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Patrons don't agree on best viewing spot

Monday, April 11, 2011

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When Larry Silber sought the best seat at Augusta National Golf Club on Sunday, he didn't run to the 18th hole.

Patrons walk by the Masters scoreboard before Sunday's final round of the Masters Golf Tournament at Augusta National, Sunday, April 10, 2011, in Augusta, Ga. Rainier Ehrhardt/Staff (Rainier Ehrhardt/Staff)

At 9 a.m. he hauled his chair to the ropes at the 16th green, where, he said, there is more action than on the last hole.

"It's usually all over by 18," Silber said. "All the action, it happens right here."

Although it's a Masters tradition to arrive early and claim a spot near the 18th green, some people have a different strategy on the final tournament day.

For them, the tension of the middle holes and the possibility of seeing a spectacular shot outweigh the chance to see the winner finish on the last hole.

When Tiger Woods' tee shot on No. 16 ended up 12 feet from the hole, Silber had a front-row view as the crowd went wild. Woods, however, missed his birdie putt.

"See, this is why this is the best spot on the course," Silber said.

Patrons before Sunday's final round of the Masters Golf Tournament at Augusta National, Sunday, April 10, 2011, in Augusta, Ga. Rainier Ehrhardt/Staff (Rainier Ehrhardt/Staff)

B.B. Bryson, of Greenville, S.C., prefers the 17th hole near the tee box, and has for 40 years.

Bryson and his wife, Carolyn, have set their chairs at the same spot for decades, with their backs to the seventh green so they also have a view of the action at the 16th hole.

"It's the perfect place," he said. "It's the ultimate hole because you can see so much from one spot."

They place their chairs at their longtime spot and stay there most of the day.

When the crowd flocks to the 18th hole, they stay put.

"There's just too many people up there, and I'm short, so I couldn't see a thing," Carolyn said.

Alain Monkam followed Woods from hole to hole Sunday. He arrived at the 18th to find hundreds of patrons around the green.

He stood on his tiptoes trying to watch Woods putt, while people in front of him groaned because they could see only the backs of heads.

"I'm 6-4, so it's much harder for some other people than me," Monkam said. "I got to watch all the shots, although I feel bad for the people in front of me that couldn't."

Reach Tracey McManus at (706) 823-3424 or tracey.mcmanus@augustachronicle.com.

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