The Golf Monthly team have just spent two hours of feel good fun down at the par 3 contest. Even the most cynical of golf fans would have a great time watching some of the game’s great players, past and present, spending time with family and enjoying relaxed banter with the crowds.
As well as the beautiful setting and the glorious weather, there is a fantastic atmosphere down in the small corner of Augusta National. It must be the most relaxed Wednesday before any professional golf tournament throughout the whole year and an 80 year old Arnold Palmer seemed to enjoy it as much as the kids. The wives, children and grandchildren are given a rare firsthand insight into their family member’s day job, while the players looked as relaxed as you will ever see them on a golf course.
For much of the contest the children were the stars of the show. In their miniature boiler suits the kids of David Duval and Jim Furyk were more interested in the turtles swimming in DeSoto Springs pond rather than their daddy’s golf. Just like their dad, the children of Ian Poulter posed perfectly for photograph’s as they took turn to carry the bag of four clubs. The young son of Søren Kjeldsen proved a master with the putter and doffed his cap to the delighted crown on every hole.
It is rare that the public get to see golfers in such a relaxed and family orientated environment, and the players seemed to relish the experience just as much as the Augusta faithful. There was talk in the press centre that Tiger had registered for the event, and it would have made perfect sense given his promise to make more of an effort with fans from now on. In the end he did not participate and missed out on a fantastic afternoon that put smiles on the face of everyone in attendance.