Nothing in golf is more enchanting, more intimate, more mysterious than Augusta National on Sunday afternoon, when time grows slow, but never slow enough, and all little things suddenly grow big. On Sunday, at half past four, Tiger Woods, three shots out of the lead, smoked a three-wood off the 10th tee and handed the club to his caddie, Steve Williams. If you were standing beside the tee, you could have heard their words.
"Shot," Williams said.
"Thanks," Woods replied.
That is exactly what they said.
Around that same time Jim Nantz and two security guards walked from the CBS studio in the basement of Butler Cabin to the TV tower beside the 18th green. Meanwhile Linn Strickler, an old-school Tour caddie whose work was long done, walked the course along with the spectators. In back of the giant leader board behind the 18th green a man named Marty Banks stood on green scaffolding and posted a bogey for Phil Mickelson. "Way to go, Phil," Banks mumbled sarcastically, realizing that Mickelson would not be winning the tournament and Banks would not be winning his Calcutta. Charlie Mize, Larry's father, watched his son finish 25th as his mind drifted to the Sunday 13 years ago when his son came in first.
At half past five in the players' locker room, an attendant handed Dudley Hart his shoes in a plastic bag marked with the Masters logo, a map of the U.S. with a flag-stick marking Augusta. "You want the same locker next year?" the attendant asked.
"That's fine," said Hart. "I'm not fussy."
"Or would you like to be upstairs?"
Upstairs is the Master Club Room, the changing room for former winners. "I've got to earn my way up there," Hart said.
The Master Club Room was empty. Down the hall, in the library, was Craig Stadler, the '82 winner, who watched on TV while sipping a refreshment, in no rush to go anywhere. Where else would anyone want to be? The Masters is unique that way. The pros don't rush home when their day is done, as they do at other Tour stops.