A.M. ATL: ️⛳️ Mastering the Masters

Plus: Trump’s visit, inflation, Sly Stallone
A young golf fan looks at a Masters flag after she received autographs Wednesday.

Credit: Jason Getz/AJC

Credit: Jason Getz/AJC

A young golf fan looks at a Masters flag after she received autographs Wednesday.

Morning, y’all! Hope you made it through last night’s storms all right. Expect the rain to continue off and on throughout the day, with high temperatures around 70 degrees.

Today’s newsletter discusses former President Donald Trump’s visit to Atlanta, a not-so-great inflation report and questions about the Fulton County sheriff’s American Express Black Card. Plus: local allegations of Sylvester Stallone acting out on set.

But first: Let’s go golfing.

***

NAVIGATING TRADITION

Patrons at Augusta National walk around a sign posting directions to famous areas of interest.

Credit: Jason Getz/AJC

icon to expand image

Credit: Jason Getz/AJC

The Masters tees off today at Augusta National Golf Club (though it’s unclear exactly when, with weather postponing tee times until at least 9 a.m.). It’s a tradition unlike any other and folks around these parts get especially geeked up.

Even if you don’t follow golf, the odds are someone in your life’s gonna bring it up this week — so indulge me while I walk you through the basics. Fans may learn something new, too.

Why it’s always at Augusta National: There are four “major” golf tournaments each year. Three of them rotate among different courses. But the Masters is always here. Why?

  • Bobby Jones created the tournament and helped design Augusta National back in the 1930s. The latter owns the former, so they ain’t gonna hold it anywhere else.
  • Jones, a lawyer from Atlanta, also happened to dominate golf during the 1920s. He’s buried at Oakland Cemetery, where folks still leave golf balls on his grave.

» HUMMER: A very short list of what the Masters doesn’t do right

» PHOTOS: Augusta azaleas in full bloom

The history: Even setting aside the picturesque azaleas and magnolias, much of the Masters’ allure is about tradition. They still don’t allow cellphones in and fans (they call them “patrons”) must abide by strict conduct rules. Want a pimento cheese sandwich? Still $1.50.

Like many American institutions, some of Augusta National’s history is also unpleasant.

  • No Black golfer competed in the Masters until 1975, and the club had no Black members until 1990. The first women weren’t permitted to join until 2012.

The green jacket: Masters winners get an emerald green-ish sports coat. Lore has it Jones and crew were inspired by a British golf club that gave members red jackets.

Dustin Johnson and Max Homa walk over the Nelson Bridge on the 13th hole.

Credit: Jason Getz/AJC

icon to expand image

Credit: Jason Getz/AJC

What is Amen Corner? This oft-used term refers, roughly, to holes 11, 12 and 13 (the first two being among the hardest on the course). The trees and azaleas and stone bridges over Rae’s Creek have hosted plenty of make-or-break moments over the years.

  • A Sports Illustrated writer dreamed up the name in 1958.

This year’s favorite: A 27-year-old Texan named Scottie Scheffler is the top-ranked player in the world and the betting favorite to win this week. He won his first green jacket in 2022.

Now. Are you feeling up to speed? Keep it going throughout the tournament. Follow along with our seven-person reporting and photo crew right here.

Keep scrolling for more news.

***

TRUMP IN ATL

Former President Donald Trump greets supporters after arriving at Hartsfield-Jackson International Airport.

Credit: Natrice Miller/AJC

icon to expand image

Credit: Natrice Miller/AJC

During his Wednesday visit to Atlanta, former President Donald Trump told reporters that Arizona’s near-total abortion ban goes too far. But he balked at providing specifics on what level of abortion restrictions he would support.

  • Attendees at a subsequent private fundraiser in Buckhead told the AJC that Trump renewed promises for tougher immigration restrictions at the U.S. border and reiterated his support for Israel.

***

A SHERIFF WITH A BLACK CARD

An investigation into the spending of Fulton Sheriff Patrick Labat identified several “high-risk activities” and raised fresh concerns about the county’s oversight of his office’s contracts.

Among the potential issues: Labat’s reported use of an American Express Black Card, which has unlimited purchasing ability with limited checks and balances.

» Another Fulton County inmate dies in custody

***

HOUSING HURDLES

A home for sale in Acworth.

Credit: AP

icon to expand image

Credit: AP

Metro Atlanta’s housing market saw a 20% jump in sales last month. More houses were listed, too. That’s the (relatively) good news.

  • The bad news? New analysis by Florida researchers dubbed Atlanta the most overpriced housing market in the country. And a Wall Street watchdog says Georgia is the state most at-risk for big disruptions from private equity investments.

***

INFLATION ANGST

Gas and rent prices helped keep consumer inflation high last month, according to a new government report. That raises questions about when — and whether — the Federal Reserve will cut interest rates this years.

***

MISSING HOSTAGES

Sources told several news outlets that Hamas may not have enough hostages to meet the criteria of a proposed cease-fire deal with Israel.

***

SPORTS HIGHLIGHTS

» Rain nixed the Braves’ game against the Mets last night. That one will be made up in September, but the two teams play again today (12:20 p.m. on Bally Sports South).

» Trae Young returned from injury but the Hawks couldn’t hang on against the Hornets, losing 115-114.

***

CELEB WATCH

Sylvester Stallone in the Paramount+ series "Tulsa King."

Credit: Courtesy photo

icon to expand image

Credit: Courtesy photo

» A local casting agency says it stopped providing extras for the Paramount+ TV series “Tulsa King,” which is shooting in Norcross. They accused Star Sylvester Stallone of demeaning background actors, an allegation he denied.

» Atlanta’s Tyler Perry remains a billionaire, according to Forbes. The total reported fortune: $1.4 billion.

***

VEGAN ADVENTURES

More from the AJC’s spring dining guide, which covers everything you need to know about metro Atlanta’s vegan and vegetarian culinary scene: A map of 30 vegan restaurants ready for you to try.

***

MORE TO EXPLORE

» Ossoff urges officials to deny permits for mine near Okefenokee

» Georgia joins GOP states’ lawsuit over student debt relief plan

» Atlanta bishop nominated to run the Episcopal Church

» 5 upcoming Black culture events to attend

» Aerosmith’s make-up Atlanta concert set for October

***

ON THIS DATE

April 11, 1968

Just a week after Martin Luther King Jr.’s assassination, the U.S. House passed the Civil Rights Act of 1968. Nary a Georgia representative supported the measure, which President Lyndon B. Johnson signed into law later the same day.

The Atlanta Constitution front page April 11, 1968.

Credit: File photo

icon to expand image

Credit: File photo

***

PHOTO OF THE DAY

ajc.com

Credit: Ryan Fleisher for the AJC

icon to expand image

Credit: Ryan Fleisher for the AJC

AJC contributor Ryan Fleisher captured rapper Offset, former member of the group Migos, performed for a packed house at the Coca-Cola Roxy in Cobb County. The metro Atlanta native launched his first solo tour.

***

ONE MORE THING

With apologies for offering up another publication’s paywall, you should know that at least one New York City council member has an idea for the next frontier in the fight against rats: birth control. Deploying “salty pellets that sterilize both male and female rats,” to be precise.

“We believe that we need to take a shock-and-awe approach to the rat problem by throwing everything we have at it,” the council member said.

***

Thanks for reading to the very bottom of A.M. ATL. Questions, comments, ideas? Contact me at tyler.estep@ajc.com.

Until next time.