you need to climb to get to the Clubhouse, 1st Tee and practice green. The next thing I noticed was Tiger Woods 10 feet in front of me walking to the practice green. The guy is cut like a free safety in the NFL and he has serious game face. He started out putting one handed with tees stuck in the green the length of his putter apart. He hit 20 in a row that way. He should have kept putting that way the rest of the weekend because despite the best efforts of Jim Nantz & CBS, Tiger was NEVER in it. I couldn’t help but watch as all the other players on the green took glances and long looks at Tiger’s ritual & warm up. Trevor Immelman was already out on the course so I don’t think that he was intimidated.

As we walked down the 10th fairway towards “Amen Corner” I got down on my hands & knees and rubbed the grass. It wouldn’t be the last time I would do it over the weekend either. As I began to look around I was surprised at how hilly the course was. One local writer described walking the course as a long trip on a stairmaster. As we came down the 11th fairway the legendary “Amen Corner” came into view and I was brought back to my one time playing Tour 18 in Houston where I was long on my approach to # 11 and wound up in the water at Sawgrass. Not quite the same here. We scored great seats in the front row of the stands and got to watch the approach shots into # 11 – the tee shots on the Par 3 # 12 – and the tee shots on # 13. Just a prime viewing location. We later discovered thanks to achance meeting with 2 Time Masters Champion Ben Crenshaw that the 12th green is built on an old cemetery and the players all believe that the spirits have a lot to do with balls either winding up in Rae’s Creek or somehow miraculously staying up at the lip of the water. Many a tourney has been both won & lost here and Tom Weiskopf will forever be remembered for his 12 on the 12th – which is most likely what I would shoot since the winds are fickle and the putting surface is like warped glass. We waited for Tiger to come through and the masses that follow him before we ventured further.

It’s interesting to note the spectators at the Masters. Everyone is wearing a golf shirt & hat either right from the pro shop or from their various clubs around the country. A great many women are also there and some of them – no a great many of them – obviously had no idea where they were going or what they were doing because they were wearing heels on a golf course. My feet were hurting in my Nikes so I can’t imagine how they were feeling. You could also tell which guys were strictly there for the drinking and partying – though that aspect is much more subdued at Augusta than any other tourney I have ever been to. This is no Phoenix Open. It was fun spotting the women who were there guy watching and which ones were golf groupies. A special tip of the hat goes to the chick in the red cocktail dress on the 9th hole on Friday – no bra, half dollar sized erect nipples and a tiny red thong that kept getting exposed for all to see whenever a gust of wind came up. More than one player smiled back at her as they walked off the 8th green and then again off the 9th tee – 2 shows for the price of 1…..but I digress……

On both Thursday & Friday I wound up watching the action around the 16th hole because from the hillside to the left of the hole you could see the 15th green and the 6th green not to mention the turtles climbing on the banks on the 16th green. This was also the hole that Ian Poulter aced on Thursday and birdied on Friday to put himself in 3rd place going into the weekend. It should also be noted that after I spotted the 4 young women making a late night beeline to Ian at the hospitality house party on Friday that it was no surprise at all that Ian faded from the top of the leaderboard on Saturday. Again I want to praise the Augusta fans for the tradition of setting out your chair at a hole and being able to come back hours later to find the chair & your bag still there and untouched. Everyone is watching out for everyone else and I really believe that some people are just so in awe of the place and actually being there that they forget to be dirtbags and steal stuff.

As we left the course on Friday night I once again got down on my hands and knees and rubbed the grass on the 7th & 1st fairways and stood at yard maker 119 yards out and thought to myself, “I could miss that shot”…..I don’t know if I will ever get back to Augusta and to play the course would be an 18 hole wet dream but I felt a connection & spirituality to the place that was like no other. I have played many of golf’s great courses and walked several more but it is quite clear to me that there is only one Augusta Country Club and there is only one Masters. Congratulations to Trevor Immelman. You held on and mastered the monster for your own green jacket. Tiger may have come in 2nd but he was a pussycat compared to the South African this week……

And that is the view for now from Behind The Shades….swampy abides…

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2009 PNC Christmas Price Index – Swampy Style

Every year our friends down at PNC Bank take a couple of interns and assign them to update the Christmas Price Index. You all know what this is but just in case you don’t, it is the present day cost of all of the items in the song, “The Twelve Days of Christmas”. This year, prices have for the most part gone up again and the total cost of what amounts to pretty much a bunch of useless presents comes in at a grand total $21,465.56 (+1.8%). Now if you were so inclined to order on the internet, you would also incur some extra shipping charges in order to keep your 23 different birds alive so you would be paying $31,434.85. Surprise, surprise – that is actually down 1.6% from a year ago but still just under $10,000 more than obtaining the gifts locally. Obtaining the gifts locally also means that you are being green (at least according to the emails I read from the “scientists” at East Anglia University) and that you are trying to be sustainable. If I could have worked in the word “umami” then I would have hit on just about every buzzword I have come to loathe hearing and could pass go and collect my $200.

But seriously, who has $21,465.56 to spend on Christmas nowadays ? (and if you do, please email me so I can send you my wish list) In this day & age it is better to conserve what little cash we all have so I have some suggestions on how to make “The Twelve Days of Christmas” a little more affordable.

One Partridge in a Pear Tree ($159.99 – $10 for the Partridge & $149.99 for the tree) – Now I don’t know about you but I live out in the country and I have a lot of birds that fly around in my backyard and I have yet to see a partridge amongst them. In fact, I don’t think I have ever seen a partridge in it’s natural habitat. On “The Hills” you can see Audrina Partridge in her natural habitat (a bar) for free. Since we used Audrina last year, I decided this year to put a beer & an empty bindle of coke up in the White Pear tree in my yard as lure to catch a Danny Partridge. If I add a TV camera, I might actually get them both and have 2 for the price of 1.

Two Turtle Doves ($55.98) – another bird I have never seen in the wild. Do they live anywhere but in a birdcage anyway ? If we wait until February we could probably borrow a few from the opening ceremony of the 2010 Winter Olympics but that kind of defeats the purpose of it being a Christmas present so I guess we will have to fall back on our old reliable plan and catch us a couple of pigeons from my window sill and coat them in white out. Let’s just hope they don’t try to fly afterward or it will be reminiscent of Les Nessman tossing turkey out of a helicopter on WKRP.

Three French Hens ($45.00) – I am sorry but I am not paying $45 for anything french. I will head over to ShopRite where I can get a much better deal on 3 oven roasted chickens for $5.99 a piece. They will certainly be less pretentious, won’t smoke gauloise cigarettes and will be mighty tasty too.

Four Calling Birds ($599.96) – what the hell is a Calling Bird anyway ? Again, it’s not by my bird feeder and if it had been, something probably would have eaten them by now anyway. So instead of Calling Birds, I suggest stopping by your local Cabela’s and picking up some bird calls – preferably turkey at this time of year so you can get a good meal out of the deal as well.

Five Gold Rings ($499.95) – $100 for a gold ring ? Get real. I can do much better than that by talking to any number of the west african street vendors that crowd the sidewalks of NYC. No guarantee that the rings won’t turn your fingers green but green fingers should help get you in a festive holiday mood.

Six Geese-A-Laying ($150) – the price of geese is dropping like a rock. Kind of like the rocks I throw at the Canadian Geese that desecrate my lawn. You want six geese a laying, I suggest you go to any golf course or park with a pond and you will find plenty of geese that you could layout with a golf club or a stick.

Seven Swans a Swimming ($5,250) I got nothing new for this one this year so here is last year’s entry – “they are nothing more than big nasty birds with an attitude problem but I will admit that they are graceful to watch – Seven swans is overkill though unless of course you hit the discount rack at Dress Barn for the leftovers from the Bjork Collection”.

Eight Maids a Milking ($58) nobody hand milks cows these days unless of course you are Amish. In order to update this one, I bet you could get eight breast feeding mom’s to fill in if you just promise them a private spot away from prying & judgmental eyes.

Nine Ladies Dancing ($5,473.07) At a little over $600 a pop, these dancing ladies are a relative deal compared to the cost of the 9 ladies dancing between the sheets with Tiger Woods but none of us have that kind of money so I suggest heading over to your local strip club where for nine singles, you can get nine ladies to give you a quick dance on your side of the stage.

Ten Lords a Leaping ($4,413.61) Okay, I liked mine from last year so much that I am going to paraphrase it again this year – I am in manhattan and I probably have a much better chance of finding 10 queens a leaping around the Village than I do finding any lords a leaping but I am sure that you could find more than few rejected male dancers at a Broadway Cattle Call audition who would be willing to leap around for a couple of bucks.

Eleven Pipers Piping ($2,284.80) Last year I suggested rounding up the kids from the elementary school holiday concert that were going to assault us with their recorder playing but this year my suggestion is to get eleven cake decorators for free since they do “pipe” the frosting and they are all looking for that big break so they can be the next Ace of Cakes or Cake Boss.

Twelve Drummers Drumming ($2,475.20) It’s too easy. Walk into any preschool or Kindergarten class with 12 drums and you will have 12 kids wailing away like it’s the space jam drum solo at a Grateful Dead concert. You may need to pay for a bottle of Excedrin for the teacher but that is a lot cheaper than $2,475.20 even if you do shop at Duane Reade here in NYC.

So there we are – my suggestions for how you can creatively substitute cheaper alternatives for “The Twelve Days of Christmas”. I know that my suggestions may not appeal to every one’s taste but that is the great thing about this holiday, almost everything can be returned. Unless of course you got it from a street vendor because odds are he will be long gone by the time you come back to look for him.

If you have some other ideas, why not share them with me and my 2 or 3 spam bots that actually “read” this stuff.. You never know what you will find stuffed in your stocking or under your tree on Christmas morning.

And that is the view for now, from Behind the Shades…….come back next time when we discuss something totally unrelated to what you just read because I can never keep a logical train of thought going in my head or on paper….swampy abides….

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