AUGUSTA, GA. | Masters parties are all over the area during the week of the tournament but none goes as deep on several levels as at the Hooters on Washington Road.
The rather modestly-sized location, in a parking lot next door to a Carraba's, is more than doubled in size by adding outdoor areas and a huge tent. Managers, cooks and of course the ladies of Hooters are imported from Orlando, Daytona Beach, Myrtle Beach, Atlanta and Wilmington to handle the overflow crowds that flock to the location beginning Sunday night before the tournament and lasting until well after the final putt drops eight days later.
Male customers need to understand something if they don't already: this is likely the worst place in Augusta to be if you're single and are attempting to procure female companionship. The crowd is 90 percent male, easily, and the testosterone is palpable. Sports on TV, cigars, beer, cocktails and golf talk dominate the night.
Adding cachet is John Daly's annual appearance in the parking lot. Long John parks his RV near the Hooters entrance, sets out a few tables and starts selling hats, t-shirts, club-head covers, mugs, coozies, logo ball and anything else with his name or logo on it. Hooters customers are JD's natural consituency. If there was ever a guy in his element, this is it.
But here's the reality check: the waitresses probably should save some guys a lot of time by wearing halter tops that not only say "Hooters" but in smaller print, underneath, say, "you have no shot."
That doesn't stop an estimated 6,000-to-8,000 customers from passing through the doors beginning with breakfast at 7 a.m. (Breakfast? At Hooters? I don't want to ask.) and lasting until the 2 a.m. closing time.
That was the estimate of Albert, one of the managers imported from Orlando who didn't want to give his last name. He said the only other expanded Hooters scene he has ever experienced to top Masters week at Augusta is the Hooters across from the Daytona International Speedway the week of the Daytona 500.
The high-profile that a Hooters has in Augusta during Masters week might not convey the image club members in their green jackets want to convey. But after years of a tradition of beer and wings unlike any other, there's no fighting it.