A heartfelt Augusta reunion, secondhand Masters merch, the press building | Rogers Report

the Crain family is reunited ahead of the Drive, Chip and Putt at Augusta National.

The Crain family is reunited ahead of the Drive, Chip and Putt at Augusta National.

The Masters

AUGUSTA, Ga. — Hello friends, and happy Masters week to all who observe! I flew from Boston to Augusta on Sunday morning (huge shout out to Delta Airlines for adding some direct flights this week) in order to hit the ground running first thing on Monday morning. I knew I was on the right flight out of Boston Logan when I saw a guy using his Masters badge as a bookmark, which is an unbelievable flex. I also met a mother and daughter who were flying back home to Augusta after a few days in the Northeast. They were planning to get home, tidy up the house, and head to a friend’s for the week while Masters-goers rented their own home. The mother explained that this is her first time in town during the Masters in years — she usually goes away for the week to avoid all the commotion, but her son is working concessions this week so they decided to stay.

Drive, Chip and Putt heroes

I didn’t make it to Georgia in time to watch the Drive, Chip and Putt live, but I did catch snippets of it on my flight. Two videos really stuck with me so I want to share them with you all here.

We’ll start with the light-hearted one. Here’s a video of Boys 12-13 champion Kipp Madison explaining how he planned on celebrating a win, and it’s a plan I fully support.

Kipp, if you ever want to join me for an episode of the Scoop, you are more than welcome to join me. I hope the Augusta native’s celebration wasn’t cut short due to having to go home to get his things and clear out for the week, and I’m also very curious if a player happens to be renting out the Madison family home this week. Imagine if that house gets back-to-back winners this week?

The next video is more serious, so prepare to shed a tear or two. U.S. Navy Chief Petty Officer, Sherry Crain, mother of Drive, Chip and Putt competitor Dixie Mae Crain, surprised her family at Augusta National on Saturday evening.

What a special moment for the Crain family.

Another special thing about the Drive, Chip and Putt is how it always seems to keep my ego in check. Just then I start to think I’m kind of cool for getting to go to Augusta National to cover the Masters for a week, I’m reminded that there are 10-year-olds who are literally teeing it up there.

Shout out to the little kids for keeping me humble.

Exploring downtown Augusta

We had an open afternoon on Sunday, so my co-worker, Zephyr Melton, and I decided to explore downtown Augusta. I was starving by the time I landed, so we headed to the Brunch House of Augusta, which I highly recommend. There was a bit of a wait, but the chicken and waffles I had were well worth it. It has an old-school vibe and we sat right at the bar.

There were a few teenage boys sitting next to us who are working at the tournament this week. They recommended heading to New Moon Cafe (which, to my disappointment, is not named after the “Twilight” sequel) down the road for an iced latte, so Zeph and I stopped there before our biggest outing of the afternoon: a trip to the Goodwill on Washington Road.

Masters merchandise mania

Just five minutes from the entrance to Augusta National is a Goodwill, but it looked more like a second-hand Masters merchandise shop than a normal thrift store when I stepped foot in there on Sunday afternoon. There were hundreds of Masters-branded items throughout the store — pullovers, t-shirts, golf shirts, hats, chairs and stuffed animals were scattered throughout the front of the building. Some of them are second-hand for good reason, with sunblock stains or rips, but a lot of the stuff is in great shape. Some of the merchandise we saw was from as recent as the 2022 Masters, and then were were dozens of more vintage looks.

A few specific thoughts crossed my mind while in that Goodwill. 1. Why are people getting rid of this much Masters swag? And, how funny would it be to bring back a clearly very-used t-shirt for a family member who asked me to get them a gift this week? Anyway, here’s a look at the Masters apparel we came across.

Monday morning

I don’t really want to compare Augusta National and Disney World, because the former is much more reverent, but for the sake of trying to describe this to you all, I’m going to compare the feelings you get at both. They’re similar in that an adult who is going to the Masters and a kid who is going to Disney World both won’t get much sleep the night before because they’re so excited. They’re also similar in that sense of overwhelming goodness when you get on property. There’s suddenly 15 different places you want to be at once, and everyone around you seems to be having the best day of their life. It also sort of feels like Christmas in the sense that you never, ever get sick of it.

I headed right to the media center when I arrived on site this morning. I’d tell you it’s the very best in all of golf but that’s not even saying enough. The Masters press building is nicer than most wedding venues I’ve seen.

The media center

Okay, folks. Allow me to walk you all through the place that I’m doing my writing this week. After going through security, there’s crossing guards on the private road inside Augusta National to help the media get from the parking lot to the press building. About six seconds before you get to the front doors, Augusta National employees open them for you.

The outside of the Masters media center
The outside of the Masters media center Masters Media Hub

When you get inside, there are information desks on either side of the staircase with employees ready to answer any question you have. Need help with the Wifi? They’ve got it covered. Last year, I asked for a safety pin and I received a handful of them within 20 seconds.

The grand staircase in the Masters media center
The grand staircase in the Masters media center Masters Media Hub
The grand staircase in the Masters media center
The grand staircase in the Masters media center Masters Media Hub

There’s a patio terrace on the second floor, which is the perfect place for a quick lunch or coffee meeting. I don’t have photos of the grab-and-go station here in the media center, but it’s a sight for sore eyes. There’s every Masters sandwich available, a dozen drink options, fruit, cookies, nuts, doughnuts, ice cream sandwiches and more. And the second you grab something from the station, it’s replaced with a new one. In other woods, the food station is always full.

The terrace outside the Masters media center
The terrace outside the Masters media center Masters Media Hub

Next up we have the interview room. At most tournaments, players come into the general press room and talk with the media there. At Augusta, we all head to a separate room (where no phones or cameras are allowed) to hear from the players.

The interview room in the Masters media center
The interview room in the Masters media center Masters Media Hub

The thing I looked forward to most ahead of this week (besides the golf, of course) was dining at Bartlett lounge. It’s the home of the best bacon, scrambled eggs and home fries I’e ever had, and the people watching is great. Not only do a bunch of media members go there for breakfast and lunch, but Augusta National members do as well. You feel just like you’re sitting at a fancy restaurant, except you don’t receive a check at the end of your meal.

Bartlett Lounge, a full-service restaurant in the Masters press building
Bartlett Lounge, a full-service restaurant in the Masters press building Masters Media Hub

And last but very not least, the press room. This is where all the stories you’re reading this week are being written and where a lot of us are watching the golf when we aren’t out on the course. We’re sitting in fancy leather swivel chairs this week, with two monitors to follow the action on our desks, with our own personal lockers and trash cans behind us. It’s definitely the most official I’ve ever felt while writing up a Rogers Report!

The press room in the Masters media center
The press room in the Masters media center Masters Media Hub

Walking around

I went on two incredible walks around Augusta National on Monday. I walked the second nine alone in the morning, which I cannot recommend enough. I absolutely love solo walks on the golf course. And better yet? No one can bother you when you’re out exploring Augusta National. Need to get in touch with me? Sorry, I don’t have my phone! And at the end of the day, I went on a golden hour walk with a few of my co-workers, which was as relaxing as it gets. As someone who does social media for work, it’s such a treat to be able to fully unplug for a few hours each day. It allows you to look up and fully be present, which was great because I ended up running into a few pals and also making some new ones.

Monday afternoon

I’m not filming any Scoops this week (these guys have too much going on!), but I did get to film a fun segment with Justin Rose, which I’m excited for you all to see soon. We even checked out the solar eclipse together. I won’t share a photo of myself in the glasses, but Rose looked pretty cool so you can all take a look at him instead.