JOE BIDDLE: Sunday Notes: April 14, 2013

Random ruminations while wondering whatever happened to Bruce Crampton. …

  • Look up the word hospitality in your dictionary and one of the definitions should be “Augusta National during Masters Week.''

    What other major sports championship sells a pimento cheese sandwich for a buck-fifty?

    The membership quietly introduced the ultimate in hospitality this week when they officially opened Berckmans Place.

    Regular patrons will not be able to see it, as it is located out of sight.

    It is a 90,000-square foot golf Taj Mahal. Inside they have three first-class restaurants and also outside dining. One of my rich friends who went there Friday said the first person to welcome his party was Lynn Swann. Yes, that Lynn Swann and an Augusta National member. Earlier in the day Augusta National member Condelezza Rice was warmly greeting guests and posing for pictures.

    A badge for the week has been estimated at $6,000. But my Rich Friend says, everything is free and Augusta National has spared no expense to make that week for members, tournament sponsors and friends of the club a most memorable experience.

    They brought in the two best oyster shuckers from Commanders Palace in New Orleans to work their oyster bar.

    They hired approximately 500 college students majoring in restaurant and hospitality fields to man the three restaurants. They built replica greens of holes 7, 14 and 16. They are smaller than the course's greens, but with identical breaks and undulation. A caddie who was helping Rich Friend and others putting the greens told him, the caddie can't tell the difference between the real and the replica.

    Oh, yes. They have their own merchandise shop, with items that cannot be found in the on-course shops. Even though guests cannot see the course, it is only a short walk through the pines to both the 5th and No. 13 greens.

    I about forgot the most important part. Everything in the restaurants and oyster bar is free. Food, drinks, you name it. You can leave your Visa at home.

    What I find to be the most inconceivable part about Berckmans Place is that it is only open one week a year.

  • Although Augusta National never releases attendance figures, one longtime patron called his friend in Nashville and told him this was his last trip to the tournament.

    He estimated there were at least 100,000 patrons on the course for each of the first two rounds.

    There is nothing like being there in person as TV, as high tech as it has become, can't do the course justice. But the crowds in recent years have been noticeably larger. It makes being able to follow a top name player and actually see him has become more difficult. As for following Tiger's group, good luck.

  • Augusta National member and former Vanderbilt football player turned successful investor Toby Wilt is featured with Brandt Snedeker in a Bridgestone commercial for their golf balls.

    Wilt and Snedeker shared the pro-am title at AT&T Pebble Beach National Pro-Am tournament earlier this year and the commercial shows Wilt and Snedeker holding their trophy.

    Wilt also serves in a rotation as the starter on the first tee during the Masters. It was Wilt's endowed golf scholarship which allowed Snedeker to attend Vanderbilt. He was the first recipient followed by Luke List, now playing some PGA Tour events.

  • I am of the opinion the Titans need to zero in on two positions to use their first draft pick. One would be guard Chance Warmack, as most analysts claim he is an automatic starter who will have a long career, or determine which defensive end/pass rusher they like the best. Some of the names being thrown out in mock drafts are LSU linebacker/pass rusher Barkevious Mingo, BYU's Ziggy Ansah, Florida State's Bjoern Werner or perhaps SMU's Margus Hunt.

    The unknown is that will the players the Titans want, be available if the Titans stick with their No. 10 pick? Defensive end is a much more coveted position than offensive guard. In last year's draft, seven defensive ends were taken in the first 32 picks so there are no guarantees.

    National League Cy Young Award winner R.A. Dickey will be on “60 Minutes'' Sunday night, following the Masters Tournament.

    Lesley Stahl interviewed the Nashvillian who won the award while with the Mets. He was traded in the off-season to Toronto, despite being only the third Mets pitcher in club history to win the Cy Young Award.

    “I don't think I was hurt, as I just was sad about it because New York was the place that I came to redeem my career,'' Dickey told Stahl. “I finally had a parking space you know. Which took me, what? Fourteen years to get a parking space.''

    The former MBA/Tennessee pitcher explained the knuckleball to Stahl.

    “If I throw a bad knuckleball, you could hit it,'' he told Stahl. “If I throw a good knuckleball … nobody's hitting it.''

  • Rick Pitino is following through on a promise he made his Louisville team mid-way through the season. If they went ahead and won the national championship, Pitino would get a tattoo.

    He is going to get a Cardinal tattoo inscribed with “2013 Champions.”

    It will be placed on his left shoulder.

    “I said it … not believing this was going to be a reality but I am going to get it,'' Pitino told CBS This Morning. “I'm a man of my word.''

  • It appears Kentucky Coach John Calipari has loaded the Big Blue wagon for next season. He has a recruiting class that features six McDonald's All-Americans, all of them ranked in the top 20 in national rankings.

    The Cats landed the top backcourt combo, in twins Aaron and Andrew Harrison. He got the top-ranked power forward in McKinney, Texas strongman Julius Randle, a 6-9 ready to play freshman.

    Swing guard-forward James Young is Michigan's Class A Player of the Year, averaging 27.2 points and 16 rebounds to go with 5.7 assists. Add 6-10 post Dakari Johnson from Brooklyn and 6-9 power forward Marcus Lee from California and Coach Cal has an excellent chance to prevent Louisville from repeating as champions.

    I don't see another NIT flameout in the Cats' future. Clarksville's Alex Poythress and center Willie Cauley-Stein say they will return and represent an anomaly on campus. That would be a basketball player who is a sophomore.

    Contact Sports Columnist Joe Biddle at 

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