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The home of the Masters is a draw for basketball‘s finest, too

AUGUSTA, Ga. (AP) – It was April 7, 2003. Exactly 18 years in the past Wednesday, Syracuse defeated Kansas to win the NCAA males’s basketball nationwide championship. The greatest win in class historical past, the greatest win in the Hall of Fame profession of Orange coach Jim Boeheim.

A pair hours after the sport ended, Boeheim made a cellphone name.

Even after the greatest win of his life, Augusta National was on his thoughts.

“I had a deal with a guy that if we won the national championship, he’d get me onto Augusta National,” Boeheim mentioned. “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 discover your manner onto the grounds – both as a patron for the Masters, or in the even smaller membership of individuals who can say that they performed the course – it’s a reminiscence for life. And in recent times, basketball coaches and gamers appear to have develop into notably fond of the likelihood to be the place the Masters occurs.

“It’s a special place, obviously,” mentioned Golden State guard Stephen Curry, who has performed Augusta National a couple instances. “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 thought of strolling off Augusta after his first gap there; he made birdie, so he technically may have mentioned for the relaxation of his life that he was underneath par on the course the place they play the Masters.

To him, Augusta has “a majestic nature.”

“It’s pretty awesome,” Curry mentioned.

The Warriors don’t have a sport Thursday, so Curry will get to look at a whole lot of the first spherical, no less than. And he gained’t be the solely NBA man discovering time to look at a lot of golf all through the relaxation of this week, both.

“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 ahead Andre Iguodala mentioned playfully, as a result of he didn’t need to truly come out and ensure that he’s performed Augusta National. “That’s what it’s like … I would imagine.”

Iguodala has performed there; the 2015 NBA Finals MVP for Golden State bought on with Curry and another members of the Warriors’ group on an off day a few years in the past. Iguodala left with such respect for the course that he even modified the manner he practices golf; he’s tried to seek out methods to account for uphill, downhill and sidehill lies, that are all half of the attraction and problem at the Masters.

“You have a lot of respect for guys who win that tournament,” Iguodala mentioned, noting that no one has a fortunate win at Augusta National. “You’ve got to go get it.”

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

For no less than one different, it was a place to ponder whether or not a profession ought to finish.

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

He ready to inform his crew, and the relaxation of the world, the information by coming to Augusta National and enjoying 36 holes. And even at the information convention the place he made it official, he made certain to publicly and proudly level out what he had accomplished at the home of the Masters, that he shot 88 in the future, 87 the subsequent, and completed with pars on 5 of his remaining six holes.

“Between every shot, I wasn’t really thinking about hitting the golf ball,” Williams mentioned. “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 that are comparatively new to the sport get Augusta National’s significance.

Grant Hill spent virtually 20 years in the NBA, performed his faculty basketball at Duke’s Cameron Indoor Stadium, and has an Olympic gold medal.

But sure, to him, Augusta was a big deal.

“I’ve only been once and had the good fortune of visiting Butler Cabin with Jim Nantz,” Hill mentioned, referring to his Final Four tv broadcast accomplice. “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.


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