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News and Notes from Augusta
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    AUGUSTA — Sporting notes compiled while enjoying the cell phone-less sanctuary that is Augusta National.
    — In an effort to reach a younger and broader audience, Augusta National begins a new initiative today: Children ages 8-16 get in free when accompanied by an accredited patron (the person whose name is on the badge application).
    — Two-time Masters champ Phil Mickelson is a fan of the new policy and hopes it’ll help the game grow by increasing its exposure.
    — What else is new at Augusta? Touch-screen computers asking patrons for feedback on their Masters experience. It’s the first time the club has sought opinions from its patrons.
    —  Also a first, no smoking in the press building. Thank goodness.
    — Four-time Masters champ Arnold Palmer will be the tournament’s honorary starter today at 7:50 a.m.
    — The first thing I ate at this year’s Masters? Pimento cheese sandwich. I’ll have at least one every day I’m here.
    — Speaking of food, menu items of choice for 2007 winner Zach Johnson’s Champions Dinner included corn-fed beef, ahi tuna, shrimp, crab cakes, vegetables and bisque.
    — Former winners dine together during the Champions Dinner, a Tuesday night Masters tradition where the previous year’s winner chooses the chow.
    — There are 61 trees, roughly 150 years old lining Magnolia Lane, the famous entrance to Augusta National.
    — Johnson and his wife felt terrible and had headaches from an uncooperative young child when they arrived in Augusta Sunday night. Then they pulled into Magnolia Lane. “It was like the clouds parted and here comes the sunshine,” Johnson said. “It was awesome.”
    — Rory Sabbatini shot a 5-under to win Wednesday afternoon’s Par-3 Contest, a Masters ritual since its inception 48 years ago. Tiger Woods decided not to participate, saying the event can be a distraction from preparing for the tournament.
    — The Par 3 jinx is still in effect: No Par-3 winner has won the Masters in the same year.
    — If you’re coming to the Masters, save yourself the trouble and leave your cell phone in the car. They won’t let you bring it inside the gate.
    — “Golf is assuredly a mystifying game. It would seem that if a person has hit a golf ball correctly a thousand times, he should be able to duplicate the performance at will. But this is certainly not the case,” said the late Bobby Jones, Masters founder who co-designed Augusta National with Alister MacKenzie.

This and that
    — Congrats to former Georgia Southern golfer Aron Price, who won a US Nationwide Tour event in a sudden-death playoff last weekend. Three Nationwide wins in the same season equals a PGA Tour card for the remainder of the year and the following season. Good luck to Price.
    — Joel Turner, Jayson Foster’s agent, continues hearing positive reviews from NFL officials regarding Foster’s future in the league. With the draft less than three weeks away, Turner said an individual workout isn’t likely for the former Eagle quarterback, who should stand on the solid numbers he posted during GSU’s Pro Day. We all wish Jayson the best.
    — Speaking of former Walter Payton winners, I hate reading stories doubting Adrian Peterson’s abilities and the sub-par talents of the Chicago Bears’ running back corps. At what point does at least some of the blame fall on the offensive line? It’s hard to believe the running backs are the only problem with Chicago’s ground game.
    — Thanks to all viewers and sponsors of The Eagles Nest, our weekly vodcast highlighting GSU sports found only at

    Alex Pellegrino can be reached at (912) 489-9413.