It’s always great to get a take on The Masters and Augusta National from someone who regularly covers the PGA Tour, and that makes Golf News Net’s Ryan Ballengee the perfect guest for our third episode of Masters Week on the “Talking GolfGetaways” podcast, hosted by Mitch Laurance and Darin Bunch. Ballengee begins the conversation with his earliest memories of watching The Masters on television, describing Ben Crenshaw’s emotional victory in 1995 and recounting Tiger Woods’ “Win for the Ages” in 1997. He shares his reaction to Tiger’s hug with his father Earl, and talks about how, for him, “golf went berserk” after that historic win.
Everyone who goes to Augusta for The Masters has a first-time experience, and Ryan shares his own personal story about arriving for the Golf Writers of America meeting in 2010. “I gawked at every historic spot on the golf course,” he says, and then talks about the elevation changes on the course that he didn’t expect, what Amen Corner really feels like and his walk back up from that most beautiful of valleys. Food is the next topic of conversation, and Ballengee commits Masters heresy by noting that, although the pimento cheese sandwich is good, it’s the chicken sandwich that’s his fave. His reason? “Simple, classic, well-executed.”
Next up, he explains why The Masters is so different than other golf events for the media who cover it — a mix of fear and decorum because the membership run the event expressly on “their terms.” Yet, on the flip side, he details how wonderfully the media are treated and some of the perks that are included such as access to lunch in the clubhouse.
Finally, Ryan offers the story of his own most-memorable (and slightly R-rated) Masters moment from the No. 8 hole during Woods’ run in 2011 and Steve Williams’ terrific response to a kid’s request for a Tiger ball, plus the ensuing reaction to Rory McIlroy’s meltdown and Charl Schwartzel’s unexpected victory. It’s an episode that is sure to make you laugh — and dream of standing on Augusta National’s famed fairways yourself while munching on a MoonPie — from one of our favorite “Talking GolfGetaways” guests. Enjoy. And get ready to get hungry for both golf and Masters munchies.
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Masters Week on “Talking GolfGetaways with Mitch Laurance & Darin Bunch” is sponsored by Tobacco Road Golf & Travel (TobaccoRoadTravel.com) and can be found on GolfNewsNet.com and across the Golf News Net platform. New episodes post daily, five days per week (for the most part), and “Talking GolfGetaways” is also available on audioBoom, iTunes and Stitcher.
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