Augusta National evokes friendly chatter and memories; usually in that order.
People are happy. They're in a treasured place and just by being in that place a bond is struck.
This is how I started chatting with Barry Myers, 63, of North Augusta as we watched the tournament get started from the ropes along the first fairway Thursday morning.
Jack Nicklaus's drive reminded him of his own the one time he played Augusta National.
It was 1980 he said. He served as a scorer then. Before the communications of these things were made electronic, staffs of volunteers would run hole results from each green to a central collection point where in turn they would be know to the media enabling someone listening on the radio in Red Deer to know, that Seve Ballesteros was three under after six holes, or some such thing.
As a reward the scorers and other volunteers were given a day to the play the course late in the season just before closing (Augusta National closes in late May or June as maintaining the course during the oppressive Georgia heat isn't practical, and members don't want to play in it regardless).
It's only been 31 years, so why wouldn't my new friend remember every hole?
He told he had a bad dream the night before where he whiffed on the first tee, but it never happened. A 14-handicap at the time, Hayes smoked a drive off No.1 (they were playing member's tees, but tournament pins), got on the green in two and two-putted for par.
"I remember thinking this course ain't [nothing]rdquo; he said.
He then hooked his drive into the azaleas on No.2 - "I never found that ball," he said - made double and the round of his dreams never quite recovered.
In the end he had a two-footer to break 100 on the 18th but rolled it past.
"Just a little too strong," he said.
He's raised kids and built a nice career and a good life for himself in all those years since.
But he still remembers that putt.