Posted April 9, 2016, 11:21 pm
Couple found love on the fairway in 1963
Fifty-three years together. Six children. Seventeen grandchildren.
For Oggie and Mary Murphy Tabb, their journey officially began April 4, 1963, along the 13th fairway at Augusta National Golf Club.
“I had been trying to date him since September,” said Mary, who was told about Oggie by a family friend. “Well, Oggie finally called the night before the 1963 Masters and asked me out. During that call he asked if I'd be at the tournament, and since I said yes, he suggested we meet on 13.”
As a 16-year-old junior at the Academy of Richmond County, Oggie had been hired by CBS as a runner for the Masters Tournament. He would report each player’s score for No. 13 to a Fort Gordon soldier, who then delivered it to an official via walkie-talkie.
About 3 p.m. that fateful day, Mary – a sophomore at Richmond Academy – and friend Carole Morris Wright left their spot on No. 16 and made the trek to Amen Corner.
“I was walking along the fairway and happened to turn around,” Oggie recalled. “When I turned, Mary and Carole were walking toward me. We both smiled, chatted for a second, but I had no idea we were starting something big. Before Mary came along, I spent most Fridays at the pool hall.”
Oggie picked Mary up at 7:30 that evening, and the two went to a movie at the Miller Theater in downtown Augusta.
The two haven’t forgotten where it all began, as a painting of the 13th green hangs above their fireplace in Marietta, Ga. Mary also saved her 1963 tournament badge as a reminder of what she calls “the week that changed my life.”
Each April, the Tabbs return to Augusta to re-create their introduction. Just like 1963, Oggie walks along the 13th fairway and Mary comes from behind to say hello.
They hug. They talk. They gaze at Amen Corner.
“Just like we’re 16 and 15 again,” said Oggie, who spent his career working for Coca-Cola. “We re-create that moment every Thursday at 3 p.m. I promise you, it never gets old.”
More recently, a number of couples have become engaged at the Masters Tournament. At Monday’s practice round in 2015, Taylor Lamb, the sports information director at Augusta University, popped the question to longtime girlfriend Alyson Dukes between the No. 12 tee and the 13th fairway.
Lamb had purchased the ring four-months earlier but knew all along he wanted to wait until Masters Week.
“I didn’t have a Plan B,” Lamb said. “I always liked the idea of a public engagement, but nothing too extreme like doing it on a Jumbotron. You know, that’s what made the Masters great. All the patrons just politely clapped and truly made the moment perfect.”
A year later, Lamb and Dukes are married, and pictures of Amen Corner are framed throughout their Augusta home.
“We probably have 10 photos of our engagement inside our home,” said Lamb, laughing. “They’re everywhere. I first attended the Masters (in 2011) and all I heard about was how spectacular Amen Corner was. So, yeah, to get engaged there was an unforgettable experience. It truly was perfect.”
In 2010, Michael Watson, the son of two-time Masters winner Tom Watson, was playing a practice round with his father when they arrived at No. 13. After hitting his tee shot, Michael proposed to girlfriend Beth Lindquist as they walked into the woods near Rae's Creek. Michael caddied for his father that year, helping him to a tie for 18th, his best finish since 1997.
In 2012, Athens, Ga., native and former Augusta State golfer Keith Guest popped the question to Laura Beth Branan near the No. 1 fairway. Branan, of Macon, Ga., started crying as patrons clapped.
“I knew I was going to marry him, but I wasn’t expecting it. Not today,” she told The Augusta Chronicle afterward.
The two were married in October 2012 and have a 1-year-old son named Hayward.
“I know it sounds cliché, but we’re just best friends,” Guest said the day of their engagement. “How many people would you want to spend the entire day with at the Masters? I could have gone with guy friends, but I wanted it to be with her.”