“Awesome,” Mickelson said after playing 18 holes with his agent and Augusta members Rice and Lee Styslinger. “She’s one of my favorite people to be around. She’s so knowledgeable and interesting to talk to. I always learn so much. When I saw she became a member, one of the first things I did was schedule a game close to Masters time. The fact she’s here, we were able to work it out. It was really cool.”
Moore is not expected until later in the week.
Rice had lunch with Mickelson and then donned her green jacket to meet with other members on the practice range. Even though she has been a member for more than seven months, it was no less striking to see her in the elegantly tapered jacket that for eight decades had been worn only by men.
She slipped away without taking questions, which is not unusual. Members don’t typically give interviews during the week of the Masters.
Mickelson couldn’t stop talking about her _ especially her putting.
They played a $10 game in which they rotated partners every six holes, and it ended on a big note _ Rice made what Mickelson described as a 40-foot putt with about 18 feet of break on the final hole. That gave her a net birdie.
“Perfect pace,” Mickelson said. “Her speed, touch, being able to read the greens. She one of the better members on the greens that I’ve seen.”
Sunday before the Masters is the last day members have the same access to the course as the players, and they occasionally play in the same group. Tiger Woods teed off with Steve Stricker and U.S. Amateur Public Links champion T.J. Vogel as Rice was finishing.
She walked over to the first tee to greet Woods, and they spent a few minutes chatting before Woods teed off. Woods spent two years at Stanford. Rice became the first black woman to be a Stanford provost in 1993, and she now is a professor of political economy at Stanford’s Graduate School of Business. She’s also one of the Cardinal’s biggest sports fans, along with being a member of the U.S. Golf Association’s nominating committee.
This day was just about golf _ except for Mickelson’s inquiring mind. Lefty was asked if their round ever reached a point that he hounded Rice with too many questions. Mickelson laughed and said, “She kept asking me about the golf course, and I kept asking her about countries.”
“It was really fun,” he said. “And she can really putt.”