• The feeling inside Butler Cabin

  • By Wright Thompson | April 6, 2011 1:34:20 PM PDT

Butler Cabin
Augusta National/Getty ImagesJack Nicklaus enters Butler Cabin after winning the 1986 Masters.

AUGUSTA, Ga. -- There's a full-length mirror outside the bathroom in the basement of Butler Cabin. Today, the place is quiet, with silent cameras and dark lights. Big banks of electronics, snaked with wires, hum and flicker, ready. Five straight-back chairs hunker in a semicircle in front of the fireplace, empty, under the portrait of Bobby Jones. "The Price is Right" plays on one of the monitors. The scoreboard is blank. The set is dark. The potential energy of a television stage is palpable up close, a long chain stretching from tiny lavalier microphones to enormous orbiting satellites. Now all is still, but in four days, someone will come down the stairs into the Wilmington Room, just a door away from the lights and the cameras, and, on the other side of those lights and cameras, the world. The small holding room has a closet with a tie holder made from golf tees. There is a sink with Dial hand soap. Fleurs-de-lis dot the wallpaper. And, just outside, between the sink and the closet, a mirror hangs on the wall. In four days, someone will look into this mirror one last time and then take the 10 steps over to the set. If he has won before, it will be a familiar feeling. If he has not, nothing will ever be the same. The last glimpse of his old life will be that quick hair, teeth and dandruff check. He'll look at himself, a grown man, and I hope he sees a little boy staring back, full of dreams he's yet to chase.


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