AUGUSTA, Ga. — George McCutchen had foresight, back when foresight mattered here. As an undergrad at South Carolina in the late 1950s, he got his first taste of the Masters and figured he was never going to be able to get his fill of the place.
"I decided in college I was going to like this, so I started buying tickets," said McCutchen, a 72-year-old Columbia investment adviser.
That was in 1960, before the Masters became a yearly sellout and before the waiting list was shut down because of overcrowding, back when Masters badges could be purchased like any other sporting ticket. In other words, it was a while ago, and McCutchen has made the most of it since.
On Thursday, he attended his 209th consecutive Masters competition round. For the last 52 years, he has been on the grounds for every round of the tournament that has been played, and he plans to make it 53 this year.
No records are kept about Masters attendance streaks, Augusta National Golf Club director of communications Steve Ethun said, but McCutchen has to be close to some kind of milestone.
"There was an article in The State about somebody who had been to 50 about three or four years ago, but he hadn't been to every day," McCutchen said.
He isn't aware of any formal or informal associations of longtime Masters patrons, but he knows there are some faces he's seen in the crowd a lot through the years.
"There used to be a woman who followed Jack (Nicklaus) around in the early days, but by '86, she was not there anymore and I don't know what happened to her. We would just see each other in the galleries and speak."
McCutchen was often in Jack's gallery. Although his first year of regular attendance (1960) coincided with Arnold Palmer's second Masters victory, McCutchen always has been a Jack guy.
"I was a heavyset guy myself, and he was heavyset at the time," said McCutchen, who was an offensive lineman at A.C. Flora High School. "For about 20 years, I followed him every hole."
McCutchen followed Nicklaus the entire back nine Sunday in his dramatic 1986 victory and was with Nicklaus for every shot of his then-course record 64 in 1965.
"He just played a fantastic round of golf (in 1965)," McCutchen said. "When he got through, they asked Bobby Jones about it and he said, 'Jack plays a game with which I am not familiar.' "
McCutchen has four Masters badges and takes with him a rotating group that includes some regulars and some who come and go from year to year. He knows by now all the right places to stand and how to navigate even the biggest galleries.
"In '65, Nicklaus and (Gary) Player and Palmer had made it really popular," he said. "The crowds were not far from what they are now. (Jack's gallery) was a similar size crowd that would follow Tiger in his heyday."
McCutchen has been to at least one round of the Masters in each of the last 58 years. Gluttony, he has decided in this case, is good.
This article is written by Josh Kendall from The State and was legally licensed via the Tribune Content Agency through the NewsCred publisher network. Please direct all licensing questions to firstname.lastname@example.org.
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