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MAKE your own luck.

I sit writing this week’s blog still sat in the media centre at Augusta National Golf Course, moments after watching the formidable Scottie Scheffler win the 2024 Masters, live in the flesh.

I spent the Sunday afternoon sat at the top of the grandstand at ‘Amen Corner’, press people were allowed reserved seats at the top, and I watched the final five pairings make their way through the most cinematic area of the course.

The sun was strikingly hot, tanning my exposed arms and legs, the peak of my 2024 Masters cap, which I purchased from the busy shop, was deflecting just enough sunlight so I could see the ball be hit high into the blue sky and land on the luscious green grass.

This was mid to late afternoon, about 4pm, and I sat there smiling, as I, yes me, will be playing these holes at roughly this time tomorrow (Monday)… AS I HAD WON THE OPPORTUNITY TO PLAY VIA THE PRESS LOTTERY!!!

My winning invitation to play Augusta National Golf Course, alongside a free beer.

Ever since I found out Friday afternoon that I, along with 20 others had won, out of around 400 people, I was trying so hard to maintain composure for the rest of the weekend.

Every hole I watched from that moment was with a critical eye, seeing how the pros play it, just to make some notes, you know, because I’ll certainly need them!

Now, this is massive, and it deserves its own written piece which I will do once I’ve completed my 18 holes around Augusta National and had a moment to digest it all.

But just quickly, I had a gut feeling I was going to be picked out of the lottery, you know why?

Well, that morning I stumbled across a $20 note just sat, crumped on the walkway to the media building, no one around me, a rogue bill at a ‘cashless’ event… “I’ll be taking that” and from that moment I knew it was going to be my lucky day.

Earlier in the week, on the Tuesday evening there was a DP World Tour Dinner held at Augusta Country Club, the little brother if you will, to Augusta National golf course.

I was suited and booted, dinner jackets were mandatory, that same dinner jacket I got with my mum when she left her phone on the roof of her car, yeah, that one, it made me laugh and I thought of her when I put it on.

I decided to get an Uber to the dinner as I wanted to have a drink, and upon arrival I was greeted by a glass of champagne and to the sight of Augusta’s wealthiest individuals.

I got there fashionably 15 minutes late, but I was still early it seemed, knowing no one out of the small crowd there already, so I had a wander around the beautiful country clubhouse to kill time.

After a short stroll I came back and I noticed another young-ish looking guy who also seemed lost, so I approached him with “Do you also know no one else here?” he responded, “Yep, not a clue”, and in that isolated moment we became friends, he was called Dan.

We went outside onto the balcony to soak in the last few minutes of sunlight and air the sweat patches under our armpits.

Me stood out on the balcony of the Augusta Country Club.

As we gossiped about life, we were overseeing the wealthy country club members who had certainly consumed too many drinks and seemed to have more money than sense, or at least for etiquette.

They were stood with a beer or wine in one hand, a putter in another, slurring probable business deals and attempting to putt a golf ball on the practise green at the same time.

The top buttons of the men’s designer shirts were undone, the ladies were barefoot, throwing their high heels to the fringe, empty glasses laid scattered, and we stood there and both said “So, that’s how the other half live”.

We were ushered to our seats, and who would’ve thought, we ended up on the same table, sat next to each other!

The dinner was top class though, I expected nothing less.

The DP World Tour Dinner Menu.

On Wednesday it was the par-3 tournament, a feel good, family day for players ahead of the main tournament that starts the day after.

I was set the challenge of interviewing a golfing legend, Gary Player, a three-time Masters champion, who is known for being quite extroverted in his interviews.

He was paired with two of the South Africans playing in the main tournament, but Player got the warmest reception from the patrons all day as he waddled along the course.

Come the last hole, I was standing patiently at the interview pen, which was only a few metres away from the green, ready to interview the legend.

I was nervous but excited, there were hundreds of fans behind me cheering and clapping, but I had worked for this, and sure enough it all went well.

Player was a master on the mic, and we had a five-minute interview, which felt like it went by in a flash, at the end I shook his hand and sealed what was the biggest interview of my life so far.

Read my piece on the Par-3 tournamnet here… https://www.news24.com/citypress/sport/the-masters-golf-tournament-different-generations-one-goal-20240411

The interviews kept coming through the week, as I was the only South African press representative, I had to juggle the three players on the first two days, not helped by the fact two of them were paired together, but I somehow managed.

Come the final two days it was just me interviewing Erik van Rooyen, the only remaining South African, which was cool, we were basically like mates having a chat, but he was a bit narky at times especially after his two poor rounds on the weekend.

Read an article from the main tournament here… https://www.news24.com/citypress/sport/leaders-on-the-move-but-van-rooyen-struggles-at-the-masters-20240414

The interview negotiators were a bit neglectable to me at first, as they had no idea who I was, and being so young I sort of looked out of place, which was tough as I had no idea where to go or who to ask, but after a few visits to the interview stage they were more welcoming.

I know they have an important job to do, but I feel that older, more experienced people should always stay aware of young upcomers in their field and embrace them, not shy away from them, but I guess that’s the industry for you.

During my week I got to get up close with many golfers, having free access to the main clubhouse I walked past Bubba Watson and said, “Hey man”, or standing under the iconic oak tree outside the clubhouse and being no more than 2 feet away from Tiger Woods as he just finished his third round.

My luck ran out though as I didn’t run into Harry Styles who apparently was watching Christo Lamprecht, a South African player, during the Thursday, shame really.

I watched a lot of golf in-between my writing work and probably did 15,000 steps a day doing so, but with every one I took, I was wide-eyed, reminding myself of how lucky I am.

Read my previous blog here…

About Will Hewlett

If I am not playing sports, then I am watching it. If I am not watching it,then I will be dreaming it. If I am dreaming of it then I might as well be writing about it !

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