First day Masters patrons travel far, brave weather

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It is golf's most prestigious tournament, and so even a forecast of rain doesn't dampen the spirits of those fortunate enough to land the hottest ticket in town this week.

Drama comes in two forms here at the Masters: the winners and the weather.

We'll have to wait till Sunday to find out the winner, but today the weather already played into the picture.

The clouds and sun wrestled all day over the Augusta National.

Golf patrons took advantage of the few rays of sun to snap photographs at the famous Founder's Circle.

That's one of the more popular spots for that souvenir photograph; the famous flag and flowers make a colorful backdrop.

But of course it's really all about the golf this week.

And whether you're a first time visitor to the tournament or a veteran, today is a day you wouldn't miss.

Gates open as thousands head in to the Augusta National for Masters 2006.

Among the fans was William Lewis. Lewis was born in Augusta, but is now living in Reno, Nevada.

"Can't believe being in a place like this, it is amazing," Lewis said.

Lewis brought along his friend Paul Donnelin. Touching the rough was something Donnelin had to feel to believe.

"I looked at the grass and it's just beautiful, nicer than carpet," Donnelin said.

Like Lewis and Donnelin, Blair Purpetra traveled all the way from Louisiana.

He was coming rain or shine.

"It was worth the 12 hour drive here from Baton Rouge Louisiana, it was worth all the traffic, it was worth everything just to see," Purpetra said.

This was his first chance to see the landscape masterpiece in person.

"Television does no justice to this course. Truly phenomenal," Purpetra said.

"This place is so gorgeous it takes your heart away," said Donnelin.

And the trip would not be complete without Masters memorabilia.

"How about spending thousands of dollars for gifts," Lewis said.

The weather always tends to leave fans guessing, but rain or shine, Masters fans were prepared.

Diane Koontz came last year and had to leave when play was canceled because of a heavy downpour.

But she says it was worth it, and that's why she's back.

"The rain didn't really bother us that much," Koontz says. "We didn't get to see much golf, but it was called off and we had to leave before it resumed, and one day they didn't resume."

"Umbrella, rain suits, frog taw, I got it all," said Purpetra. "Lightning would have to run me off."

You'll want to make sure you pay attention to our forecast to make sure you are prepared for the weather.