The grass outside the sliding glass door of the Greenwood, Indiana, home where I remember watching my first Masters paled in contrast to the the colors I was witnessing inside the bulky Panasonic we watched that day. It was long before high-definition, but with real life putting the awe of what I was witnessing in perspective, I knew Augusta National was special sans 1080i.
I don’t remember why I was there that day or who I was with, and at seven years old I had barely begun to understand golf let alone appreciate it. But this — this was something I could understand, something I could appreciate.
At seven years old, I figured that if I were going to be mesmerized by colors, it would have something to do with a box of crayons, but here I was, infatuated with green and red.
Later on, when cultural significance would actually become significant, I’d remember that day for things like black and white. It was 1997.
It’s funny how our brains take inventory when they recognize that something important is happening. Like I said, I don’t remember who I was there with that day, or even why, but I can remember everything about that room and beyond.
I can remember that brown and red plaid couch, already faded from it’s once glorious existence. I have a hard time imagining that couch being anywhere but in that sun room, with the light occasionally returning the illusion of color for a few hours a day as it beams through that sliding glass door.
I can remember that outside that glass door, that suddenly dingy grass rolled gently down a hill to a small creek. Without a club or a ball, I took swings in that yard pretending that small channel of water was the pond that protected the front edge of Fire Thorn, not knowing that No. 15 was called Fire Thorn or even where the hell Augusta was at the time.
I laid a log across that creek and walked across it imagining it was Sarazen Bridge (the flat one), feigning the applause of a crowd and walking with my head down, focused on my upcoming putt just as Tiger Woods had done that day.
Back up in that sun room, there were other people there watching and probably commenting on what we had just witnessed. I didn’t pay much mind to them. I was lost in my own thoughts. I was lost in The Masters.
I’ve watched The Masters every year since then, and nearly every April I wind up adding one of those special memories, although no Masters will ever stand out like my first.
You could give me a year to drive around Greenwood to try to find that house, and I couldn’t do it. But, if there was a way for me to go around back, and see that sun room, that couch, that sliding glass door, that grass and that creek, there’d be no doubt.
It’s something I’ll never forget, and it can’t be tainted by smashed up Escalades, or crushed blue velvet rooms. That memory is compliments of The Masters.