Adam Schupak – GolfWeek
AUGUSTA, Ga. – The wait is over for Sam Kouvaris to be honored at the Masters.
In early 2020, Kouvaris received a letter in the mail from Augusta National Golf Club Chairman Fred Ridley congratulating him on his upcoming coverage of his 40th Masters and notifying him that he would be honored with the Masters Major Achievement Award in April. But then the global pandemic postponed the Masters until November and canceled the Golf Writers Association of America Annual Awards Dinner, where the award is traditionally presented, for not one but two years.
On Wednesday evening at the Savannah Rapids Pavilion, Kouvaris, 66, was one of five honored with a plaque for reaching this milestone achieved by just 31 members of the press corps.
“Your vivid descriptions, accurate reporting and heartfelt love of golf and the individuals who play the game will serve as an inspiration for all time. These accounts from Augusta National have helped make the Masters one of the great sporting traditions in the world,” are the words inscribed on a permanent plaque in the Masters media center with a roll call of this exclusive club.
2022 Masters Tournament
Kouvaris also received his own parking spot in the press lot at Augusta National.
“A friend of mine texted me a picture of my sign on Sunday and told me I’m in the front row,” he said.
Kouvaris covered his first Masters in 1979 at age 23 when he was working for Channel 2 in Charleston, South Carolina, and his credential followed him to Jacksonville when he joined WJXT-Channel 4. He missed the tournament once in 1982, but for good reason – his oldest daughter was born during the final round. Instead, Kouvaris watched the broadcast on a small black-and-white TV in the hospital. He covered his 40th Masters in 2020 for the Florida Times Union.
“The first one was pretty special,” Kouvaris said of seeing first-time participant Fuzzy Zoeller win in a playoff. “I was standing behind the green at 18 when Jack Nicklaus won in 1986. One year I was standing with a friend at 13 and he asked me, ‘Where should I propose to my fiancée?’ I said, ‘Right here.’ He brought her over and dropped to one knee and proposed to her right there. It turned out to be David Duval’s sister.”