Golden State Warriors guard Stephen Curry (30) reacts after being fouled by Milwaukee Bucks forward Thanasis Antetokounmpo, rear, for the duration of the 2d half of an NBA basketball game in San Francisco, Tuesday, April 6, 2021. (AP Relate/Jeff Chiu)
AUGUSTA, Ga. (AP) — It was April 7, 2003. Exactly 18 years ago Wednesday, Syracuse defeated Kansas to grab the NCAA men’s basketball national championship. The biggest snatch in faculty history, the biggest snatch 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 snatch of his lifestyles, Augusta National was on his ideas.
“I had a deal with a guy that if we gained the national championship, he’d glean me onto Augusta National,” Boeheim said. “It was cherish 3 in the morning, lawful after the championship game, and we called to make obvious it would happen.”
And it did.
This is the entice of Augusta National. For those that discover your way onto the grounds — either as a patron for the Masters, or in the even smaller membership of those that can say that they played the course — it’s a reminiscence for lifestyles. And in latest years, basketball coaches and players appear to have change into particularly fond of the chance to be where the Masters happens.
“It’s a special place, clearly,” said Golden State guard Stephen Curry, who has played Augusta National a couple instances. “There’s a lot of history there. You glean to watch the tournament every year, you feel cherish you realize every hole in case you’ve been there before or now now not. And in case you glean to play it, it’s even that rather more special to have that ride and walk those same grounds.”
Curry half-severely understanding to be walking off Augusta after his first hole there; he made birdie, so he technically may per chance have said for the leisure of his lifestyles that he was beneath par on the course where they play the Masters.
To him, Augusta has “a majestic nature.”
“It’s fair awesome,” Curry said.
The Warriors don’t have a game Thursday, so Curry will glean to watch a suitable deal of the first spherical, at least. And he gained’t be the finest NBA guy finding time to watch masses of golf at some stage in the leisure of this week, either.
“Hypothetically, if I may per chance play there, it’s probably what the kids want to diagram when they want to head to Disney World with a pass and no other other americans 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 affirm that he’s played Augusta National. “That’s what it’s cherish … I would imagine.”
Iguodala has played there; the 2015 NBA Finals MVP for Golden State obtained on with Curry and some other contributors 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 hunt down 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 snatch that tournament,” Iguodala said, noting that no one has a fortunate snatch at Augusta National. “You’ve obtained to head glean 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 need to detached raze.
Roy Williams retired as North Carolina’s coach last week, after 18 seasons with the Tar Heels and three national championships.
He prepared to explain his team, and the leisure of the world, the news by coming to Augusta National and playing 36 holes. And even at the news convention where he made it official, he made obvious to publicly and proudly indicate what he had carried out at the home of the Masters, that he shot 88 one day, 87 the next, and finished with pars on 5 of his final six holes.
“Between every shot, I wasn’t really making an allowance for about hitting the golf ball,” Williams said. “I was making an allowance for about how I was going to explain my players and getting thru this press convention. So, I knew then, that in case you can’t even narrate about golf for those that’re at Augusta National, the decision that I felt about now now not being the lawful particular person any longer, that was fair distinguished confirmed.”
Even those that are relatively new to the game glean Augusta National’s significance.
Grant Hill spent almost two decades in the NBA, played his faculty basketball at Duke’s Cameron Indoor Stadium, and has an Olympic gold medal.
However chase, to him, Augusta was a astronomical deal.
“I’ve finest been once and had the suitable fortune of visiting Butler Cabin with Jim Nantz,” Hill said, relating to his Final Four television broadcast partner. “Fairly a treat, and I merely started playing golf maybe four years ago.”
Boeheim had been to the Masters as a patron in 1997, when Tiger Woods gained 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 snatch.
“We stayed there, played 36 holes and played the fast course,” Boeheim said. “It’s one of the few issues that’s better than you anticipate, even supposing you anticipate an awful lot. The day we played there may per chance have been finest two or three groups on the golf course. It was unbelievable.”
He’s played many of the world’s top programs. His tip for Masters patrons: Practice featured groups on the front, because most other americans head to the back and earn seats around those greens. And one detail that stands out from his past visits to Augusta National finest reveals the reverence he has for the place.
“That first year Tiger gained, 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 fraction of paper anywhere on the golf course. No longer a wrapper. Nothing. For those that throw paper down on the ground at Augusta, you realize you’re going to hell. You gained’t make it to heaven.”
Certain, that’s how distinguished he reveres the home of the Masters.
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