cloudyn.png
Thursday April 15th, 2021 7:41AM

The home of the Masters is a draw for basketball's best, too

By The Associated Press
Related Articles
  Contact Editor

AUGUSTA, Ga. (AP) — It was April 7, 2003. Exactly 18 years ago Wednesday, Syracuse defeated Kansas to win the NCAA men’s basketball national championship. The biggest win in school history, the biggest win in the Hall of Fame career of Orange coach Jim Boeheim.

A couple hours after the game ended, Boeheim made a phone call.

Even after the biggest win of his life, Augusta National was on his mind.

“I had a deal with a guy that if we won the national championship, he’d get me onto Augusta National,” Boeheim said. “It was like 3 in the morning, right after the championship game, and we called to make sure it would happen.”

And it did.

This is the lure of Augusta National. If you find your way onto the grounds — either as a patron for the Masters, or in the even smaller club of people who can say that they played the course — it’s a memory for life. And in recent years, basketball coaches and players seem to have become particularly fond of the chance to be where the Masters happens.

“It's a special place, obviously," said Golden State guard Stephen Curry, who has played Augusta National a couple times. “There's a lot of history there. You get to watch the tournament every year, you feel like you know every hole if you've been there before or not. And if you get to play it, it's even that much more special to have that experience and walk those same grounds."

Curry half-seriously considered walking off Augusta after his first hole there; he made birdie, so he technically could have said for the rest of his life that he was under par on the course where they play the Masters.

To him, Augusta has “a majestic nature."

“It's pretty awesome," Curry said.

The Warriors don't have a game Thursday, so Curry will get to watch a good deal of the first round, at least. And he won't be the only NBA guy finding time to watch plenty of golf throughout the rest of this week, either.

“Hypothetically, if I could play there, it’s probably what the kids want to do when they want to go to Disney World with a pass and no other people there, no lines to wait in and free food and free toys and gifts,” Miami forward Andre Iguodala said playfully, because he didn't want to actually come out and confirm that he's played Augusta National. “That’s what it’s like ... I would imagine.”

Iguodala has played there; the 2015 NBA Finals MVP for Golden State got on with Curry and some other members of the Warriors’ organization on an off day a few years ago. Iguodala left with such respect for the course that he even changed the way he practices golf; he’s tried to find ways to account for uphill, downhill and sidehill lies, which are all part of the charm and challenge at the Masters.

“You have a lot of respect for guys who win that tournament,” Iguodala said, noting that nobody has a lucky win at Augusta National. “You’ve got to go get it.”

For some in basketball, Augusta National is a place to compete.

For at least one other, it was a place to contemplate whether a career should end.

Roy Williams retired as North Carolina’s coach last week, after 18 seasons with the Tar Heels and three national championships.

He prepared to tell his team, and the rest of the world, the news by coming to Augusta National and playing 36 holes. And even at the news conference where he made it official, he made sure to publicly and proudly point out what he had done at the home of the Masters, that he shot 88 one day, 87 the next, and finished with pars on five of his final six holes.

“Between every shot, I wasn’t really thinking about hitting the golf ball,” Williams said. “I was thinking about how I was going to tell my players and getting through this press conference. So, I knew then, that if you can’t even think about golf when you’re at Augusta National, the decision that I felt about not being the right person any longer, that was pretty much confirmed.”

Even those who are relatively new to the game get Augusta National’s significance.

Grant Hill spent almost two decades in the NBA, played his college basketball at Duke’s Cameron Indoor Stadium, and has an Olympic gold medal.

But yes, to him, Augusta was a huge deal.

“I’ve only been once and had the good fortune of visiting Butler Cabin with Jim Nantz,” Hill said, referring to his Final Four television broadcast partner. “Quite a treat, and I just started playing golf maybe four years ago.”

Boeheim had been to the Masters as a patron in 1997, when Tiger Woods won the green jacket for the first time.

He’s been back to play it twice since, the first time in large part because of that national-title win.

“We stayed there, played 36 holes and played the short course,” Boeheim said. “It’s one of the few things that’s better than you anticipate, even though you anticipate an awful lot. The day we played there might have been only two or three groups on the golf course. It was unbelievable.”

He’s played many of the world’s top courses. His tip for Masters patrons: Follow featured groups on the front, because most people head to the back and find seats around those greens. And one detail that stands out from his past visits to Augusta National only shows the reverence he has for the place.

“That first year Tiger won, I stayed and watched the ceremony,” Boeheim said. “When it was over, I had to walk back across the golf course to where I parked. And there wasn’t a piece of paper anywhere on the golf course. Not a wrapper. Nothing. If you throw paper down on the ground at Augusta, you know you’re going to hell. You won’t make it to heaven.”

Yes, that's how much he reveres the home of the Masters.

___

More AP golf: https://apnews.com/hub/golf and https://twitter.com/AP_Sports

  • Associated Categories: Associated Press (AP), AP Sports, AP Online Basketball, AP Online Golf, College Sports, AP Online - Georgia News, AP Sports - Men's College Basketball, AP Sports - NBA, AP Sports - PGA
© Copyright 2021 AccessWDUN.com
All rights reserved. This material may not be published, broadcast, rewritten, or redistributed without permission.
The home of the Masters is a draw for basketball's best, too
It was April 7, 2003
2:33AM ( 6 minutes ago )
Kershaw bounces back, Dodgers beat winless A's 5-1
Clayton Kershaw struck out eight in seven smooth innings to send the Athletics to their worst start in more than a century, and the Los Angeles Dodgers beat winless Oakland 5-1 for their fifth straight victory
1:34AM ( 1 hour ago )
The Latest: India sees another record day of new virus cases
India has hit another new peak with 115,736 coronavirus cases reported in the past 24 hours
1:29AM ( 1 hour ago )
Associated Press (AP)
LEADING OFF: Tatis on IL, Reds and Baddoo off to big starts
Now that Fernando Tatis Jr. has been placed on the injured list, the San Diego Padres hope their electrifying shortstop won’t be sidelined too long
10:36PM ( 4 hours ago )
Trae Young leads hot-shooting Hawks past Pelicans, 123-107
Trae Young scored 30 points and helped lead a third-quarter 3-point barrage as the surging Atlanta Hawks beat Zion Williamson and the New Orleans Pelicans 123-107
10:02PM ( 4 hours ago )
Woo hoo! Baddoo hits again, Tigers rookie tops Twins in 10th
Akil Baddoo added another big hit in this charmed start to his big league career, lining an RBI single in the bottom of the 10th inning to give the Detroit Tigers a 4-3 victory over the Minnesota Twins
9:42PM ( 4 hours ago )
AP Sports
About 17 million view Baylor's championship win over Gonzaga
Even an NCAA championship matchup between the two widely acknowledged as the best men's college basketball teams in the country couldn't set the television world afire
6:25PM ( 8 hours ago )
Guards stayed at Baylor, paving way for Drew's dream title
Scott Drew uttered the far-fetched idea of Baylor being national champion when he was introduced as coach nearly 18 years ago
5:59PM ( 8 hours ago )
NCAA may consider single site for part of future tourneys
An NCAA official says the governing body may consider using a single site for later rounds of men’s college basketball tournaments following a successful run in Indianapolis
4:55PM ( 9 hours ago )
AP Online Basketball
DeChambeau probing for formula that adds up to green jacket
Bryson DeChambeau let his bravado get the best of him the last time he was at Augusta National
6:10PM ( 8 hours ago )
Phil Mickelson: Masters champion, and Anna Pavlova expert
Phil Mickelson confesses that he's often full of nonsense
5:45PM ( 8 hours ago )
Column: The color of Masters in April is missing a red shirt
Augusta National is blazing with the colors of spring as the Masters is back in April
5:30PM ( 9 hours ago )
AP Online Golf
The Latest: UMass loses 4 players to COVID at Frozen Four
Massachusetts will be without four players when the Minutemen face Minnesota Duluth at the Frozen Four in Pittsburgh due to COVID-19 contact tracing protocols
5:04PM ( 9 hours ago )
Barry Alvarez, AD who reshaped Wisconsin sports, to retire
Wisconsin athletic director Barry Alvarez is retiring after a three-decade run in which he transformed the university’s football program and later guided the Badgers to their greatest all-around sports success in school history
10:18AM ( 16 hours ago )
The Latest: Baylor has 47-37 lead over Zags at halftime
Baylor is up 47-37 over undefeated Gonzaga at halftime of the national championship game
10:24PM ( 1 day ago )
College Sports
Gonzaga's last hurdles: a quick turnaround -- and Baylor
Now comes the hard part for Gonzaga
5:22PM ( 2 days ago )
AP survey: ADs concerned NIL will skew competitive balance
An Associated Press survey of Division I athletic directors found that nearly 73% believe allowing athletes to be compensated for use of their name, image or likeness will decrease the number of schools that have a chance to be competitive in college sports
9:07AM ( 2 days ago )
To the bank! Suggs hits the winner, Zags top UCLA 93-90
Gonzaga has given fans the NCAA championship game they wanted with a shot for the ages
1:00AM ( 3 days ago )
AP Sports - Men's College Basketball
Atlanta's Hunter has nonsurgical procedure on ailing knee
Atlanta Hawks forward De’Andre Hunter continues to struggle with an ailing right knee
4:44PM ( 1 day ago )
Capela, Gallinari pace Hawks to third straight victory
Clint Capela had 24 points and 18 rebounds, Danilo Gallinari scored 25 points and the Atlanta Hawks beat the Golden State Warriors 117-111 for their third straight win
11:26PM ( 2 days ago )
Holiday, Bucks ink 4-year extension worth at least $134M
Milwaukee Bucks guard Jrue Holiday has agreed to a four-year contract extension that will be worth at least $134 million and possibly much more with incentives
3:29PM ( 2 days ago )
AP Sports - NBA
MASTERS '21: Key anniversaries for champions over the years
Herman Keiser won a green jacket after the Masters went four years without being played because of World War II
2:09AM ( 2 days ago )
Jordan Spieth ends drought with victory at Texas Open
After nearly four years, Jordan Spieth is a winner again on the PGA Tour
6:15PM ( 2 days ago )
Augusta National now a 10-day celebration at home of Masters
More than hosting the first major of the year, Augusta National has become a 10-day celebration at the home of the Masters
5:38PM ( 2 days ago )
AP Sports - PGA
Kershaw bounces back, Dodgers beat winless A's 5-1
Clayton Kershaw struck out eight in seven smooth innings to send the Athletics to their worst start in more than a century, and the Los Angeles Dodgers beat winless Oakland 5-1 for their fifth straight victory
1:34AM ( 1 hour ago )
The Latest: India sees another record day of new virus cases
India has hit another new peak with 115,736 coronavirus cases reported in the past 24 hours
1:29AM ( 1 hour ago )
Curry, Warriors use furious finish to hold off Bucks 122-121
Kelly Oubre Jr. converted a pair of free throws with 7.7 seconds left to give Golden State the lead and Milwaukee missed at the end as the Warriors held off the Bucks 122-121
12:55AM ( 1 hour ago )
Asia Today: North Korea tells WHO it's still virus-free
North Korea has continued to claim a perfect record in keeping out the coronavirus in its latest report to the World Health Organization
12:48AM ( 1 hour ago )
Indonesia landslides death toll rises to 119, dozens missing
The death toll from mudslides in eastern Indonesia has risen to 119 with scores still missing as rain continued to pound the region and hamper the search
12:28AM ( 2 hours ago )