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  Field Notes From
ZipUSA: Augusta, GA

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ZipUSA: Augusta, GA On AssignmentArrows

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From Author

Ralph Wiley

ZipUSA: Augusta, GA On Assignment

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From Photographer

Jonathan Ernst

In most cases these accounts are edited versions of a spoken interview. They have not been researched and may differ from the printed article.

Photographs courtesy Ralph Wiley (top) and courtesy Jonathan Ernst


ZipUSA: Augusta, GA

Field Notes From Author
Ralph Wiley
Best Worst Quirkiest
   Since I couldn't get on Augusta National's grounds officially—let alone attend the Masters champions dinner—I decided to find out what one of those dinners was like for myself. So I went to downtown Atlanta to a Thai restaurant called Tamarind, which catered a sumptuous champion dinner after Vijay Singh won the 2000 Masters.
   I brought along two friends who were more than happy to help me taste-test the menu and find out what all the fuss was about. Under the photos of happy golfers such as Jack Nicklaus and Arnold Palmer, we had the likes of gang-kauh-pla-ka-pong (baked filet
of red snapper in pineapple and red curry); ka-nom-jeeb (steamed dumplings with minced pork, shrimp, water chesnuts, peppers, and mushroom soy sauce); and a lobster dish that was as four-star as everything else.

   My editor and I wrote multiple letters to the Masters requesting an interview, but their media director politely declined. I've never heard of anyone turning down an interview with the magazine, but they didn't see the point since the article was going to cover the whole zip code, not just them. But this is what Augusta National does. For years they wouldn't let CBS televise the first nine holes of the tournament. It's almost like they take pride in this kind of exclusiveness.

   On Washington Road, the main drag outside the Augusta National Golf Club, I saw a member of the Christian Bike Association. He walked up and down the road carrying a rough-hewn wooden cross on his shoulders. It was as tall as he was. Occasionally he would stop to chat with strangers and say, "The real Master is Jesus Christ." I guess it was his way of saying hello.
   There were many examples of the curious, ridiculous, and sublime on Washington Road. And there's sure going to be more of it in April. The ongoing controversy about Augusta National's no-women policy will have the protesters, rabble-rousers, and rubberneckers out in full force.

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