Each year, millions of people around the world eagerly wait for the first week of April to roll around for the first men's major golf championship. The Masters tournament is one of the most recognizable event in the game of golf. Whilst covering the 1986 Masters tournament, golf commentator, Jim Nantz, coined the phrase "A Tradition Unlike Any Other" that has now become a direct reference to the tournament.
The Augusta National Golf Club continued its efforts to promote diversity, equity and inclusion in 2018 when Augusta National Chairman, Fred Ridley, announced a new championship would take place on the famed course. The inaugural Augusta National Women's Amateur- (ANWA) was played in 2019.
There have been many AJGA and ANWA overlapping players since the inaugural event. Three out of the four champions are either current or past AJGA players. In 2023, 48 of the 72 player field were current or past AJGA members. Aside from the players, the AJGA has been asked annually to send staff members to assist with various roles at the event. This year, Libby Burroughs, Regional Manager of the West, and Riley Corona, Tournament Manager, served as two rules officials at the tournament.
Libby and Riley reflect on their week at ANWA below.
How did it feel to play a role in the Augusta Women's Amateur?
Libby Burroughs: "It was such an honor to play a small part in such a prestigious event. It was truly a once-in-a-lifetime opportunity to be associated with an event that’s put on by Augusta National."
Riley Corona: "At Augusta National, they have a saying: “We do things different here.” From the very first moment we arrived on site to the minute we drove out of the gates, I could see that saying was true. It was unlike any event I had ever been to, so precise and professional. Being in that environment showed me what it takes to run an event of that caliber and taught me lot about how I can improve in my own profession."
What was it like rules officiating at Augusta National Golf Club?
Libby Burroughs: "It was such a cool experience! It’s always special to be at Augusta National but the opportunity to be inside the ropes for a day and see things from a different perspective is something I will remember for a very long time."
Riley Corona: "It was a dream honestly. It was exactly how you would picture it: pristine, not a blade of grass out of place. When I walked out to my position on No. 2, met the gallery staff, and took my place inside the ropes, it really hit me that I was about to officiate at Augusta National. It was a humbling experience to be part of that legacy."
What was your favorite memory of the week?
Libby Burroughs: "Driving down Magnolia Lane to go to “work” the morning of the final round felt surreal and was definitely a memorable moment."
Riley Corona: "The staff dinners! Every night we would all walk to the clubhouse at Champion’s Retreat and spend a couple hours laughing and talking through the day. The tables rotated every night, and by the end of the week strangers had become friends. It was a very special group to be part of."
What are your biggest takeaways from this opportunity?
Libby Burroughs: "It was super cool to see Augusta National’s genuine investment in women who play golf and women who work in golf. They made an effort to have more females involved on the Rules Committee this year and it provided me a neat opportunity to get to know other females in the industry who work in various roles all over the country."
Riley Corona: "This experience opened my eyes to the impact that one event can have on women’s golf, both amateur and professional. Since its inception, the Augusta National Women’s Amateur has introduced us to incredible talent. From its inaugural matchup between Jennifer Kupcho and Maria Fassi to rising star Rose Zhang, this championship has brought attention to women’s golf in a way that has elevated the game. Giving these young talents a platform before they pursue their professional dreams grants them exposure to potential sponsors and endears the public to them long before they win their first paycheck. Augusta National has built something special here, and I am honored to have been a part of it."