Lure of Augusta National keeps patrons coming back
AUGUSTA, Ga. (WTOC) - The Masters Tournament is gearing up for the weekend in Augusta, as golf fans from around the world tune into to see who will take home the green jacket.
You’ll hear golfers talk about being drawn to Augusta just before this time of year, they feel the pull of Augusta National and the tournament. Turns out that draw doesn’t just pertain to the players.
Patrick and Ninah Lillard have been married more than 40 years. Their relationship filled with love for each other, and also Augusta National.
“Take a look around - it’s a beautiful place.”
Every first week of April, you’ll find them here.
“Coming to The Masters is like to coming to the Super Bowl, or the Indianapolis 500, it’s like going to Paris,” Patrick Lillard said.
Their trips start early when they drop their chairs at the 18th green, then to concessions to grab a quick bite for breakfast. Finally, it’s off to the course.
“We just like coming to the atmosphere and the people.”
The couple admit they don’t walk the course as well as they used to, but they still enjoy taking in the sights.
Patrick and Ninah aren’t the only ones that have developed a lifelong love affair with this course - look around the thousands of patrons and you’ll find many who have been coming to this tournament for decades.
“Why do you keep coming back fifty years later? It’s the Masters,” Eileen Culp, a Masters patron for 50 years.
While some others haven’t had a lifetime of experiences, they have made lifetime commitments.
“It was an easy decision.”
Like Kevin Theiss, who sacrificed part of his body and risked his marriage, to show his love for this tournament. Tattooing the iconic logo on his leg shortly after his first visit.
“My wife wasn’t on board, said if I got another tattoo she might divorce me. But again, it’s the Masters, so I went and got the tattoo, it’s the best decision I’ve ever made,” Theiss said.
Most haven’t permanently inked a memento on their bodies, but for some, making a trek to Augusta National is a part of their lives. Like Patrick and Ninah, who will keep taking in the sights together.
“This is one of the special treats. It’s just a special place.”
This tournament really is such a tradition for so many people. We’ve talked to many patrons this week from all over the country who tell us they plan their year around the first full week of April, knowing exactly where they’ll be.
The Masters and Augusta National is something many people just can’t miss.
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