I am in the best shape of my life. Last week was the Masters Tournament, and, as a working media member, I was all over it ... literally.
My job was an easy one: Help The Augusta Chronicle photographers by keeping them updated on the overall leaderboard and replenishing their various photo supplies.
Well, it sounded easy. Over the week, I covered every inch of that course. Thanks to the help of a pedometer, I can look back on the 200,000-plus steps in more than 83 hours of work during the week at the Masters. Here are a few of the highlights:
Step No. 18,215
After walking the front nine to reacquaint myself with the course that I visited twice as a teenager, I stopped at the fourth tee to see the par-3 hole that was extended to 240 yards. In the next 30 minutes, not one golfer's tee shot hit within 10 yards of the cup.
Total for Monday: 31,812 steps, 18.1 miles
Total for week: 31,812 steps, 18.1 miles
Step No. 19,832
Tiger Woods approached the fan-favorite 16th hole. During practice rounds, the patrons flock to see the golfers try a trick shot in which they skip their ball across the pond. A good skipping shot can propel the ball across the pond to the green 170 yards away. Tiger's ball just missed the green and instead struck the bank, 10 yards away from two turtles.
Total for Tuesday: 26,391 steps, 15.0 miles
Total for week: 58,203 steps, 33.1 miles
Step No. 14,095
Each photographer is given a photo runner as an assistant in the tournament. Two of the five assigned to us Wednesday morning were none other than Greenbrier soccer players Jason and Justin Purucker. Their efforts and love for the Big 10 were much appreciated.
Total for Wednesday: 37,789 steps, 21.5 miles
Total for week: 95,992 steps, 54.6 miles
Step No. 24,329
After Phil Mickelson putted for a birdie at 15, I saw him nail his tee shot two feet from the cup on 16. His second birdie in a row put him at 2 under for the day.
Total for Thursday: 26,916 steps, 15.3 miles
Total for week: 122,908 steps, 69.9 miles
Step No. 13,640
The day began with Vijay Singh up by one stroke, but on the first hole, his approach shot landed off the green where I was standing. When he reached the spot to check his lie, the leaderboard showed that Chad Campbell had birdied 12 and 13 to tie with Singh for the lead. Singh answered by chipping off the green and into the hole to save birdie and reclaim the lead. The clutch hitting wouldn't last, as Singh finished the second round with a 2-over 74.
Total for Friday: 29,054 steps, 16.5 miles
Total for week: 151,962 steps, 86.4 miles
Step No. 14,024
Play was suspended at the Masters because of rain at 1:03 p.m. The air horns and sirens made the rain delay sound more like a nuclear attack. Absolutely nothing happened for the next four hours.
Step No. 15,659
The day was not lost. I broke my high score on my cell phone's Pac-Man game: 51,950 points. I can honestly say this was the most exciting thing that happened.
Total for Saturday: 25,916 steps, 14.7 miles
Total for week: 177,878 steps, 101.1 miles
Step No. 1
The Chronicle photographers and I reached the gate at 5:15 a.m. to ensure we got seats on the 18th green for at least one good photo of the winning shot.
Step No. 16,391
Brandt Jobe was long out of contention after starting the final round at 9-over par. Still, I watched him nail an eagle from at least 150 yards away at the seventh hole. Jobe went on to birdie 14, 15 and 16 to finish with the second-best round of the day: a 4-under-par 68.
Step No. 31,022
Mickelson teed off at No. 18 with a 3-stroke lead. Of course, he hit his approach shot into the patrons, and the following chip shot never came within five feet of the hole, but the bogey gave Mickelson his second Masters title in three years.
More than 14 hours after we arrived at the course, all five of our photographers were there for the winning shot.
Total for Sunday: 33,826 steps, 19.2 miles
Total for week: 211,704 steps, 120.3 miles
I could get from here to Macon, Ga., with the 120.3 miles I walked last week. I think I'll just walk to bed.
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