One of the best things about covering the Masters is that sportswriters have the run of the clubhouse. We can hang around, gawk, act like we belong, even eat lunch in the grill room or out on the balcony overlooking the first tee. It doesn't get much cooler.
In either dining spot, you look around and see big name players, sizzling hot player wives dripping in diamonds, agents, TV guys. Jim Nantz from CBS was at the table next to me yesterday, eating with executive producer Lance Barrow. In the grill room, one wall is devoted to a display case with clubs that were used to win past Masters.
The shame of it is, if not for the whole scene, I'd prefer to be chowing down at Friendly's. We're talking about some seriously so-so fare. And the service is definitely better at Friendly's.
Take my lunch yesterday, for example. I had the seafood chowder ($5), which was okay if you don't mind it lukewarm. And my half club sandwich ($8) was only slightly better than stuff I've gotten out of vending machines.
Three golf writer buddies were at the same table. One of them was served stone cold french fries. When he pointed it out, the waiter brought him another order of fries but later billed him for two orders.
When the bill came for the two other guys at the table, it was so screwed up it took five mintues to straighten it all out. No, I had this, he had that, neither of us had that other thing you charged us for. You know the drill.
Could be worse, of course. I read it snowed at the Phillies game last night.