2020 Masters Choose Your Own Adventure, Patrick Reed vs. Jon Rahm: New Friend
Harry Trump/Getty Images. Pictured: Patrick Reed, Jon Rahm
He lets you stay in the cabin and watch the final round with him.
As you’re stuck in Augusta National purgatory, you consider that this might not be all that different from what some people believe religious purgatory might look like: A small room with bright white walls and an elderly man sitting in front of you, about to make a decision that impacts your entire existence.
When he speaks, the allusion is even more palpable.
“Well, I can’t let you back on the course,” – that would be heaven in this analogy – “but I’m not going to send you to jail” – that would be hell – “so why don’t you be my guest and join me for the final round?”
This was another rhetorical question, more of a directive than an offer.
Grabbing the remote control, it takes the member a few minutes of clicking around to find the tournament on his closed-circuit TV. When he finally does, you don’t have the heart to let him know that he’s only found the Amen Corner feed, which would explain why they’re not showing any of the current leaders.
“Ah, Amen Corner,” he coos. “You know, I gave Herb that record album.”
It takes a minute for you to process what that means, but eventually discern that it was legendary golf writer Herbert Warren Wind who coined the termed Amen Corner, which was borrowed from an old jazz tune – one that was apparently given to him by this gentlemen, a terrific story even if the time stamps hardly match up.
As you both watch a player well out of contention come up a club short on the 12th hole and splash his ball in Rae’s Creek, the member says, “Always take one extra club there and hit it smooth. Did you know I have seven holes-in-one there?”
This question was somehow not rhetorical, as he waited for you to respond that no, you didn’t even know this guy’s name, so there’s no way in the world you’d have any idea about his hole-in-one total on the 12th. (Of course, you left out everything after “no.”)
“Where’s that Spanish kid anyway?” he asks, staring at the TV with growing skepticism. It’s now time to breach that cordiality, so you take the remote and put on the actual telecast, just in time to see Rahm hole a 20-footer for birdie.
While you continue to watch, the two of you settle into a nice rhythm, remaining silent for a few minutes, only interrupted by the man’s stories of the course and the tournament from years gone by.
“I’ve been a member here since ’53,” he tells you. It’s been said that you can tell a lot about a person during a round of golf, but perhaps you can tell just as much while watching a round. You decide this man must’ve been honest in business during his working days, because he quickly adds, “Excuse me, I misspoke. I was only a junior member in ’53. It wasn’t until ’59 when I became a full member.” Interesting, you think, but you weren’t exactly going to audit him.
With a birdie putt to win on the final hole, Rahm is stalking it from all sides, while you and the member have now inched closer to the screen.
“I always play this one on the right edge,” he offers, “but during the tournament, it’ll break a little more.”
Rahm plays it a cup outside the hole and it drops in for birdie and the victory, which you cheer silently for fear of acting too boisterous in the cabin.
With that, the man stands up, which is your polite invitation to leave. “I never even got your name,” you say as you shake his hand.
“Oh, don’t worry about me. Just tell everyone you have a friend at the Augusta National Golf Club.”