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Magic Moments
Michael Bamberger
April 17, 2000
Every minute of the Masters is special, but the final few are worth savoring
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April 17, 2000

Magic Moments

Every minute of the Masters is special, but the final few are worth savoring

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Below, in the Grill Room, Jim Furyk also watched things unfold on television. So did Bob Rotella, the golfing psychologist, sitting solo at a corner table. One of his clients, David Duval, two shots out of the lead, burned the lip on a birdie putt. Rotella groaned. All the while a busboy, oblivious to the trauma, collected luncheon condiments off the table, the Durkee Famous Sauce, the Aunt Nellie's Old Style Sauce, the McIlhenny Tabasco Brand Pepper Sauce. These sauces with their odd names, even they are part of the mystery of the National.

In other parts of the clubhouse and in the cabins, housekeepers cleaned telephones and linen closets, because telephones and linen closets are on the housekeepers' Sunday maintenance list. David Gossett, the lone amateur to make the cut, checked out of the Crow's Nest, the clubhouse attic dorm space for amateurs, and waited for a ride by the front door, talking about his fourth-round partner, Jack Nicklaus.

The end was near. Vijay Singh was striding up the 18th fairway, tall and broad-shouldered and fixing to win. A valet brought a green sport coat, size 46L, from the clubhouse to the practice green for the awards ceremony. In the employee dining room 13 kitchen workers, all of them black, watched on TV as the winner's final putt disappeared. The room was a mess, with plates stacked high on a plastic trash can, chicken bones on the green carpeted floor, half-eaten pieces of blueberry pie on napkins. Singh's arms went up, as did the clenched fist of a kid in a busboy's white jacket as he said, "All right, nigga!" A cook came out of the kitchen and sang, in the tone of a Negro spiritual, "Well, well, well, well. Another year done gone." A man in a blue blazer, a chauffeur, came through the dining room, bellowing, "Vee-Jay Singh is the thing!"

Two schoolgirls, kitchen workers for the week, walked over to the time clock. "I saw Tiger Woods," one of them said.

"What did you say to him?" the second girl asked.

"I said, 'Goodbye, Mr. Woods.' "

That is exactly what they said.

It was 7:01 p.m. Another Masters Sunday at Augusta National was over. The girls punched out and left.

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