AUGUSTA, Ga. (WJBF)– The Masters is ‘a tradition unlike any other.’ That rings especially true for Catherine Luckey-Ivey, who has attended the Masters every year for the majority of her life.
“As a teenager, we’d all come out and you could buy a day ticket for $3 and it was a little button. You’d put on your button and walk in. Just walk right up to the gate and walk in,” Luckey-Ivey said.
She and her friends made a tradition of picnicking while they watched the tournament. Her tray of choice won her the endearing nickname ‘the pecan lady.’
“When we first started coming we sat on blankets on the ground. No ropes, no anything and I would bring praline pecans. Another lady would bring cheese biscuits, somebody else would bring pimento cheese sandwiches. This was before they had concessions even,” Luckey-Ivey said.
Decades ago, she claimed a spot at hole number nine.
“I’ve been coming to the Masters longer than I’ve been sitting on number nine, but I’ve sat on number nine for 55 years,” Luckey-Ivey said.
Over those 55 years, she’s become quite the celebrity to golfers and patrons.
“People come up all the time that say , ‘do you remember me, do you remember me?’ And I have lots of people that sit beside me,” Luckey-Ivey said.
She says she has the best seat in the house, and she doesn’t plan on giving it up any time soon.
“To get my chair in that corner I have to get up at six o’clock in the morning at my age and run up the hill with two chairs to put down. It’s quite a feat, but it’s worth it,” Luckey-Ivey said.
She’s says things have changed over the years, but she describes those changes as marvelous.
“Starting First Tee, having the Drive, Chip & Putt. Having the Women’s Amateur tournament here for women. They’re just so altruistic. Everything they do is for our nation and our state and our city and it’s just marvelous,” Luckey-Ivey said.
This year marks ten years since Augusta National first welcomed women members.
“I can remember when Condoleezza Rice got in. She’s just such a marvelous woman to begin with. They’re all so altruistic. I don’t think a member can get in unless they have a heart to give. I think that’s part of the way they get their membership. What all they’ve done is just wonderful,” Luckey-Ivey said.
Luckey-Ivey wears her badges from years past on her hat and she says her favorite badges are from the years her children worked as runners for the press secretary.
Her all time favorite winner of the green jacket is Arnold Palmer. She says his kindness toward her and other patrons made a lasting impression on her.