Tiger Roaring Back

Look, I’m not calling my shot. I’m not Babe Ruth. But I am saying that you better circle the dates April 8 – 14 in Augusta, GA for The Masters. Yes, I know the Super Bowl is this week but there will be plenty of time to get to that.

Tiger Woods is in San Diego and he is up 6 strokes with 11 holes left to play in the fog delayed Farmers Insurance Open in Torrey Pines. He played a total of 25 holes on Sunday and before play had suspended for the night, he had tripled his lead.

Now Tiger Woods winning at Torrey Pines is about as normal you and me breathing air but for the few of us that think Woods still has a shot at Jack Nicklaus’ major winning record of 18 majors, there is not a better time to get back on track than in Augusta, GA in April.

I’ve never been the hater on Tiger Woods that many are. I am all about the golf and while he may never return to the dominant golfer he once was,  he doesn’t have to be to win 4 more majors.

I’ll be returning to Augusta again in a couple of months and while it’s clear that I am in the group of folks that want to see Tiger Woods get back to the top of golf, all I want him to do is be ready to put together four solid rounds at The Masters and see what happens.

Tiger on a Sunday

If we take a look at the road Tiger Woods has traveled in the past 3 years, we can draw one conclusion: It was a bumpy one. His personal life was turned upside down and broadcast to the entire world, endorsements were lost, and his golf game was nearly destroyed. Now I am not here to judge or point the finger at what’s right or wrong, because frankly I don’t think it’s any of my business. I am here to talk about how Tiger Woods proved he’s still the world’s best golf player in the final round of the AT&T National on Sunday.

Before I get into the swing that captured the title of Play of the Week, let’s see exactly what Tiger’s win achieved. First and foremost, it gave him 74 PGA Tour wins out of 271 starts in his professional career. That comes out to a win percentage just above 27%, or in laymen terms, he wins more than one out of every four tournaments he plays in. Sunday also gave Woods enough wins to surpass Jack Nicklaus and trail the leader Sam Snead for the most PGA Tour wins in a career.  “Slammin’ Sammy” was no doubt a great golfer, but what he accomplished in 30 years, Tiger is on the verge of doing in less than 20. With nine more PGA Tour wins, Woods will solidify his position as the best.

Sunday’s win also gave Tiger Woods the title of being the first player to grab three wins this season. In a club of only three strong, Tiger leads the pack of multiple wins this year. His first win came at the Arnold Palmer Invitational after a long and frustrating 2 1/2 year dry spell of zero wins. Then we witnessed one of the most dramatic finishes of the year at the Memorial Tournament, where the Tiger we all know and love sent a chip shot to the bottom of the hole. The third win for Woods this season came at the AT&T National, and was also his 22nd tour win achieved after trailing when entering the final round of play. Tiger opened the tour one over par at 72, and then finished out the rest of play under par at 68, 67, and 69 for a combined 8 under par.

The TicketCity Play of the Week comes from the green, where golf is won. And when you putt like Tiger did on the 15th hole of the Congressional, it’s hard to lose. In the final round, Woods was looking at a 21-foot birdie shot that could seal his victory at the AT&T National and indeed it did. Take a look and enjoy the TicketCity Play of the Week.

What an Albatross.

Perhaps the title should be, “What is an albatross?”, because before Nick Watney’s round one shot on hole 17 at the US Open, I had no idea what it meant. I know what you’re thinking: Didn’t Web Simpson win the US Open? And yes, you would be correct. In fact, Watney didn’t even finish in the top ten; he tied for 21st to be exact. However, Watney had one of the best shots of the championship and I couldn’t let it go unnoticed.

Back to the albatross, one of the largest birds in the world, but more popularly known as the Double Eagle in the golf world. After Watney sunk his albatross, he dropped three strokes with one swing, going from three over par to even. Ask anyone who plays golf and they will tell you how nice that must feel, especially at a course like the Olympic, where the US Open was played.

With hard greens and some of the thickest rough you have ever seen, the golfers had to be as close to perfect as they could. Just ask Furyk or McDowell, whose 2012 US Open dreams slipped away at the 18th  after a desperate sand shot and a wide putt. Watney was far from perfect for the majority of the tournament, but for a few shining momets at hole 17 he was spot on.

A solid drive off the tee box gave Watney a chance at getting on the green in two and putting for eagle. At 190 yards from the hole, Watney pulls out his 5-iron and sends the ball directly towards the hole. Looking just like a putt from 30 feet, Watney’s second shot rolled flawlessly to the bottom of the hole and to the top of my top play’s list.

So just how rare is an albatross? The US Open was first played in 1895 and has only produced two of them before Watney joined the rarest shot club. That’s 117 years with only three of these double eagles taking place at the US Open. From 1970 to 2003, the PGA recorded only 84 double eagles, an average that is less than three per year. So enjoy this TicketCity Play of the Week as it basks in all its rarity.

Masters 2012: We’re Just Getting Started

TicketCity got me to the 2012 Masters. I had the pleasure of being at the Par 3 contest on Wednesday where some of the world’s best golfers take on the Par 3 holes at Augusta National. It is the attitude and rigor of one of the toughest golf courses in the world mixed with the lightheartedness of family caddies, trick shots, and cameras on the golf course from the galleries.

The Masters means egg salad sandwiches for $1.50, a golf shop that rivals a department store, a golf course that makes The White House lawn look average, Snickers bars branded with the Masters logo, and patrons collecting plastic cups as souvenirs. The Masters is a spectacle more than a golf tournament, and TicketCity can get you there, too.

Sean Adams, a former NCAA All-American athlete, hosts the top-rated show “The Adams Theory” on Austin’s #1 sports radio station, 104.9 – ESPN Austin, and has also been a part of television shows and specials for FOX, ABC, the NFL Network, CBS, and other media outlets. Sean will be a guest author on the TicketCity blog.

Tips from TicketCity: How to Get the Most Out of Your Masters Experience

Working at TicketCity comes with many perks, not the least of which is the chance to attend world-class live events. Several of our employees have regularly made the trip to Augusta each year to experience the best the golf world has to offer.

While the TicketCity team clearly has differing views on whether pimento cheese or egg salad is the sandwich of choice, perusing their tips and hints will give you the inside scoop on what to expect when you arrive at Augusta National, and allow you to get the most out of your Masters Experience.

Have some Masters tips of your own? Feel free to share them with us and other readers in the comments section below!

Ike’s Pond near Holes 8 and 9 on the Par 3 Course

Amy’s Masters Tips

  • Be sure to get in on one of the practice round days to capture photos of the Masters experience. And a photo of yourself in front of the leader board is a must!
  • Hit the gift shops as early as possible because the best merchandise goes quickly. There is a smaller gift shop near the front entrance of the course, but the main one is further in. If you’re buying souvenirs for friends, get their wish lists before you go!
  • One easy and affordable souvenir for yourself and friends is the durable plastic cups in which beer and soft drinks are served. The prices are cheap so buy them by the stack if they’ll let you. (Sometimes they insist they must actually serve you the drinks in the cups). And don’t leave without an egg salad sandwich. At their low prices you can enjoy a few!
  • The Par 3 Contest on Wednesday afternoon is one of the most exciting places to be able to see some close up action. Perch yourself at Ike’s Pond near Holes 8 and 9 on the Par 3 Course. With a relaxed attitude, a gorgeous backdrop and a fun day of golf this is one of your best chances to get photos or autographs from golf’s greatest. It’s quite a view.

Caroline’s Masters Tips

  • If you pick a place to put your chair down, it’s safe to leave it unattended while you walk around.
  • You must try the pimento cheese sandwich.
  • Don’t forget to buy your souvenirs early, as they quickly sell out. Also, instead of carrying them around all day you can pay to have it shipped home, or the gift shop will hold it for your until the end of the day.
  • Cell phones are not permitted, but there are courtesy phones should you absolutely have to make a call.
  • Wear comfortable shoes, as the course is hilly and you will do a lot of walking.
  • It can be fun to pick a player that you like and follow them from hole to hole to see the course in its entirety.

Rafael’s Masters Tips

  • Only armless chairs are permitted. They are sold in the gift shop and are reasonably priced.
  • Everyone must have a ticket regardless of age.
  • Concessions are very reasonably priced.
  • Dress comfortably–you’re going to do a lot of walking.
  • Pimento cheese sandwich is overrated; the egg salad is underrated.
  • The 13th Hole is the most beautiful on the course.
  • Eat at T-Bonz at least once, not for the food.  It’s just part of the Masters experience.

Lindsey’s Masters Tips

  • You have to try the egg salad sandwich – I’m not a fan of the pimento cheese.
  • Don’t pay to park–there is TONS of free parking right across the street from the main entrance.
  • Don’t forget your sunscreen – although they do sell it there.
  • Everything, except the clothes, is very affordable.
  • If you get a chance to go on a practice day don’t forget your camera. Keep in mind that this CANNOT be a phone camera, as phones are not allowed.

Zach’s Masters Tips

  • Pick one day to walk the entire course, so you see every single hole.  Then another day sit down and watch all of the action on one hole. A great spot is the grandstand behind hole #12 on Amen Corner. From there you can watch the action on the #11 green and the drama of par three on the 12th hole.
  • Bring a chair inside and set it up by 18 green. No one will move your chair and you can come sit at end of the day. Just mark your chair in an obvious manner because there will be hundreds of similar chairs setup by end of the day.
  • Buy your Masters merchandise early in the day & bring back out to leave at TC House (or lock in your car). The selections will start to run out later in the day.  And you don’t want to buy stuff and then have to carry it around all day.
  • Eat at Calvert’s Restaurant in Augusta. It’s the best meal in the city.  It’s also the most likely spot to see a golfer or celebrity.

Kelley’s Masters Tips

  • There is free masters parking but it runs out fast. There are paid lots around the course as well. More info here or you can tune into WGAC 580am for updated traffic and parking reports starting on Monday, 4/2.
  • The TicketCity house is located right down the street from Augusta National. It’s a great resource for free parking, light hospitality, last minute badges, etc.
  • You can’t have bags larger than 10”w x 5”h x 5”d.
  • Cell phones are not allowed on the grounds at any time.
  • Cameras ARE allowed during practice rounds, which is a great opportunity to takes some memorable pictures
  • On Wednesday at 12:30pm is the Par 3 contest. First played in 1960, the Par 3 Contest has become a beloved Wednesday tradition at the Masters. The Contest field includes Tournament participants, noncompeting past champions, and Honorary Invitees. There have been 73 holes in one in the Contest’s history, a record of five in 2002. No winner of the Par 3 Contest has ever gone on to win that year’s Masters. The Contest is very sociable—players often have their children caddie for them.