Jaylen Watson and Fanny Sunesson, pose for a photo at the Mayor's Masters Reception April 6. Charmain Z. Brackett/Augusta Good News
Jaylen Watson and Fanny Sunesson, pose for a photo at the Mayor's Masters Reception April 6. Charmain Z. Brackett/Augusta Good News

Mayor’s Masters Reception 2024 honors hometown heroes and legendary caddie

Augusta kicked off the week of the Masters with a downtown celebration at the Augusta Common April 6.

Food trucks, bands and children’s activities were part of the line up that also included a time to honor others for their achievements.

For some, those achievements came in the sports arena.

Jaylen Watson, a graduate of Lucy Laney High School who plays cornerback for the Kansas City Chiefs, was among the honorees at the Mayor’s Masters Reception April 6. Charmain Z. Brackett/Augusta Good News

Fanny Sunesson, who caddied more than 750 tournaments and was Nick Faldo’s caddie from 1990 to 1999, received a key to the city she calls her “home away from home.”

“The first time I came here was in 1990. I fell in love with the place and the people. I’ve felt welcome every time I come back,” said Sunesson, estimated she’s spent a total of a year in Augusta if she added together all the individual visits.

The rest of the honorees had links to the Augusta area.

Jaylen Watson, sporting his massive Super Bowl ring from the Kansas City Chiefs, also received a key to the city and gave a “big thank you” to Augusta for the overwhelming support.

“I can’t reach out to everyone,” said the Lucy C. Laney High School graduate. “I just want to say’ thank you’ and more important – three-peat.”

Most of the honorees were expecting accolades, but it came as a surprise for one.

Mayor Garnett Johnson gave Dr. Joseph Hobbs the community service award.

“You’ve got that surprised look on your face,” said Johnson as Hobbs made his way to the stage. “You didn’t see it coming.”

An Augusta native, Hobbs graduated from T.W Josey High School when it was still segregated. He attended Mercer University on a full scholarship and was one of only seven African Americans accepted into the Medical College of Georgia in 1970, graduating in 1974.

Dr. Joseph Hobbs (center) receives the Mayor’s community service award April 6 at the Augusta Common. Charmain Z. Brackett/Augusta Good News

He was the chair of the Department of Family Medicine at MCG until 1998. He was the voice of medicine on public radio for nearly a decade.

“I’m very, very proud to have had the support of this city,” said Hobbs, who added he was a “little shocked” with the honor.

He said that the award belonged to everyone who touched the lives of the children who “have aspirations to do great things.”

Johnson said the event wasn’t just for the city of Augusta because surrounding communities support and benefit from the annual golf event.

“As you know, this is a collaboration of the region. It includes Augusta; it includes all of Columbia County, it includes North Augusta and Aiken,” he said.

King Size played during the Mayor’s Masters Reception April 6. Charmain Z. Brackett/Augusta Good News

The mayor and officials from the surrounding communities honored several state champion high school sports teams including the North Augusta High School golf team, the Westminster 8-man football team, Westside High School’s three-time state basketball champs, Curtis Baptist’s basketball, Greenbrier’s girls flag football and girls’ golf teams, Harlem’s baseball team. Augusta Christian’s boys basketball and cheer teams and South Aiken’s volleyball team.

Several bands played on the night including King Size who opened the party with tunes highlighting the 70s, 80s and 90s.

The night ended with a fireworks display.

Charmain Z. Brackett, the publisher of Augusta Good News and Inspiring: Women of Augusta, has covered Augusta’s news for more than 35 years. Reach her at charmain@augustagoodnews.com. Sign up for the newsletter here.

Support Local Journalism

Local stories on local people, organizations and events. That's the focus of Augusta Good News, a member of the Georgia Press Association. And you don't have to go through a paywall to find these stories. An independent voice in Augusta, Ga., Augusta Good News is not funded by a billionaire or a large corporation; it doesn't have celebrity reporters who have agents. It's local people who are invested in the community and want to tell its stories. You can support local journalism and help us expand our coverage by becoming a supporter. Through Ko-Fi, you can give once or set up a monthly gift.

Comments are closed.