A few years ago, Sports Illustrated’s Michael Bamberger wrote an article about Augusta Chronicle golf writer David Westin’s annual pilgrimage to Florida to prepare stories for our Masters Tournament special preview section.
In the article, Bamberger retold a story of Nick Price greeting David on one of the Masters info-gathering trips with, “Here he is – the face of spring.”
Although David’s trek rarely coincided with the start of spring, Augusta and the Masters have been linked to the promise of the season since the late 1950s.
His journey this year does coincide with daylight saving time, so he and his traveling companion, columnist Scott Michaux, will have one fewer hour to gather stories this year.
The stories they will write will make up a large portion of our special section, which this week was named one of the top 10 in the country for the 19th consecutive year.
Like many of you and golf fans visiting our city, the Associated Press Sports Editors recognized the quality of the effort that the special section is.
Scott was also honored by the APSE for last year’s cover story on 2012 champion Bubba Watson.
You probably remember the cover photo of the playful Watson by photographer Michael Holahan and colorful design by our lead designer, Traci Westin.
The section is a team effort from our sports staff to our copy desk through the pressroom. Applause editor Mary Frances Hendrix meticulously checks every score and fact in the player’s bio boxes each year for quality assurance.
The section is an effort that “we can all be proud of,” as one of our editors used to say.
The preview edition is printed in four sections, each with its own cover story – an article or full-page explanatory graphic – with the defending champion on the front.
Sports Editor John Boyette is committed to not repeating any of the cover ideas (except repeat champions). He has been the sports editor since before the 2001 tournament. That is 56 unique cover stories.
So, the planning for that next year’s tournament coverage starts well before the final putt drops on Masters Sunday each year.
During last year’s final round, John had reporters and photographers “gathering string” for one of the covers for this year’s section.
We sent sports columnist Scott and photographer Jon-Michael Sullivan down to Australia as 2013 Masters champion Adam Scott returned to his homeland as its first champion.
The video that Scott compiled can be viewed on youtube.com and augustachronicle.com. It is an interesting look at how much of an impact the green jacket had on the folks Down Under when seeing it for the first time.
This year’s section comes out Sunday, April 6, but you can get a sneak peek at some of the content and browse up on the glory of Masters past at augusta.com now.