As Tiger Woods and company begin final preparations for the 72nd Masters, something is missing from its tradition-rich atmosphere: a certain Oklahoma flavor. It has been absent since Charles R. Coe passed away in 2001.
While his spirit lives on within the rolling, tree-lined landscape ” where he once finished tied for second with Arnold Palmer, just one shot behind Gary Player ” his dashing smile and agreeable demeanor will be noticeably absent.
Coe would sit in his regular chair on the first tee box, hanging out with longtime friend Phil Harrison and watching golf’s greatest players do their best to handle the pressures of Augusta National. It was one of the simple pleasures that kept enticing Coe back to the Masters long after his time as a competitor on golf’s greatest stage had passed.
“Our trip to Augusta every year was the high point of Charlie’s spring. He loved going back every year. He wouldn’t have missed it,” said Elizabeth Coe, his wife of 52 years.
From the moment he first laid eyes on Augusta National in 1949, the historic old course on Magnolia Lane became Coe’s home away from home. He teed it up in the Masters 19 times ” all as an amateur. In the process, the Ardmore native and two-time U.S. Amateur champion rewrote the chapter of the event’s record book dedicated to non-professional participants. His final Masters appearance came in 1971, and he retired from competitive golf a few years later.
He is missed. “Jay C. Upchurch