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It’s an assignment like no other: the Masters

SportsCenter anchors explain why reporting from Augusta remains unique

(L-R) Michael Eaves, analyst Andy North, six-time Masters winner Jack Nicklaus and analyst Curtis Strange on Thursday’s SportsCenter at the Masters.

AUGUSTA, Ga. – SportsCenter has had an increased presence this year during the Masters Tournament at Augusta National Golf Club and that’s just fine with anchors Michael Eaves, Sage Steele and Matt Barrie.

“This is by far my favorite week of the year on the sports calendar and to be able to come here and be part of it for ESPN is really a dream come true,” said Eaves, who made his first trip to Augusta National last year.

“Augusta National is not just one of the hallowed grounds in all of golf, it’s actually that in all of sports. I’ve watched this tournament since I was a little kid with my dad.”

Sage Steele and analyst Curtis Strange on the indoors SportsCenter set at the Masters.

Like Eaves, Steele also made her first trip to the Masters last year. She’s been anchoring early morning reports from the site as part of SportsCenter:AM, the program she co-anchors four days a week with Randy Scott and Jay Harris.

“Thankfully they brought me back,” she said. “I’ve covered Super Bowls, World Series, Stanley Cup Finals, Final Fours – there really is nothing like it. I didn’t believe it until I got here and it is the truth. What an honor it is to be back here – something professionally I will honestly never, ever forget.”

Barrie, who covered the Masters more than a decade ago while a sports anchor in nearby Columbia, S.C., counts golf and college football as his two favorite sports.

“I love college football season but for me, the Masters means that spring is here, the official start of the golf season,” he said. “It’s easily the best assignment that I get at ESPN – to come out here to Augusta National every year, see the golf, be a part of the first major championship of the year. And by the way Tiger’s [Woods] playing in this one and that just makes this assignment even better.”

SportsCenter coverage from The Masters will continue all weekend.

Matt Barrie and analyst Curtis Strange on the ESPN set adjacent to the Augusta National practice range.