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Volume 25 No. 153
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Weekend Plans With ESPN "SportsCenter" Host Sage Steele

Steele credits both Strange (r) and Andy North for making her feel welcome at Augusta
Photo: Espn images

Augusta National is a special place, and that is not lost on someone who has covered the World Series, Super Bowls and NBA Finals. ESPN’s SAGE STEELE has been at The Masters all week hosting “SPORTSCENTER” from the course. It is her third year doing this, but the goosebumps have never quite gone away. Steele: “I don’t think I’ll ever get fully-used to coming here. It’s still kind of indescribable for me. There’s nothing else I’ve done in my 23-plus years that compares to this.” Steele caught up with THE DAILY earlier this week to talk about Masters mystique and who she likes on the weekend, while also touching on what it means personally for her to handle the Augusta assignment for Bristol. “We get to cover a lot of things, but I will never lose sight of the fact that The Masters is just another level. As an African-American woman, this matters. It’s not just for me. I take pride in being here and I feel like I’m representing others as well.” 

RELATIONSHIP WITH THE GAME: I’ve always been a fan, never really a player. I watched The Masters for years with my dad when I was a kid, and it’s a different type of athlete you’re covering here versus an NBA Finals or Super Bowl. I haven’t had a chance to become a decent golfer. I have three teenagers, so my life is not my own. But someday when they’re out of the house I will hopefully be able to tackle the playing part.

TEAM PLAYER: I’m so thankful for the relationships that I’ve been able to form here -- ANDY NORTH and CURTIS STRANGE have truly become friends over the years. Andy and I will text each other throughout the year about other sports as well. He’s a huge basketball fan. He’s a Wisconsin guy and I’m an Indiana girl. They both understand what it’s like to walk into a place like this when you’re new and unsure of expectations. I still feel a ton of pressure, and a lot of people wouldn’t take you under their wing like those two have.

LAY OF THE LAND: “SportsCenter” from Augusta wraps up on Friday, but usually I stay and walk the course over the weekend. Last year I had a friend in TIGER WOODS’ group and walked with her all day Saturday. I think it’s really important to get out and see all the holes in person. It gives you a full appreciation and also just makes me better at my job.

BIRTHDAY GIRL: This year my youngest is turning 13 on Saturday. So moving the tournament back the extra week this year killed me! I’m leaving the house we’ve rented here at 3:30am Saturday morning to get a car to Atlanta. Then I’ll catch an 8:00am flight back to Hartford to be there for my daughter’s birthday. It’s probably the only reason why I would leave The Masters! I will be present for her celebration, but make no mistake I’ll have my tablet on. I can always say ‘Guys, mom’s home and she’s on the couch. I’ve gotta watch this.’

WHO YA GOT? I’d love to see RORY MCILROY get it, or JORDAN SPIETH again. But I like BROOKS KOEPKA, that’s who I’m picking. He’s a damn good player who shows up in the majors. He just plays so well under pressure. I’m not picking PATRICK REED due to the difficulty in repeating here. Only three have done it.

OVERALL IMPRESSIONS: I’m hooked for life. Hopefully they keep sending me here for work, but if not it’s okay. I’ll always feel a little extra special just because I got to cover it. Not many people get to say that.

Know of someone you'd like to see featured in Weekend Plans? Shoot an email to tleary@sportsbusinessdaily.com.