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Apr 10, 2013 | 11:57 AM

Ramped Up

You think getting a hotel room during Masters week is tough. Try getting a parking spot for your private jet! It has become such a problem that in years’ past the FAA has had to divert aircraft to other, less convenient airports in the area where passengers' waiting limos and hospitality tents weren’t. So this year Augusta Regional instituted a “Prior Permission Required” program to confirm that aircraft with an arrival slot also have a parking location (reservations filled up in a month by early March). The airport expects more than 400 private flights this week—second only to the Super Bowl, which had more than 600 flights into New Orleans Lakefront Airport in February, in events popular with the jet-set crowd (another strong fly-in destination is Art Basel Miami Beach). One of the leading fractional jet ownership companies used by many tour pros, Flight Options, will be using almost half their fleet of 100 jets, such as the seven-passenger Phenom 300 pictured above, to ferry clients to the year's first major. Talk about the high life.

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Apr 09, 2013 | 12:48 PM

Rory Loves His Caddie

There are two things everyone knows about the Par-3 Contest at Augusta National. First, no one has won both that nine-hole tournament and the Masters in the same year. Second, players often have their friends and families caddie for them in the Wednesday afternoon fun-fest. It’s usually sons and daughters, darling little ones in size-appropriate versions of Augusta’s iconic white caddie overalls. But Rory McIlroy has another way to get fans to say, “Oooh, isn’t that cute!” He’s putting girlfriend—and international tennis star—Caroline Wozniacki on the bag tomorrow. Smart move as it makes news and pumps up the crowd while guaranteeing he won’t win. Think about it: Could you win while trying to impress your main squeeze?

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Apr 09, 2013 | 08:49 AM

Masters Dining Guide

Everyone knows it's hard to get into the Masters, whether you're a world-class player or a fan hoping to score a ticket. Even more daunting can be the task of getting back into the tournament after you've missed a year. But the latest news from Augusta brings hope for all with the triumphant return of, yes, the chicken sandwich. After being replaced last year by the healthier, trendier, grilled chicken wrap, the original (white bread, butter, sliced chicken) will rejoin fellow classics pimento cheese, egg salad, and ham on the Masters menu of $3 delights. Could this be a harbinger of other restorations—local caddies? Throttled-back golf balls? Gary McCord? Doubt it. And speaking of chicken, Bubba Watson has declined to disclose his menu for tonight's Champions Dinner, saying only that he's loaded the menu with things he likes to eat. The mind boggles…

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Apr 08, 2013 | 02:00 PM

Masterful Renovation

Augusta National's greens are its best defense against low scores, so the club goes to great lengths to take care of them, renovating one or two of them every year. Last summer saw the rebuilding of the 14th green, the course's most undulating putting surface. Here's a great timelapse video of the process. Also since last summer, Augusta started using "sensing camera technology" at the 13th and 17th greens. The “Hawkeye" system provides infrared temperature readings every ten minutes to detect areas of stress caused not only by temperature, but by insects, fungus, disease, and other environmental stressors. That's in addition to four, iPad-controlled sensors to monitor soil moisture, temperature, and salinity, which every green has. Only the best for the best.

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