Sunday, April 1, 2018

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2018 Masters Preview Section

MASTERS 2018

The Augusta Chronicle • augustachronicle.com Sunday, April 1, 2018 M1

Sunday, April 1, 2018

Augusta.com

Greener Days

Garcia's Masters

moment came

after years of

striving, struggle

and doubt

Story, M3

[CHRIS THELEN/THE AUGUSTA CHRONICLE]

INSIDE THIS PREVIEW SECTION

RETURN ENGAGEMENT: Four-time champion

Tiger Woods is back in the field and in the

hunt after a two-year hiatus. M17

NEW LEADER: Career amateur Fred Ridley

is the club's first chairman who competed

in the Masters Tournament. M25

BEAR TRAPS: Six-time Masters champion

Jack Nicklaus offers his tips on the six shots

to avoid at Augusta National. M33


M2 Sunday, April 1, 2018 The Augusta Chronicle • augusta.com

MASTERS 2018

The Masters Tournament field as of March 31, with

each player’s country of origin and how he qualified.

Qualifications are for one year, except where noted.

Players index

Masters Champions (Lifetime)

US Open Champions (five years)

British Open Champions (five years)

PGA Champions (five years)

Winners of The Players Championship (Three years)

US Amateur Champion

US Amateur runner-up

British Amateur Champion

Asia-Pacific Amateur Champion

Latin America Amateur Champion

US Mid-Amateur Champion

Top 12, including ties, in 2017 Masters

Top 4, including ties, in 2017 US Open

Top 4, including ties, in 2017 British Open

Top 4 including ties, in 2017 PGA Championship

Winners of qualifying PGA Tour events since 2017 Masters

Qualifiers for 2017 season-ending Tour Championship

Top 50, final 2017 Official World Golf Ranking

Top 50 week before Masters

# Denotes first Masters *Denotes Amateur **Denotes Invitee Not Playing

World ranking

Page Player Country

M28 Kiradech Aphibarnrat Thailand ● ● 29

29

M28 Daniel Berger United States ● ● ● ● 37

37

M30 # Wesley Bryan United States ● 89

89

M36 Angel Cabrera Argentina ●

M38 Rafael Cabrera-Bello Spain ● ● ● 22

22

M28 Patrick Cantlay United States ● ● ● ● 33

33

M23 Paul Casey England ● ● ● ● ● 13

13

M42 Kevin Chappell United States ● ● ● ● ● 38

38

M42 # Austin Cook United States ● 108

108

M18 Fred Couples United States ●

M39 Jason Day Australia ● ● ● ● ● ● 12

12

M21 Bryson DeChambeau United States ● 64

64

M20 Jason Dufner United States ● ● ● ● ● 49

49

M42 #* Harry Ellis England ●

M42 # Tony Finau United States ● ● ● 34

34

M23 Ross Fisher England ● ● 35

35

M23 Matthew Fitzpatrick England ● ● 36

36

M23 Tommy Fleetwood England ● ● ● 11

11

M20 Rickie Fowler United States ● ● ● ● ● 8

M37 # Dylan Frittelli South Africa ● 47

47

M3 Sergio Garcia Spain ● ● ● ● 9

M42 #* Doug Ghim United States ●

M37 Branden Grace South Africa ● ● 31

31

M36 Adam Hadwin Canada ● ● 42

42

M31 Brian Harman United States ● ● ● ● ● 23

23

M23 Tyrrell Hatton England ● ● 17

17

M31 Russell Henley United States ● ● ● 56

56

M36 Charley Hoffman United States ● ● ● 28

28

M36 Billy Horschel United States ● 86

86

M28 Yuta Ikeda Japan ● 54

54

M37 Trevor Immelman South Africa ●

M20 Dustin Johnson United States ● ● ● ● ● 59

59

M21 Zach Johnson United States ● ● ● 1

M36 Martin Kaymer Germany ● 87

87

M28 SiWoo Kim Korea ● ● ● 50

50

M30 Kevin Kisner United States ● ● ● ● 25

25

M42 # Patton Kizzire United States ● 53

53

M36 # Satoshi Kodaira Japan ● 46

46

M13 ** Brooks Koepka United States ● ● ● ● ● 10

10

M31 Matt Kuchar United States ● ● ● ● ● 20

20

M39 Bernhard Langer Germany ●

M39 Marc Leishman Australia ● ● ● ● 16

16

M28 # Haotong Li China ● ● 41

41

M42 #* Yuxin Lin China ●

M39 Sandy Lyle Scotland ●

M28 Hideki Matsuyama Japan ● ● ● ● ● ● 6

M22 Rory McIlroy Northern Ireland ● ● ● ● ● ● ● 7

M21 Phil Mickelson United States ● ● ● ● ● 18

18

M28 # Yusaku Miyazato Japan ● 57

57

M30 Larry Mize United States ●

M36 Francesco Molinari Italy ● ● ● 27

27

M42 Ryan Moore United States ● 66

66

M42 #* Joaquin Niemann Chile ●

M36 Alex Noren Sweden ● ● 14

14

M18 Mark O’Meara United States ●

M38 Jose Maria Olazabal Spain ●

M37 Louis Oosthuizen South Africa ● ● ● 32

32

M42 #* Matt Parziale United States ●

M28 Pat Perez United States ● ● ● ● 19

19

M38 Thomas Pieters Belgium ● ● ● 45

45

M36 Ted Potter Jr. United States ● 80

80

M38 Jon Rahm Spain ● ● ● ● 3

M42 Chez Reavie United States ● 48

48

M42 #* Doc Redman United States ●

M29 Patrick Reed United States ● ● ● ● 24

24

M22 Justin Rose England ● ● ● ● ● ● 5

M42 # Xander Schauffele United States ● ● ● ● 26

26

M37 Charl Schwartzel South Africa ● ● ● 58

58

M39 Adam Scott Australia ● ● ● 61

61

M36 #^ Shubhankar Sharma India 68

68

M20 Webb Simpson United States ● ● ● 40

40

M36 Vijay Singh Fiji ●

M39 Cameron Smith Australia ● 44

44

M14 Jordan Spieth United States ● ● ● ● ● ● ● ● 4

M28 Kyle Stanley United States ● ● ● ● 43

43

M36 Brendan Steele United States ● ● ● 39

39

M36 Henrik Stenson Sweden ● ● ● ● 15

15

M15 Justin Thomas United States ● ● ● ● ● 2

M38 Jhonattan Vegas Venezuela ● ● ● 52

52

M20 Jimmy Walker United States ● 95

95

M31 Bubba Watson United States ● ● ● 21

21

M36 Mike Weir Canada ●

M38 Bernd Wiesberger Austria ● 55

55

M23 Danny Willett England ● 274

274

M42 Gary Woodland United States ● ● ● 30

30

M17 Tiger Woods United States ● 104

104

M39 Ian Woosnam Wales ●

What’s inside

This section

6M: Defending champion

Sergio Garcia has had a

love-hate relationship

with Augusta National.

Section 2

9M: Angela Akins Garcia

has provided her husband

with a positive outlook.

Section 3

17M: Tiger Woods will

play in the Masters for the

first time since 2015, and

expectations are sky high.

Section 4

25M: Fred Ridley takes over

as Augusta National and

Masters chairman, and will

bring a player’s perspective.

Section 5

33M: Six-time champion

Jack Nicklaus points out

the areas to avoid at

Augusta National.

Section 6

41M: Driving distances

continue to increase, but

will the governing bodies

do anything to stop it?

The Augusta Chronicle • augustachronicle.com Sunday, April 1, 2018 M1

Greener Days

[CHRIS THELEN/THE AUGUSTA CHRONICLE]

INSIDE THIS PREVIEW SECTION

MASTERS 2018

Garcia's Masters

moment came

after years of

striving, struggle

and doubt

Story, M3

Sunday, April 1, 2018 Augusta.com

RETURN ENGAGEMENT: Four-time champion

Tiger Woods is back in the field and in the

hunt after a two-year hiatus. M17

NEW LEADER: Career amateur Fred Ridley

is the club's first chairman who competed

in the Masters Tournament. M25

BEAR TRAPS: Six-time Masters champion

Jack Nicklaus o fers his tips on the six shots

to avoid at Augusta National. M33

The Augusta Chronicle • Augusta.com Sunday, April 1, 2018 M9

MASTERS 2018

By Scott Michaux

Staff Writer

AUSTIN, Texas — Sergio

Garcia insisted he didn’t feel

any di ferent as he sat in the

interview room wearing his

green jacket while trying to

explain how he fina ly got it

after 18 years of pursuit.

“I’m sti l the same guy,”

he said. “I’m sti l the same

goofy guy, so that’s not

going to change.”

That’s not the analysis

that was unfolding in the

clubhouse, where the members

were gathering for the

traditional victory party

Augusta National throws for

the newly minted Masters

champion and his entourage.

Marty and Pamela Akins –

parents of Garcia’s fiancee,

Angela – were sitting at a

table catching their breath

after a long emotional day.

One after another, members

and their spouses kept

approaching them, a l saying

a variation of the exact same

thing.

“They said this is the most

incredible transformation

that they’d seen,” Marty

Akins said. “People just

poured over to us and told us

how different Sergio was. I

told Pamela they a l had seen

what we’d seen. It was like

a miracle to a lot of them.”

The difference tha they

and every other golf fan saw

that Sunday had nothing to

do with golf. Garcia at age

37 is as gifted and ski led a

golfer as he was when he first

came to Augusta at age 19.

Geo f Ogilvy, the 2006 U.S.

Open champion, ca ls Garcia

“the best ba l-striker in the

world for the last 20 years.”

“A l of the guys of my generation

who have played a lot

with Sergio would acknowledge

that fact,” Ogilvy told

Golf Digest’s John Huggan.

“No one has been more consistent

than Sergio. Nobody.

. I’ve seen guys hit it better

than Sergio. But I’ve never

seen anyone so good for so

long.”

A l of that ski l is a testament

to Garcia and his

father, Victor Sr., who has

been the only teacher the

Spaniard has ever known.

But what was different

about Garcia that Sunday

what enabled him to avoid

another collapse when

adversity and bogeys started

piling up around Amen

Corner – came from another

source. It came from three

generations of Texas sporting

aristocracy delivered by

the woman he loved.

“I think when you put

Sergio and Angela together

you’ve got a winning combination,”

said Marty Akins

of the couple who got married

in June. “I know Sergio

was a great golfer before he

met Angela. I know he did

outstanding things before

he met Angela. He’s won

a l over the world. But I was

able to notice that something

happened to him and

he changed in a way that we

measure.”

Garcia doesn’t argue the

point considering the ultimate

measure is a major

championship.

“It’s true,” he said. “She’s

been an amazing influence.”

Family tradition

Akins first met Garcia in

2015 a the Houston Open

in her role as a Golf Channel

reporter, asking him a few

questions after his pro-am

round.

“He was very, very nice,”

she said. “I was so busy

trying to do my job and

I’d just started a the Golf

Channel four months before

that. Honestly I didn’t think

anything of it. I just remember

Sergio always being one

of the nicest guys, not just to

me but a l of the media.”

That was the extent of their

relationship for months,

occasiona ly running into

each other a tournaments

and exchanging pleasantries.

By the end of the year, Garcia

started asking Akins out.

When they started o ficia ly

dating in 2016, she resigned

from Golf Channel.

Garcia had found a kindred

spirit who gets him.

“For me it helps because I

could see that she can understand

me a little bit better

than some other people

might,” Garcia said. “It

made things a little bit easier

to deal with.”

It’s constructive to understand

how Angela Akins

Garcia grew up.

Her grandfather, Ray

Akins, was a Ha l of Fame

high school coach in Texas

who won 302 games in 37

seasons under the Friday

night lights.

Her father, Marty, was an

A l-American quarterback

a the University of Texas,

establishing rushing records

running the wishbone

offense in the mid-1970s

that weren’t surpassed until

Vince Young came along 30

years later. He preceded his

father into the Texas high

school footba l Ha l of Fame.

Her first cousin is Drew

Brees, the former Purdue

A l-American quarterback

who led the New Orleans

Saints to a Super Bowl win

and is less than 1,500 yards

from becoming the NFL’s

career passing leader. His

induction in the Texas high

school footba l Ha l of Fame

in 2011 made them the first

family with three generations

enshrined.

“We are a l highly competitive

no matter what we

do in this family,” said Pam

Akins. “I think Sergio rea ly

likes that and fit right in.”

Angela was a ste lar athlete

at track, basketba l and

golf, eventua ly getting a

scholarship to join the Texas

women’s golf team.

“We always taught her to

expec to win,” her father

said. “There’s a saying in

our family that what you

think and what you believe

is who you are. My dad used

to say that a l the time. So

if you think you’re the best

and believe you’re the best,

you’re going to be the best.

If you think you’re going to

win and believe you’re going

to win, you’re going to win.

She’s grown up with that her

whole life.”

Garcia quickly grew close

to Angela’s father and

grandfather. Ray Akins died

the day after Christmas at

age 92.

“If he was talking to you,

he would be subtly coaching

you and teaching you something,”

Pam Akin said of

her father-in-law. “I think

between Marty and his dad,

their philosophy has had an

impact on Sergio.”

Those lessons are absorbed

every day with Angela in

Garcia’s life.

The

good

wife

Akins put Garcia

on positive path

toward green jacket

Sergio Garcia celebrates with fiancee Angela Akins after his Masters Tournament victory. [ANDREW DAVIS TUCKER/THE AUGUSTA CHRONICLE]

Garcia met Akins when she was a Golf Channel reporter. “She’s an unbelievable woman, very driven

and very competitive,” he said. “So she’s always pushing me to become better not only as a player but

as a person.” [JOHN EVANS/GATEHOUSE MEDIA]

“For me it helps because

I could see that she can

understand me a little bit

better than some other

people might. It made

things a little bit easier to

deal with.”

Sergio Garcia, on his wife,

Angela

See ANGELA, M10

The Augusta Chronicle • Augusta.com Sunday, April 1, 2018 M17

[ANDREW DAVIS TUCKER/THE AUGUSTA CHRONICLE]

By Scott Michaux

Sta f Writer

As the months counted

down to weeks and then

days before the 2016 and

2017 Masters, there was

no word until the very end

about Tiger Woods’ playing

status.

Despite not playing anywhere

else, sidelined with

a bad back that often left

him unable to even get out

of bed much les swing a

golf club, he sti l seemed

to be harboring hopes for a

miracle. It seemed implausible

that Woods was even

considering teeing it up at

Augusta National, bu the

truth is he actua ly was.

“Yeah, I was trying,”

Woods admitted before the

Arnold Palmer Invitational.

“If there was one tournament

I could come back

to, it would be that one.

There’s no other tournament

like it. It has a deep

place in my heart. From

the time I was there as an

amateur to my first win

and to my other wins there

as we l, I just love playing

Augusta National. I was

just hoping I could just

get my back to hold on for

four days. I don’t need the

practice rounds, I can just

walk them and take a look

at them and maybe chip and

putt a little bit. But can it

hold on for four days? And

there was no chance, no.”

If there is a concept of

he l for Tiger Woods, it was

coming to Augusta in April

three of the past four years

without his golf clubs – just

to have dinner. He wouldn’t

miss a meal with his fe low

green jacketed champions

– especia ly walking Arnold

Palmer in with Jack Nicklaus

two years ago because they

a l knew it would likely be

Arnie’s last – but it was

tough to swa low that his

competitive days in the

Masters might be over.

“Frustrating, very frustrating,

because I love

playing Augusta National,”

Woods said. “I love it. And

I know how to play it.

Sometimes I don’t play it

we l, but I know how to play

it. I just love being out there

on those greens and hitting

putts and being creative. It

is . there’s no other golf

course like it in the world

and there’s no other golf

tournament like it. It is

litera ly, it’s a player’s

heaven. And yeah, the last

couple dinners have been

frustrating in that aspect

for sure.”

When Thursday’s first

round arrives, it wi l have

been 1,090 days since the

last time Woods teed it up

in the Masters – finishing

tied for 17th in 2015. Painfree

for the first time in five

years with a game evolving

into a very familiar quality,

Wood smiles a the

thought.

“Very eager, yes, very,”

he said of his long-awaited

return. “I feel like I am physica

ly able to do it again and

it’s going to be a lot of fun.”

Since the end of last

summer when Woods

started posting videos

of his incremental progress

swinging after a

spinal fusion surgery that

he ca led “the last rope”

option, anticipation has

been building for his return

to Augusta. Woods has

referenced pointing his

compass toward Augusta

every week he’s played

since competing in the

Bahamas in December.

There’s been parabolic

progress in his game every

start, with the expectation

growing from just finishing

18 holes healthy to making

the cut to actua ly contending

in quick succession.

He played three times on

the Florida swing and put

himself in the mix every

Sunday, finishing with ties

for 12th, second and fifth at

PGA National, Innisbrook

and Bay Hill.

Tiger Woods lines up a pu t during the final round of the 2015 Masters. He hasn’t played in the

tournament since tying for 17th that year. [ANDREW DAVIS TUCKER/THE AUGUSTA CHRONICLE]

Tiger’s Masters wins

1997

Tiger Woods’ first major

tournament as a professional

didn’t get o f to a smooth

start. Woods played the first

nine holes of the 1997 Masters

in 4-over-par 40, hardly the

beginning he was looking for.

But he righted his ship with

30 on the back nine, including

an eagle on No. 15, and

from that poin the rout was

on. Woods shot 66 and 65 the

nex two rounds as he overpowered

Augusta National

and made believers out of

his critics. A final-round 69

gave him the lowest 72-hole

score in Masters history and

a 12-stroke victory. Only

a handful of golfers, most

notably Jack Nicklaus a the

1965 Masters, had so thoroughly

dominated a course

and a tournament. “My dad

told me last night, ‘Son, this is

probably one of the toughest

rounds you’ve ever had to

play in your life,'” Woods said.

“'If you go out there and be

yourself, it wi l be one of the

most rewarding rounds you’ve

ever played in your life.' And

he was right.”

“ . I love playing Augusta National. I love it. And I know how to play it. Sometimes I don’t play it well,

but I know how to play it. I just love being out there on those greens and hitting putts and being creative.

It is . there’s no other golf course like it in the world and there’s no other golf tournament like it.”

Tiger Woods

Tiger Woods receives his

green jacket from 1996

champion Nick Faldo. [RON

COCKERILLE/THE AUGUSTA

CHRONICLE]

See TIGER, M18

See WINS, M18

Tiger’s

back

At long last, Woods eagerly returns to ‘heaven’

MASTERS 2018

The Augusta Chronicle • Augusta.com Sunday, April 1, 2018 M25

MASTERS 2018

Previous chairmen at Augusta National Golf Club

CLIFFORD ROBERTS

(1931-76): He was the

brains behind most of

what is the Masters

Tournamen today. He

joined with golfer Bobby

Jones to organize the club

and star the invitational

tournament. Innovations

included mounds for

spectators to view play

and bringing television to

the tournament in 1956.

Roberts died of a selfinflicted

gunshot wound

on the grounds of Augusta

National in 1977.

BILL LANE (1977-80): He

served a very short period

of time as chairman. Lane

succeeded Roberts in

1977 but soon became

i l and was hospitalized.

Notable occu rences

during his tenure were

the Par-3 Course being

converted to bentgrass in

preparation for insta lation

on the main course

and the patron badge

waiting list being closed

in 1978. Hord Hardin

became acting chairman

in 1979, and Lane died in

1980.

HORD HARDIN (1980-91):

Changes during his tenure

included the acceptance

of Ron Townsend, the

club’s first black member,

in 1990; the change from

bermuda to slick bentgrass

greens in 1981;

a lowing non-Augusta

National caddies to work

the Masters beginning in

1983; and the reinstatement

of honorary starters,

featuring Gene Sarazen,

Byron Nelson and Sam

Snead, in 1981. He died in

1996.

JACK STEPHENS (1991-

98): Under his watch,

limitations on practiceround

tickets were

instituted and an agreement

was reached to use

Augusta National as the

venue for golf in the 1996

Olympic Games. The plan

was late rejected by the

IOC when Atlanta Mayor

Bi l Campbell was critical

of the lack of minorities

on the Augusta National

membership ro l. He died

in 2005.

HOOTIE JOHNSON

(1998-2006): To combat

advances in technology,

he oversaw several

changes to the golf course

that stretched the layout

to 7,445 yards. He also

made headlines fo refusing

to give in to activist

Martha Burk, who urged

the club to admit women

as members. Johnson

also made changes to the

qualification system for

the Masters and instituted

18-hole television coverage

of the tournament. He

died in July.

BILLY PAYNE (2006-

2017): He welcomed the

first female members at

Augusta National Golf Club,

Condoleezza Rice and Darla

Moore, in 2012. He sought

new ways to grow golf and

did so by joining forces with

golf’s governing bodies to

create the Drive, Chip and

Pu t Championship for

children ages 7-15. Under

his watch, Augusta National

and the game’s ruling

bodies also created two new

amateur tournaments, the

Asia-Pacific Amateur and

Latin America Amateur.

By John Boyette

Sports Editor

Fred Ridley can vividly

reca l the moment he realized

that remaining an

amateur golfer was the right

decision.

It was during the first

round of the 1976 Masters

Tournament. Ridley, the

reigning U.S. Amateur

champion, was in the traditional

pairing at Augusta

National Golf Club with

defending champion Jack

Nicklaus.

Ridley had held his own

with the Golden Bear, a

five-time Masters winner,

early on. But when they

exchanged handshakes on

the 18th green, Nicklaus

had shot 5-under-par 67 and

Ridley had carded 5-over 77.

His ah-ha moment?

“It might have been when

I walked off the ninth tee

with Jack Nicklaus in the

first round of the Masters,

tied wit him at 1-under,

and he beat me by 10 shots,”

Ridley said with a laugh.

“That might have been one

of them.”

For Ridley, who was

elected chairman of Augusta

National and the Masters

last summer, it was another

affirmation that he had

made the right choice. And

in the four decades since, the

career amateur has enjoyed

the gentleman’s game withou

the rigors of chasing a

professional career. He is the

first chairman to have played

in the Masters.

He remains the last U.S.

Amateur champion who

didn’t turn professional.

Instead he chose to pursue

a career in law, and both of

those decisions no doubt

would have pleased Augusta

National co-founder Bobby

Jones. He, too, practiced

law after his bri liant playing

career was over.

“Not to say anything

against the golfing abilities

of other chairmen,

but you’ve got an amateur

champion that is chairing the

Masters Tournamen that

was founded by golf’s greatest

amateur champion,” said

Bob Jones IV, the grandson

of Jones. “That’s just poetry.

You just don’t get better

than that.”

Ridley doesn’t look back

on what could have been.

He knows he made the right

choice.

“I kind of had an inkling

when I was a young guy, as

a teenager, that I probably

was not going to be a golf

professional,” Ridley said.

“So I did read a lot about

[Jones]. I think what struck

me even more than his

amazing playing record was

the way he lived his life and

the integrity, character and

sportsmanship associated

with his persona. That was

very inspiring to me.”

Finding his game

It’s ironic that Ridley

now presides over one of

the game’s most private

and exclusive clubs. Born in

Lakeland, Fla., and raised in

Winter Haven, he grew up

playing municipal courses.

The youngster had enough

talen to earn a spot on the

University of Florida golf

team in the early 1970s,

but his game didn’t flourish

there. The Gators won an

NCAA championship in 1973

with a powerfu lineup that

included Andy Bean, Gary

Koch, Woody Blackburn

and Phil Hancock, but Ridley

didn’t crack the starting

lineup for the championship

tournament.

“My co lege golf was very

mediocre,” he said.

Lessons from Jack Grout,

Nicklaus’ longtime instructor,

helped Ridley become

a better driver in 1974, his

senior year at Florida.

“I had a good short game,

and the thing he did was he

made me a good driver of the

ba l,” Ridley said. “That was

always my Achi les’ heel.”

Ridley enjoyed some success

on the national amateur

circuit leading into the 1975

U.S. Amateur in Richmond,

Va., but he was hardly

among the favorites after

earning the last spot in the

qualifier in Jacksonvi le,

Fla. As a pure match play

even then, Ridley had to

win eight matches to claim

the championship.

After winning his first four

matches, Ridley came upon

one of the pre-tournament

favorites: Curtis Strange.

Not only was Strange a local

favorite, but he was also

one of the top players and

the 1974 NCAA individual

champion.

“It was one of those times

I played we l and he didn’t

quite play his best, and I won

2 and 1,” Ridley said.

In the quarterfinals,

Ridley met Jack Veghte,

who was accomplished on

the Florida amateur scene.

If he won that, Ridley would

earn a berth in the Masters

because semifinalists were

sti l invited to Augusta.

“I can remember on the

18th hole I had a 3-foot putt

to win the match,” Ridley

said. “I wasn’t thinking

about getting to the semifinals;

a l I was thinking is if I

make this putt I get to go to

the Masters. And I missed

it.”

Ridley did recover to win

the match on the first extra

hole, but an even bigger

opponent, litera ly and figuratively,

was up next: his

Florida teammate, Andy

Bean.

In the semifinal match,

Ridley held on to beat his

more accomplished friend

2 and 1.

“Andy’s a real big guy

now, pre ty big then, I’m 6-2

and he’s 6-4, and he picked

me up by my co lar and lifted

me up,” Ridley said. “I can’t

repeat exactly what he said,

but he said you’d better win

tomorrow.”

In the 36-hole finale,

Ridley faced Keith Fergus of

the University of Houston.

“I think I was 6 up early

in the afternoon, and I

started thinking about what

was going to happen, and

we wen to the 36th hole,”

Ridley said. “I won the hole

to win 2 up. I think I had 69

in the morning but it wasn’t

very pretty in the afternoon.

Great memories, and fun to

reminisce.”

The victory put Ridley’s

name on the Havemeyer

Trophy, the same one his

idol Jones won a record five

times.

Strange won 17 times,

including back-to-back

U.S. Opens, in his Ha l of

Fame career. Bean earned 11

PGA Tour wins, and Fergus

went on to win a combined

six times on the PGA

and Champions tours. Yet

despite getting pas those

players, Ridley had a hunch

that he wasn’t cut out to be a

professional. He was already

enro led in law school at

Stetson University.

Masters moment

The decision to remain

amateur put Ridley on a path

that eventua ly led him to the

chairmanship of Augusta

National.

He didn’t qui the game

cold turkey while studying

law. He sti l found time to

play in the Walker Cup and

other amateur events he had

earned invitations to thanks

to being a U.S. Amateur

champion.

“My father, and the dean

of the law school, a lowed

me to take a semester off,”

Ridley said. “I played a lot

of golf, which was the best

thing that happened to me,

because I rea ly confirmed

that I don’t want to play

professiona ly. I realized

how hard it was. I went back

to law school that fa l rea ly

kind of thinking I don’t want

to do this.”

In an era when more amateurs

were invited to play

in the Masters, Ridley did

so three consecutive years,

from 1976-78. He never

made the cut, but he earned

a lifetime of memories.

He stayed in the Crow’s

Nest, the perch at the top of

the clubhouse reserved for

amateurs. He played with

Sam Snead. And he met

Cli ford Roberts.

Amateur standing

Augusta National Golf Club and Masters Tournament Chairman Fred Ridley. [AUGUSTA NATIONAL GOLF CLUB HANDOUT]

See RIDLEY, M26

The Augusta Chronicle • Augusta.com Sunday, April 1, 2018 M33

MASTERS 2018

By John Boyette

Sports Editor

The Usual Suspects.

That’s what Jack Nicklaus ca ls the

half-a-dozen shots that pose trouble

at Augusta National Golf Club.

Nicklaus, a six-time Masters

Tournament winner, is often asked

for advice by first-time participants

or younger players on how best to play

Augusta National.

“When these guys come to me and ask

me about the tournament, basica ly I te l

them that there’s half-a-dozen shots on

this golf course that you can put yourself

out of the tournament,” he said. “Those

half-a-dozen shots, think about what

you’re doing on them.

“If you’ve got a 50-50 chance of doing

it, I certainly wouldn’t be doing it. If

you’ve got a 90-10 chance, then I’m going

to think real hard about it. And you try to

make sure you eliminate the 10 (percent).”

Nicklaus has enjoyed more success at

Augusta National than any other golfer,

but he didn’t heed his own advice in

1971. Thinking he needed an eagle in

the final round to catch eventual winner

Charles Coody, Nicklaus went for it at

the par-5 15th. He faced a shot in excess

of 250 yards to the sma l green guarded

by water, and his 3-wood shot came up

short and found the water. He dumped

his next shot in the water and walked o f

with a triple-bogey 8.

Twenty-five years ago, Chip Beck

faced a similar situation. He needed a

good score to catch Bernhard Langer

but chose to lay up at the 15th and was

heavily criticized.

“I think Chip Beck’s decision was a

very good decision for him,” Nicklaus

said. “He didn’t put himself out of the

tournament. I put myself out of the

tournament with that shot.

“You shouldn’t have one shot put you

out of the tournament. That’s not playing

smart.”

The six trouble shots Nicklaus

describes are where water comes into

play at Augusta National. The lone

exception is the par-3 16th, where water

runs the length of the hole on the left.

“I don’t think I’ve ever hit it in the

water at 16,” Nicklaus said. “That’s

about it. Those are the ones you can

make a big number on.”

With information taken from interviews

and his descriptions in the

Masters Journal, Nicklaus identifies the

six trouble shots.

The usual suspects

Six-time champion Nicklaus describes

trouble shots at Augusta National

Online

Audio: Listen to Jack Nicklaus

describe the trouble shots at Augusta

National at augusta.com.

TEE SHOT AT NO. 2

You don’t want to be down there a the

airline booth (left o fairway, where a

sma l stream is located). You could go

down there and find a lie down there

that you could play. And then you try to

play out and you hit another tree and

all of a sudden you’re half done. I see a

lot of guys walk out of there with 8 and

say I should have had 4 here. Now you’re

si ting behind the 8-ba l.

TEE SHOT AT NO. 13

Off the tee, I aim a the last two trees at

the top of the fairway and draw the ba l.

SECOND SHOT AT NO. 13

I play for the center of the green on my

second shot and never fiddle around

with a flag tucked back left.

SECOND SHOT AT NO. 15

Nicklaus said he doesn’t like playing

a wood into that green for his second

shot. If he did lay up, he acknowledged

tha the third shot from a downhi lie

can be difficult. “It’s not a very easy

shot, but it’s better than playing out of

the water.”

BONUS ADVICE

Nicklaus also te ls players how to

maximize their birdie chances on the

greens. “Te l me where you’ve got a bad

pu t from the center of these greens?

Every single hole, maybe second hole

is a li tle awkward, but outside of that

every single hole in the middle of these

greens you’ve got a pre ty darn good

chance for birdie,” Nicklaus said. “That’s

the way you play this golf course. If you

use your head to play this golf course, it

shouldn’t be tough.”

Jack Nicklaus tees o f on the 12th hole during second-round play of the 2005 Masters a the Augusta National Golf Club in Augusta. [DAVID J. PHILLIP/THE ASSOCIATED PRESS]

Jack Nicklaus casts a long shadow as he boots home a birdie putt on the 11th

hole during a playoff round of the Masters tournament April 11, 1966, at Augusta.

[ASSOCIATED PRESS FILE PHOTO]

Jack Nicklaus waves

to the gallery on

the 8th hole during

the 2005 Masters.

[AMY SANCETTA/THE

ASSOCIATED PRESS]

TEE SHOT AT NO. 12

The key is to aim at the center of the

front bunker and choose a club that

wi l ge the ball just over that spot.

If the flagstick is right, I shoot a the

right side of the bunker. If it’s left, I

shoot a the left side of the bunker.

SECOND SHOT

AT NO. 11

The water on the left

is an obvious no-no,

so it has been a green

where I’ve always

aimed for the front

right. You have to be

rea ly careful here or

you’ l walk away with

a big number.

The Augusta Chronicle • Augusta.com Sunday, April 1, 2018 M41

MASTERS 2018

By John Boyette

Sports Editor

Ba l go far.

That advertising campaign

for a golf ba l manufacturer

could sum up the state of golf

now.

Professionals are hitting

the ba l farther than ever.

Recreational players are taking

advantage of the benefits of

technology to increase their

enjoyment of the game.

Take Fred Ridley, for example.

The new chairman of

Augusta National Golf Club

and the Masters Tournament,

now 65, admits he is hi ting the

ba l longer than he did decades

ago when he was one of the top

amateurs in the game.

For nearly two decades,

gains in driving distance

have been a much-debated

topic. The USGA and R&A,

the game’s governing bodies,

began issuing an annual “distance

report” in 2015 and

found that increases in driving

distance since 2003 were “a

slow creep of around 0.2 yards

per year.”

In early March, the 2017

report showed “the average

distance gain across the seven

worldwide tours was more

than three yards since 2016.”

That, the USGA and R&A

said, “is unusual and concerning.”

Any further significant

increases would be undesirable,

they said, but no

timetable for action has been

set.

The Masters fo lows the

guidelines set by the governing

bodies, but the idea of

requiring participants to play a

“Masters ba l” has been floated

before.

“I think it would be difficult,

frankly, to have a golf

ba l for one tournament, but I

wouldn’t rule anything out,”

Ridley said. “We’re always

going to do what we think

is in the best interest of the

tournament.”

Teeing o f from ‘downtown’

Six-time Masters winner Jack

Nicklaus has long been outspoken

about how far the ba l goes

and how the game’s governing

bodies need to take action.

In 2001, after Hootie Johnson

announced that nine holes

would be lengthened in time

for the 2002 Masters, Nicklaus

quipped that “pre ty soon we’ l

be teeing o from downtown

somewhere. It’s absurd.”

When he came to Augusta the

fo lowing year to check out the

changes, Johnson had a surprise

waiting for him: A brass marker

on the new tee box at No. 18 was

marked “Downtown.”

Nicklaus dominated Augusta

National in 1965 on his way to

tying the 18-hole scoring record

of 64 and sha tering the 72-hole

record with a 271 total.

That prompted the famous

quote from Bobby Jones about

Nicklaus: “He plays a game with

which I am not familiar.”

“I sti l say that was the easiest

golf tournament I ever played

from the standpoint of ease on

me because it was just driver,

wedge; driver, 9-iron; kind of

stu f that Tiger (Woods) does

today,” Nicklaus said in 2002.

After Woods broke the

72-hole scoring mark in his

1997 victory, Augusta National

fought back with changes in the

next decade that were ca led

“Tiger-proofing.” The second

cut increased in 1999, and holes

were lengthened in 2002 and

again in 2006.

“I think that if you are going

to continue to let the golf ba l

do what it’s doing, you’ve got

to keep lengthening the golf

course,” Nicklaus said in 2001.

His tune hasn’t changed.

Before the USGA and R&A

unveiled their latest report,

Nicklau said he had spoken

with USGA executive director

Mike Davis in late February.

“Mike’s been very optimistic

about wanting to get something

done but hasn’t been able to get

there yet,” Nicklaus said.

Nicklaus said a longer golf ba l

means longer courses, and that

leads to longer rounds.

“So, if the golf ba l came

back, it would solve I think a

lot of those issues,” Nicklaus

said. “I think we only have one

golf course in this country,

my opinion, that’s not obsolete

to the golf ba l, and that’s

Augusta National. They are the

only people that have enough

money that have been able to

keep the golf course and do the

things you had to. They are even

buying up parts of country clubs

and roads and everything else to

get that done.

“Not that other people

couldn’t do that, but it’s just

unpractical. Why, every time

we have an event, do we have to

keep buying more land and then

making things longer? It just

doesn’t make any sense to me.”

Fifth hole changes

Augusta National hasn’t

pushed the tees to downtown,

as Nicklaus suggested, but

they might be moved across a

road.

Preliminary site plans filed

earlier this year show that the

tee box for the fifth hole, a 455-

yard par-4, could be pushed

back across Old Berckmans

Road. The new tee would a leviate

congestion at the fourth

green and the current fifth

tee, which are just a few yards

apart.

Old Berckmans Road has

been closed to through tra fic

since 2015, bu the plans ca l

for the road to curve around

the area that wi l be used as a

tee box.

Ridley, who took over as

chairman last summer, is a

former U.S. Amateur champion

and three-time Masters

competitor who is expected to

address course changes.

“Old Berckmans Road

certainly gives us some opportunities

and options, and we

are looking a those,” Ridley

said in the fa l.

The hole was revamped in

2003 by moving the tees back

20 yards and extending the two

fairway bunkers by 80 yards to

put them in play. The hole now

takes a 315-yard drive to carry

the left-side bunkers, meaning

most golfers could no longer

shorten the hole by playing to

the left.

In the 2002 and 2006 renovations,

which lengthened

the course to more than 7,400

yards, Augusta National

sough to restore shot values

by making players use longer

clubs for their approach to

holes and have them play as

they did when course designers

Alister MacKenzie and Bobby

Jones laid out the course in the

early 1930s.

Ridley said that Jones

“believed that strategy and

ski l were equal components

in how the golf course should

be played.”

“What I think we should

do, and what we have done

over the years, is to go back

to that philosophy and think

about what do we need to do

to make sure that we are true

to the principles that Jones and

MacKenzie established at the

beginning,” Ridley said.

13th hole next?

A land deal with neighboring

Augusta Country Club has

opened up the possibility of

Augusta National lengthening

its par-5 13th hole.

The acquisition for an undisclosed

sum last summer gives

the Masters flexibility to push

back the tees on the 510-yard

hole that bends to the left. For

some players, the second shot

has been a short iron depending

on how much of the dogleg

they choose to bite o f.

The 13th hole is one of the

most iconic holes in golf but

consistently ranks as one of

the easiest holes on the course.

With the newly acquired land,

Augusta National could stretch

the tee back as it did in 2002

after a previous land deal with

Augusta Country Club.

Counterpoint

Acushnet, maker of the popular

Titleist Pro V1 ba l, issued

its own take on the distance

report.

The manufacturer said its

analysis of the data shows

that equipment regulations

are working.

“There were several contributing

variables in 2017,

including course selection

and setup, agronomical conditions

and weather, which

need to be considered when

assessing the data,” said David

Maher, the CEO and president

of Acushnet.

Their findings included:

The 2017 Masters average

driving distance declined 0.4

yards.

The major championships

conducted at new venues

represented one-third of the

total average driving distance

gained in 2017: U.S. Open (Erin

Hi ls, 20.4 yards), British Open

(Royal Birkdale, 8.1 yards) and

PGA Championship (Quail

Hollow, 7.0 yards).

A the 33 PGA Tour events

conducted at the same venue in

2016 and 2017, where data was

co lected, the average driving

distance increased 0.5 yards.

At the eight events held at new

venues in 2017, the average

distance increased 8.0 yards.

Reach John Boyette at (706)

823-3337 or jboyette@

augustachronicle.com.

Big hits,

big problem?

Driving distance report 'concerning' to governing bodies

Paul Casey tees off on No. 7 during the 2016 Masters Tournament. [ANDREW DAVIS TUCKER/THE AUGUSTA CHRONICLE]

Average driving distances

for Masters champions

2017: Sergio Garcia, 291.5

2016: Danny Wi lett, 278.13

2015: Jordan Spieth, 282.63

2014: Bubba Watson, 305.63

2013: Adam Sco t, 293.75

2012: Bubba Watson, 290.38

2011: Charl Schwartzel, 288.5

2010: Phil Mickelson, 297.13

2009: Angel Cabrera, 284.5

2008: Trevor Immelman, 287.5

2007: Zach Johnson, 265

2006: Phil Mickelson, 299.25

2005: Tiger Woods, 292.38

2004: Phil Mickelson, 290.38

2003: Mike Weir, 271.25

2002: Tiger Woods, 293.75

2001: Tiger Woods, 305.5

2000: Vijay Singh, 273

1999: Jose Maria Olazabal, 239.75

1998: Mark O’Meara, 266.63

1997: Tiger Woods, 323.13

Driving data for seven tours

Tour 2003 2016 2017

European Tour 286.3 288.1 291.7

PGA Tour 285.9 290 292.5

Japan Golf Tour 279 276.7 282.6

Web.com Tour 292.3 296 302.9

Champions Tour 269.9 274.7 275.4

Ladies European Tour (2004) 245.3 239.7 246.1

LPGA 249.6 253.4 252.6

How drives are measured

According to the report, driving distance data are typica ly co lected on two holes that are selected

based on three criteria:

1. The holes should be oriented in opposing directions (to minimize the impact of the wind on the

average distance).

2. The holes should preferably both be selected such tha the landing area for the drives is flat. Where

this is not feasible, the holes would preferably have opposing topography to minimize the e fect of

slopes on the average driving distance.

3. The holes should be selected to maximize the potential tha the golfers wi l choose to hi their driver

(ensuring that the data most closely reflects the distance hit by players using drivers).


MASTERS 2018

The Augusta Chronicle • Augusta.com Sunday, April 1, 2018 M3

Garcia sheds snakebitten label

By Scott Michaux

Staff Writer

It’s the Saturday before Masters Week and Sergio Garcia is walking through

tall grass in central Texas hunting for wild hogs. Garcia is new to hunting,

introduced to it in 2016 by his soon-to-be father-in-law, Marty Akins, on

the family’s 1,250-acre ranch near Marble Falls, about an hour northwest of

Austin. He’s wearing snake boots, carrying the .30-30 Winchester rifle and

following in the precise footsteps of Akins through the grass. Sergio’s father, Victor,

is following a few paces behind his son. As Garcia is about to put his foot down, he

sees something move and jumps back. “Watch out big man – snake!” Garcia yelled,

among other words he admits aren’t suitable for print. “I looked down and I had

my foot sort of on a rattlesnake,” Akins said. “So I jumped off him and he coiled

up. Sergio had the gun so I said, ‘Shoot him!’”

Garcia balks, so Akins comes around,

takes the gun and shoots the rattlesnake

in half. Victor Garcia had already hightailed

it back to the cart and wasn’t

getting out again.

“I would literally have put my foot

probably 3 inches left of it,” Garcia

said of the snake. “Obviously we were

wearing snake boots and everything,

but you never know. If I step on it

and it bites me, maybe I’m not even

playing in Augusta. So I guess it was just

one of those things that was meant to

be.”

For a player whose major championship

fortunes have often been described

– even by himself – as “snakebitten,”

Garcia literally avoided it on the eve

of his long-awaited breakthrough. He

never bagged a hog that afternoon,

but that adrenaline rush sent him to

Augusta, where he exorcised all of the

poisonous demons that had haunted

him for nearly two decades with a newfound

optimism.

“It was pretty funny to me,” Akins

said, “that eight days after he almost

stepped on that rattlesnake, he won the

Masters.”

Sergio Garcia holds up his trophy for

being the low amateur at the 1999

Masters. He finished 7-over and tied for

38th in his tournament debut. [FILE/THE

AUGUSTA CHRONICLE]

Kid's play

As can’t-miss kids embarking on pro

careers go, Garcia was arguably the

best bet to ever come along in the wake

of Tiger Woods. There was nothing not

to like about his game.

Sergio was practically born to be

a golf superstar, very nearly arriving

into the world in 1980 in the pro

shop at Mediterraneo Golf Club where

his mother, Consuelo, went into

labor while she was running the register.

His father, Victor Sr., was the

club’s pro in the town of Borriol, not

far from Spain’s eastern coast on the

Mediterranean Sea.

Garcia was just 2 when he started

mimicking his father’s swing with a

feather duster.

See GARCIA, M5

Sergio Garcia reacts to a putt on No. 3 during the third round of the 2012 Masters.

After that Saturday, he declared that “I don’t have the thing I need to have” to win

majors. [MICHAEL HOLAHAN/THE AUGUSTA CHRONICLE]


M4 Sunday, April 1, 2018 The Augusta Chronicle • Augusta.com

MASTERS 2018

Coming up clutch

A look at who

has birdied

the final hole to

win the Masters

1930s

1934

Horton

Smith

70-72-70-72–284

1935

Gene

Sarazen

68-71-73-70–282

1936

Horton

Smith

74-71-68-72–285

1937

Byron

Nelson

66-72-75-70–283

1938

Henry

Picard

71-72-72-70–285

1939

Ralph

Guldahl

72-68-70-69–279

1940s

WORLD WAR II

1943-1945

1940

Jimmy

Demaret

67-72-70-71–280

1941

Craig

Wood

66-71-71-72–280

1942

Byron

Nelson

68-67-72-73–280

The tournament was put on hold for the

duration of the war. Augusta National’s

greenskeepers raised turkey and cattle on

the grounds to help with the war effort.

1946

Herman

Keiser

69-68-71-74–282

1947

Jimmy

Demaret

69-71-70-71–281

1948

Claude

Harmon

70-70-69-70–279

1949

Sam

Snead

73-75-67-67–282

1950s

Art Wall Jr., 1959: Wall birdied five of the last six holes, including Nos. 17 and 18, to shoot 66 and pass 12 players.

1950

Jimmy

Demaret

70-72-72-69–283

1951

Ben

Hogan

70-72-70-68–280

1952

Sam

Snead

70-67-77-72–286

1953

Ben

Hogan

70-69-66-69–274

1954

Sam

Snead

74-73-70-72–289

1955

Cary

Middlecoff

72-65-72-70–279

1956

Jack

Burke Jr.

72-71-75-71–289

1957

Doug

Ford

72-73-72-66–283

1958

Arnold

Palmer

70-73-68-73–284

1959

Art

Wall Jr.

73-74-71-66–284

1960s

Arnold Palmer, 1960: Ken Venturi had the clubhouse lead, but Palmer knocked in a birdie putt on No. 17 to tie. On the 18th, he hit his 6-iron approach to five feet and calmly

sank the putt for his second Masters win.

1960

Arnold

Palmer

67-73-72-70–282

1961

Gary

Player

69-68-69-74–280

1962

Arnold

Palmer

70-66-69-75–280

1963

Jack

Nicklaus

74-66-74-72–286

1964

Arnold

Palmer

69-68-69-70–276

1965

Jack

Nicklaus

67-71-64-69–271

1966

Jack

Nicklaus

68-76-72-72–288

1967

Gay

Brewer

73-68-72-67–280

1968

Bob

Goalby

70-70-71-66–277

1969

George

Archer

67-73-69-72–281

1970s

Gary Player, 1978: The South African won his third Masters with a Sunday charge that featured birdies on seven of his final 10 holes, including No. 18.

1970

Billy

Casper

72-68-68-71–279

1971

Charles

Coody

66-73-70-70–279

1972

Jack

Nicklaus

68-71-73-74–286

1973

Tommy

Aaron

68-73-74-68–283

1974

Gary

Player

71-71-66-70–278

1975

Jack

Nicklaus

68-67-73-68–276

1976

Raymond

Floyd

65-66-70-70–271

1977

Tom

Watson

70-69-70-67–276

1978

Gary

Player

72-72-69-64–277

1979

Fuzzy

Zoeller

70-71-69-70–280

1980s

Sandy Lyle, 1988: Lyle’s 7-iron from the bunker landed about 30 feet from the pin, then trickled down to 10 feet away. Lyle made the putt and did a celebratory jig.

1980

Seve

Ballesteros

66-69-68-72–275

1981

Tom

Watson

71-68-70-71–280

1982

Craig

Stadler

75-69-67-73–284

1983

Seve

Ballesteros

68-70-73-69–280

1984

Ben

Crenshaw

67-72-70-68–277

1985

Bernhard

Langer

72-74-68-68–282

1986

Jack

Nicklaus

74-71-69-65–279

1987

Larry

Mize

70-72-72-71–285

1988

Sandy

Lyle

71-67-72-71–281

1989

Nick

Faldo

68-73-77-65–283

1990s

Mark O’Meara, 1998: O’Meara created a three-way tie with Fred Couples and David Duval with his birdie at No. 17, then broke it by sinking a 20-foot putt for the victory.

1990

Nick

Faldo

71-72-66-69–278

1991

Ian

Woosnam

72-66-67-72–277

1992

Fred

Couples

69-67-69-70–275

1993

Bernhard

Langer

68-70-69-70–277

1994

Jose Maria

Olazabal

74-67-69-69–279

1995

Ben

Crenshaw

70-67-69-68–274

1996

Nick

Faldo

69-67-73-67–276

1997

Tiger

Woods

70-66-65-69–270

1998

Mark

O’Meara

74-70-68-67–279

1999

Jose Maria

Olazabal

70-66-73-71–280

2000s

Phil Mickelson, 2004: A charge put Lefty into a tie with Ernie Els with one to go. Mickelson put his second shot within 18 feet, then jumped for joy when his birdie putt fell in.

Tiger Woods, 2005: Woods won for the fourth time at Augusta National when he sank a birdie putt in sudden death to defeat Chris DiMarco.

2000

Vijay

Singh

72-67-70-69–278

2001

Tiger

Woods

70-66-68-68–272

2002

Tiger

Woods

70-69-66-71–276

2003

Mike

Weir

70-68-75-68–281

2004

Phil

Mickelson

72-69-69-69–279

2005

Tiger

Woods

74-66-65-71–276

2006

Phil

Mickelson

70-72-70-69–281

2007

Zach

Johnson

71-73-76-69–289

2008

Trevor

Immelman

68-68-69-75–280

2009

Angel

Cabrera

68-68-69-71–276

2010s

2010

Phil

Mickelson

67-71-67-67–272

2011

Charl

Schwartzel

69-71-68-66–274

2012

Bubba

Watson

69-71-70-68–278

2013

Adam

Scott

69-72-69-69–279

2014

Bubba

Watson

69-68-74-69–280

2015

Jordan

Spieth

64-66-70-70–270

2016

Danny

Willett

67-72-74-70–283

2017

Sergio

Garcia

71-69-70-69–279

Sergio Garcia, 2017:

Garcia won in his 19th

try at the Masters when

he rolled in a short

birdie putt on the first

extra hole against Justin

Rose.


MASTERS 2018

The Augusta Chronicle • Augsuta.com Sunday, April 1, 2018 M5

GARCIA

From Page M3

“I’ve always loved

sports, but I guess I

was always drawn to

golf a little bit more for

various reasons even

though I played tennis

and soccer, too,” Garcia

said. “With my dad being

a professional and me

being on the golf course,

I was always a little more

drawn to golf.”

In a family of golfers

– his older brother,

Victor Jr., and younger

sister, Mar, each played

college golf in the U.S. –

Sergio excelled under his

father’s tutelage. He’s still

never had another coach

for a swing that’s endured

for three decades. By the

time he was 12 he was

breaking 70 and beating

all the adults to win

Mediterraneo’s club

championship. The

impressed membership

and Spanish media

dubbed him “El Niño” –

The Kid.

In short order, El Niño’s

reputation as a prodigy

spread. He played with

Spanish legend Seve

Ballesteros for the first

time at his home club

when he was 14. At 15,

he became the youngest

player to make the cut in a

European Tour event and

then the youngest to win

the European Amateur.

He played in his first

British Open at 16.

Garcia was already on

the global map when he

won the British Amateur

in 1998 to earn a spot in

the 1999 Masters, where

as a bright 19-year-old he

would be paired the first

two rounds with Woods.

Garcia finished tied

for 38th, the first British

Amateur winner to earn

Augusta’s sterling silver

cup for low amateur. He

shared the Butler Cabin

ceremony with fellow

Spaniard Jose Maria

Olazabal, who claimed

his second green jacket.

“It was a dream come

true to be totally honest

... to kind of look at my

amateur career and think

this couldn’t have finished

in a better way,”

he said. “Obviously, if

you would have won

the Masters it would

be better, but realistically

I was low amateur

at Augusta first time I

played, Jose Maria wins

and we get to celebrate

our victories together

with one of my golfing

idols. It was just amazing

timing and obviously

it kind of helped me even

more as I turned pro the

week after and gave

me an extra boost of

confidence.”

The growing legend

of El Niño only accelerated

after that. A month

after the Masters in his

Sergio Garcia’s early success helped him become a recognizable star, but as his chase for a major grew more

frustrating, his near-misses often brought out his worst emotional tendencies. “They’re all great learning

experiences if you take them the right way,” he said of his many teachable moments. [MICHAEL HOLAHAN/STAFF]

Tiger Woods talks with Sergio Garcia during practice for the 1999 Masters. [AMY

SANCETTA/ASSOCIATED PRESS]

first PGA Tour start as a

pro at the Byron Nelson,

Garcia shot 62 in his

opening round to sit one

stroke behind Woods’

course-record 61. By the

end of the week, Garcia

tied for third and earned

about $50,000 more

than Woods.

“He’s the next one,”

Jerry Higginbotham, Mark

O’Meara’s usual caddie,

said when he carried

Garcia’s bag that week.

“Believe me, he’s

going to be successful,”

said Woods.

Success came that July

with his first pro win at

the Irish Open – moving

him permanently into

the world’s top 100

for the next 18 years, 9

months and still counting

– and a runner-up a

week later in the Scottish

Open. But just when you

thought the teenager’s

game was all grown up,

he missed the cut the

next week in the British

Open at Carnoustie and

was seen crying on his

mother’s shoulder.

Before anyone had

time to temper expectations,

however, the 1999

PGA Championship

at Medinah seared the

image of Garcia ebulliently

nipping at Tiger’s

heels. In the final round,

Garcia was tracking

down Woods when his

drive on No. 16 came to

rest at the base of an oak

tree. Instead of carefully

punching out, he

closed his eyes and took

a full whack at the ball

between the roots. As his

shot curved up the hill,

Garcia skipped across

the fairway after the ball

and executed a leaping

scissor kick to see it roll

up onto the green.

Woods ultimately held

off the challenge to win

his second career major

by one stroke over the kid,

but the narrative had been

established. Not only

would Sergio be the next

great Spanish star, but he

would also be Europe’s

answer to rival Tiger.

“I embraced it for

sure,” Garcia said of

the “El Niño” hype. “I

think it was great fun. I

enjoyed it. Yeah, maybe

it was a little extra pressure

on but it’s fine. I

was also putting extra

pressure on myself to try

to do well every week.”

Frustrated ambition

Garcia became one of

golf’s most recognizable

global superstars.

He followed in the footsteps

of Ballesteros and

Olazabal by winning in

Europe, Asia and on the

PGA Tour. He was still a

teenager when he qualified

for his first Ryder

Cup in 1999 and became

a fixture during much

of the European team’s

success over the next

two decades.

His good looks, passion

and charisma held

a magnetism much

like Ballesteros. His

moments of petulance

and fits of pique drew

heaps of criticism as

well.

“I’m Spanish, we are

very emotional and it

is good,” he said. “I’d

rather be like that and

not be a robot. I can’t

live my life like that,

forget about golf, like a

flat line.”

The standard his

Spanish predecessors

set came at the Masters

and British Open, and

that was a legacy Garcia

was expected to carry

on. His relatively routine

leaderboard appearances

in every brand of major

proved he was capable,

amassing 22 top-10s,

12 top-fives and four

runner-ups in majors

as the mileage steadily

accumulated .

Every time Garcia

would put himself in

position to win a major,

an alternative ending

kept cropping up. Three

times he got aced out on

Sundays by Woods, who

piled up 14 major wins

in an 11-year span that

largely coincided with

Garcia’s most aggressive

opportunities.

“I do have to say, all

of us, we did probably

run into if not the greatest

player ever, one of

them,” Garcia said of

Woods. “That makes

things a little bit tougher.

But I enjoyed it. I thought

it was a good thing and

kind of pushed all of us to

work harder and become

better golfers. It was one

of those mixed things. If

he had not been there,

would I have had more

chances of winning other

majors? For sure. At the

same time, it would have

made all of us maybe not

as good golfers as we are

now.”

At the 2007 British and

’08 PGA Championship,

Garcia also finished

second to Padraig

Harrington, including

a playoff defeat at

Carnoustie after his putt

to win on the 72nd hole

lipped out.

His near-misses

often brought out his

worst emotional tendencies.

He speculated

that Woods and “bigger

guys” got favoritism

in weather rulings and

received ridicule from

the galleries when he was

hounded for a re-gripping

tic that emerged

during the 2002 U.S.

Open at Bethpage Black.

Other forces conspired

to disrupt his chances

in 2007 at Carnoustie,

including a bunkerraking

crew delaying

his final approach in

regulation and his ball

bouncing long off a pin

in the playoff.

“I should write a book

on how to not miss a shot

in the playoff and shoot

1-over,” he groused

after the playoff loss to

Harrington, adding that

he was playing against

“more than the field.”

“It’s the way it is. I

guess it’s not news in

my life.”

Garcia wore the label

of “best player to never

win a major” like a yoke

until he finally broke

after another familiar

Saturday letdown at the

Masters in 2012.

“I don’t have the thing

I need to have” to win

majors, the 32-year-old

Garcia said. “I’m not

good enough. I had my

chances and opportunities

and I wasted them. I

have no more options. I

wasted my options.”

Garcia admits his

attitude did himself no

favors in the majors.

“They’re all great

learning experiences if

you take them the right

way,” he said of his many

teachable moments.

“The way I look at it, the

seconds that I had, yeah,

you lost it. But to have

a chance of winning a

major and be there on

Sunday afternoon, there

are so many good things

that have to happen to get

there. If you only look at

the couple little negative

things that didn’t help

you win it, it kind of ruins

the whole week.

“So it’s important to

look at the things that

could have gone better so

you can improve them,

but make sure that you

look at the good things

because you’ve done so

many good things to put

yourself in that situation.

You have to give

yourself credit for those,

too.”

See GARCIA, M6


M6 Sunday, April 1, 2018 The Augusta Chronicle • Augusta.com

MASTERS 2018

Garcia finally mastered

love/hate relationship

with Augusta National

LEFT: Jose Maria Olazabal poses with countryman Sergio Garcia at the 1999 Masters, where Olazabal won for the

second time and Garcia was the low amateur. [ELISE AMENDOLA/ASSOCIATED PRESS]

RIGHT: Garcia sports his green jacket from last year’s Masters victory. [JOHN EVANS/GATEHOUSE MEDIA]

GARCIA

From Page M5

Carnoustie remains his

hardest one to come to

terms with before being

able to press onward.

“I’m not going to lie, I

remember the week after

being in Spain with my

family and going to the

beach by myself and

just walking and thinking

and being a little bit down

about it,” he said. “But

after that I kind of started

thinking why are you just

thinking about all the bad

things that happened and

not all the good things you

did to have a chance and

put yourself in that situation.

I kind of figured that

out. I look back at it now

and I think all of those

experiences helped get me

to where I am now.”

Despite his frustrated

surrendering to his

major fate at Augusta in

2012, Garcia never really

gave up the quest. He

illustrated that with his

most optimistic major

defeat in 2014 in the

Open Championship at

Hoylake.

On the same course

where he got lapped in

the final Sunday pairing

with Woods in 2006,

Garcia made a charge

from seven strokes

behind Rory McIlroy on

Sunday to draw as close

as two before leaving a

shot in the bunker on

the 15th hole to blunt his

challenge and settle for

joint runner-up.

“I enjoyed that British

Open at Hoylake,” he

said. “Shot on 15 comes

to mind, but you never

know. It was fun to at

least make Rory sweat a

little bit.

“The important thing

was that I didn’t make

(winning majors) a priority.

Obviously I want

to win a major, but it’s

not the main thing. If I

didn’t want to do that I

wouldn’t practice. But

if it doesn’t happen,

that’s OK. I started to

learn to deal with that

and just keep doing

what you’re doing and

if you’re healthy you’re

going to put yourself in

that position many times

again. Just wait for that

day when you feel great

and everything happens

to you.”

Ending the drought

That day arrived last

Sergio Garcia makes

par on No. 13 during

his final round duel

with Justin Rose in last

year’s Masters. [MICHAEL

HOLAHAN/THE AUGUSTA

CHRONICLE]

April just eight days after

avoiding a snakebite in

Texas.

All of the pieces that had

kept Garcia from fulfilling

his destiny had fallen into

place. A player more prone

to playing in tandem with

his emotional biorhythms

than most, he was in a

happy place having gotten

engaged at the start of 2017

and was planning a wedding

for the summer. His

form was in good order,

winning the European

Tour event in Dubai in

February.

So it wasn’t much of a

surprise that through 3½

rounds he found himself

tied for the lead with one

of his most familiar peers

going back to their amateur

days in Europe, Justin

Rose.

“He’s always been a

heart-on-sleeve guy,”

Rose said. “You know

exactly what is going on

with Sergio, rightly or

wrongly. So he doesn’t

hide things very well.

Everyone talks about

when he’s happy off the

golf course he’s one of the

best in the world on the

golf course.”

As if on cue, however,

the gremlins that had

always derailed Garcia’s

major aspirations convened

in the vicinity of

Amen Corner. On No. 10 –

“not my most comfortable

hole” – he made bogey to

fall one back. On the 11th,

his drive rolled through

the fairway and he made

another bogey and slipped

two behind Rose.

After a sensible par at

No. 12, his drive on the

13th was slightly left of his

target line and clipped a

pine branch, kicking the

ball to the wrong side of

the creek into an azalea

bush.

Everyone had seen this

script before.

“In the past he would

have gotten so frustrated

he would have just took

himself right out of it,”

said Marty Akins. “He

didn’t do that this time.”

Instead, Garcia drew

from all of the cruel lessons

in his career and stayed

focused on the positive.

“I was very calm ...

much calmer than I’ve

felt probably in any

major championship on

Sunday,” Garcia said. “So

obviously Justin wasn’t

making it easy; he was

playing extremely well.

But I knew what I was

capable of doing, and I

believed that I could do it.”

After taking a penalty

and a drop, Garcia saved

par with a clutch 8-footer

and Rose subsequently

missed his 5-footer for

birdie to remain two up.

“That little two-shot

swing there was kind of

when he was back in the

tournament,” Rose said.

“If he misses at that point,

I make, I’m four clear.”

With that momentum

shift, the mood on the

course changed. Patrons

who sensed Garcia had

been wilting again were

trying to will him on.

“The thing that was

different out there, I

thought, was he had the

whole crowd rooting for

him,” Rose said. “I think

he’s probably felt the

opposite at times. ... The

crowd probably sensed

that he was happy and

more relaxed and they also

thought this guy’s paid his

dues. He’s had some tough

crosses to bear and had

some tough losses. This is

Sergio’s time and let’s get

behind it.”Garcia agreed:

“I think they were supporting

Justin a lot, too,

but I think once it became

just him and me, I definitely

sensed that people

were very excited for me

to do well and hopefully

win the green jacket.”

The energy snowballed

as Garcia birdied No. 14

and eagled the 15th to

draw even with Rose.

Then, despite missing a

5-footer to win in regulation,

Garcia drained

his birdie on the first

playoff hole to shed his

snake bitten past as the

Augusta crowds chanted

“Ser-Gee-O!”

“Sergio is obviously

the best player not to

have won a major, no

longer,” Rose said. “It

must be hard for guys

when they are striving to

win majors and they are

seeing their peers pick

them off and they are

kind of being left behind.

Any time one of those

types of players – there’s

a handful of them – gets

that huge monkey off

their back, I think it

makes it a poignant

major championship.”

Brighter days

Garcia seemed at peace

as he wore his green jacket

and faced the media after

his emotional victory.

There were no demons to

curse, no misfortune to

bemoan. After 18 years,

Garcia had finally fulfilled

his original destiny and

not the looming alternative

fate he had come to

terms with after so many

heartaches.

Garcia – a fan of the

horror-movie genre

– insists he never felt

trapped in his own psychological

thriller.

“Not in the least bit; not

at all,” he said. “I have a

beautiful life, major or

no major. I said it many,

many times. I have an

amazing life. I have so

many people that care for

me and love me and support

me. I feel so nicely

surrounded. Obviously

this is something I wanted

to do for a long time but,

you know, it never felt

like a horror movie. It felt

like a little bit of a drama

maybe, but obviously

with a happy ending.”

With the birth of his

and Angela’s first daughter

in mid-March, the

only rattle he was likely to

encounter this time would

be in gifts for his little girl.

He prefers the rush of

a Sunday in contention

between the Georgia pines

to a serpent encounter in

the tall grass of a Texas

prairie.

“It’s a different kind

of adrenaline,” he said.

“One is excitement from

having a chance to win a

tournament that we love.

The other one is kind of

scared of what might

happen.”

Garcia no longer needs

to be scared of what

might happen on a major

championship Sunday.

He rethinks about what

happened after encountering

that rattlesnake in

the grass for a second, and

smiles.

“If it means I’ll win

another green jacket?

We’ll see.”

By Scott Michaux

Staff Writer

In the modern parlance

of social media,

Sergio Garcia’s nearly

20-year relationship

with Augusta National

Golf Club and the

Masters Tournament

could best be summed

up with the phrase “it’s

complicated.”

“It’s obviously not

my favorite, my most

favorite place,” Garcia

said in 2013 in the midst

of his extended cold war

with Augusta. “But you

know, we try to enjoy it

as much as we can each

time we come here. ...

It’s easy to think about

negative things on this

course.”

That was not always

the case – and it won’t

ever be again now that

Garcia has been parading

around the world at

everything from iconic

sporting events to his

wedding reception

donning a green jacket

for the past 12 months.

It was not a linear

journey from wideeyed

teenage rookie

to happily ever after.

Over the course of two

decades, when both the

golf course and Garcia

evolved, the Spaniard

fought with demons

at Augusta National

– many of his own

creation.

“Nothing wrong with

Augusta,” Garcia said.

“I think that the main

thing that has improved

is the way I’m looking

at it the last probably

two or three years.”

So how did Garcia go

from being the guy who

once said at Augusta “I

don’t have the thing I

need to have” to win

majors to winning the

2017 Masters in a playoff

duel with Justin

Rose?

Most of it is a golf

game that has consistently

been elite since

his father first taught

him as child. But the

final ingredient was a

newfound positive attitude

drawn out by his

new wife, Angela Akins

Garcia, who waged

an all-out confidence

campaign last April.

Thanks to that winning

combination,

Garcia will never again

have to answer the

mystery of why he

couldn’t win the big

one.

‘Dream come true'

It was love at first

sight when Garcia first

arrived at Augusta

National as a can’tmiss

19-year-old

amateur nicknamed “El

Nino.”

“I loved it early on,”

Garcia said. “I loved the

way it played in ’99. It

was great.”

Garcia's first

impression of Augusta

National was mostly

colored by conversations

with his Spanish

golfing idols and twotime

Masters winners,

Seve Ballesteros and

Jose Maria Olazabal.

When he was growing

up during the golden

age of European dominance

in the Masters

that started with Seve’s

first win a few months

after Garcia was born

(1980) and ended with

Olazabal’s last the year

Garcia first qualified

to play (1999), television

coverage of golf

“wasn’t great” in Spain.

He was too young to

remember Ballesteros’

two wins (1980 and ’83)

and constant contending

for a decade. He

doesn’t even remember

watching Olazabal’s

first win at the 1994

Masters.

He’d only seen the

tournament a couple

of times on television

before he won the 1998

British Amateur to

qualify .

“We decided that

was going to be my

last tournament as an

amateur,” Garcia said.

“Obviously I talked to

Jose, I talked to Seve

and all the people that

were there. They said

it’s unbelievable and

amazing and so much

hillier than you think

or you can see on TV. So

you get an idea but you

get there and it’s like ...

no, you can’t explain

it. The atmosphere,

the feel you get when

you get to Augusta.

How different it looks

and all those things. It

doesn’t matter what

you say, you can’t really

describe it.”

What he found in

person obviously suited

him. Garcia played his

first two rounds with

Tiger Woods, matching

his opening score

of even-par 72. Though

he didn’t break par,

his tie for 38th beat

fellow amateurs Tom

McKnight, Matt Kuchar

and Trevor Immelman

to become the first

British Amateur winner

to claim low amateur

honors at Augusta.

He shared the Butler

Cabin ceremony with

Jose Maria Olazabal,

still calling it “a dream

come true, to be totally

honest.”

First signs of trouble

Garcia left Augusta

in 1999 believing it

was the beginning of a

great relationship with

the Masters.

See LOVE-HATE, M7

“He’s always been a heart-on-sleeve guy. You know exactly what is going on with Sergio, rightly or

wrongly. So he doesn’t hide things very well. Everyone talks about when he’s happy

off the golf course he’s one of the best in the world on the golf course.”

Justin Rose, on Sergio Garcia

Sergio Garcia celebrates winning the 2017 Masters

on the first playoff hole. [MICHAEL HOLAHAN/STAFF]


MASTERS 2018

The Augusta Chronicle • Augusta.com Sunday, April 1, 2018 M7

LOVE-HATE

From Page M6

“For sure, I remember

talking to my dad after

’99,” he recalled. “I said

I feel like we’re definitely

going to win here. I was

probably thinking more

than once.”

His first flirtation with

contending came in 2002

when he shot three consecutive

rounds under

par to sit inside the top

four every day before

finishing eighth with a

Sunday 75. He started off

in second place again in

2003 before a Friday 78

dashed his chances.

The first sign that there

were cracks forming in

the Garcia-Masters relationship

came in 2004

when he arrived in a bit

of a mini-slump that had

seen him slip from No. 4

in the world at the end of

2002 to No. 48 when he

showed up at Augusta.

Lurking just outside

the leaderboard the first

three days, Garcia fired

31 on the second nine

Sunday to shoot a day’s

best 66 and vault into a

fourth-place finish. He

showed up in the interview

room for the first

time all week visibly

irritated with the small

gathering of media who

came to talk to him while

Phil Mickelson and Ernie

Els were still putting on a

show down the stretch.

“You seem upset about

something,” were the

first words that greeted

him, and he said “it’s been

going on for awhile” and

complained that “you

guys” only pay attention

to “a handful of players.”

“You guys but, that’s

the way you guys are,”

he said. “When we’re

playing well, we’re the

best, and even if we’re

playing well and things

are not going our way,

you know, we can be

shocking. So it’s nice to

see how fair you guys

are, and I just hope that

you guys don’t come

out now saying, oh, you

know, he’s back, and this

is the Sergio we know

and all that.”

He admits now that he

could be his own worst

enemy at Augusta.

“You have to be on in

so many ways to be able

to win a tournament, to

be able to win a major

and to be able to win

at Augusta – so many

things have to go right

not only in your golf

game but in your head,”

he said. “Unfortunately,

I probably wanted it so

much those next few

years (after 1999) that I

Sergio Garcia reacts after hitting out of the bunker at the 2004 Masters. After his Sunday round, Garcia complained

to the press about their turnout for him in the interview room. [MICHAEL HOLAHAN/THE AUGUSTA CHRONICLE]

Sergio Garcia and his caddie Glen Murray watch carefully as his ball continues to roll

down a hill on No. 3 during the third round of the 2009 Masters. Garcia went thrrough

a rough stretch at Augusta National. [RAINIER EHRHARDT/THE AUGUSTA CHRONICLE]

got really intense, really

frustrated when I could

see that I was there and

didn’t cross the line a

couple times. Until I kind

of stepped back and said

just enjoy it, just play, do

your thing, be positive,

accept what’s happening

good and bad and just let

it happen ... I probably

wasn’t able to perform

as well as I could there.

As well as I should.”

Dark period

That 2004 grousing was

the start of a dark decade

for Garcia at Augusta, as

whatever love he originally

had for the course and the

tournament had turned

into a palpable dislike.

Garcia broke par only

twice in his next 18 Masters

rounds from 2005-10,

missing the cut three times

and never finishing better

than 38th.

He admits he wrestled

with the changing nature

of the course that had

grown longer and tighter

and softer than the one

he first fell in love with in

1999.

“It felt like the essence

of the Masters, to me, it

kind of went away a little

bit,” he said. “It went

from what I fell in love

with. Obviously I got a

little frustrated. Don’t get

me wrong, it was also my

fault. I took everything too

personal my way and feeling

like nothing was really

happening to me. Which

obviously is not true. You

get some bad breaks and

you get some good ones.

But I just struggled for

some years to see the good

ones I was getting.”

The same could be

said for his personal life,

which spiraled along with

his golf in 2010, eventually

prompting a 10-week

leave of absence to get his

head right, He fell as low

as 85th in the world in

the weeks before the 2011

Tiger Woods (left) grabs the shoulders of Sergio Garcia after Garcia’s drive on the

second hole during the 1999 Masters Tournament. Garcia finished as low amateur

and shared the Butler Cabin ceremony with Jose Maria Olazabal, still calling it “a

dream come true, to be totally honest.” [ELISE AMENDOLA/ASSOCIATED PRESS]

Masters.

But with his game on the

uptick, Garcia got off to a

strong start at Augusta and

climbed into third place on

the leaderboard at 7-under

par at the turn on Saturday

playing with 2009 winner

Angel Cabrera. Then it all

went sour, going bogeydouble-bogey

on Nos.

10-12 en route to a backnine

42 that derailed him.

As Garcia slumped up the

18th fairway, Cabrera –

who shot 67 to vault into

second place and into the

final Sunday pairing with

Rory McIlroy – put his arm

around Garcia’s shoulders

and appeared to be giving

him a pep talk.

“Just my head kind of

went out on 9 and I just

couldn’t recover,” Garcia

said.

'I’m not good enough'

Years of frustration

finally came to a head in

the 2012 Masters.

Garcia started the third

round in third place just

a shot behind leaders

Fred Couples and Jason

Dufner, and all eyes were

on him and McIlroy in

a marquee Saturday

pairing.

Things went off the

rails from the start for

both players. Garcia

bogeyed three of the first

four holes and was five

over on the day before he

and McIlroy each made

their first birdies on No.

12 and sarcastically celebrated

with a hug on the

green. Garcia shot 75 and

McIlroy 77 and both fell

well out of contention.

After a nondescript

post-round interview

with the English-speaking

media, the 32-year-old

Spaniard told a different

story to Spanish-speaking

press.

“I’m not good enough

... I don’t have the thing I

need to have,” Garcia said

in an interview translated

from Spanish. “In 13 years

I’ve come to the conclusion

that I need to play for

second or third place.”

Asked if he meant in the

Masters, he replied “in

any major.”

“I had my chances

and opportunities and I

wasted them,” he added.

“I have no more options. I

wasted my options.”

He didn’t back down

a day later when asked

about his comments.

“Do you think I lie

when I talk?” he said.

“Everything I say, I say it

because I feel it. If I didn’t

mean it, I couldn’t stand

here and lie like a lot of the

guys. If I felt like I could

win, I would do it.”

What did he think

he was missing?

“Everything,” he said.

Looking back, Garcia

admits it was years of

frustration coming out in a

moment of self-loathing.

“It’s the way I felt

at that exact time,” he

said. “Maybe one of the

questions they asked me

triggered it. Obviously

I wasn’t feeling great.

It wasn’t the first time

that I had a below average

Saturday there when

I was in contention. So I

just said what I felt at that

time.

“That doesn’t mean

that when I left Augusta

and went to play my next

tournament I didn’t think

differently. If I didn’t

think that I could keep

winning and putting

myself in that situation

I probably would have

stopped playing golf. I

am emotional and say

what I feel and I’m very

truthful all the time and

sometimes people don’t

like what I say. It doesn’t

mean it’s right or wrong,

and everybody has their

own opinion. It’s what

I felt at the time and in a

way I just wanted to get it

out and not keep it inside

of me.”

'It just feels different'

Whatever Garcia

flushed out of his system

that day seemed to work.

A year later he returned

to Augusta and shot a

first-round 66 to share

the Masters lead for the

first time. He finished

tied for eighth.

His relationship with

the course has been on

the mend ever since,

with recent firmer

setups on the longer

course making him feel

more like it’s 1999 again.

“I think it’s the kind

of place that if you are

trying to fight against

it, it’s going to beat you

down,” he said. “So

you’ve just got to roll

with it and realize that

sometimes you’re going

to get good breaks ...

and sometimes you’re

going to get not-so-good

breaks. But at the end of

the day, that’s part of the

game.”

When Angela Akins,

then a sports reporter

at a local Texas station,

heard Garcia’s “not good

enough” comments, she

reached her own conclusion

from afar.

“I thought he was

wrong,” she said of the

man she married in July.

Sergio Garcia

Age: 38

Height: 5-10

Weight: 180

Residence:

Crans-

Montana,

Switzerland

World Ranking: 9

Career victories: 30

Tournament invitation:

2017 Masters champion*

*A full list of qualifications is on 2M.

Record at the Masters

Best Finish: WIN

Earnings: $3,263,530

’99: 72-75-75-73–295-a T38

’00: 70-72-75-78–295 T40

’01: 70-76–146

’02: 68-71-70-75–284 8

’03: 69-78-74-73–294 T28

’04: 72-72-75-66–285 T4

’05: 77-72–149

’06: 72-74-79-73–298 46

’07: 76-78–154

’08: 76-72–148

’09: 73-67-75-74–289 T38

’10: 74-70-76-78–298 T45

’11: 69-71-75-73–288 T35

’12: 72-68-75-71–286 T12

’13: 66-76-73-70–285 T8

’14: 74-75–149

’15: 68-74-71-70–283 T17

’16: 69-75-81-71–296 T34

’17: 71-69-70-69–279 WIN

It came as no shock

to Angela when his

long-awaited major

breakthrough happened

last April in a playoff win

over Justin Rose.

“I personally have

always thought that golf

course was a great fit for

Sergio,” she said. “After

he won I heard people

say, ‘it’s a little bit of

a surprise that he won

after the comments he

made.’ I wasn’t surprised

at all because of what

that golf course demands

from the player. I think

it’s a phenomenal fit for

Sergio.”

Garcia’s appreciation

for the Masters

has soared and there’s

only love remaining for

Augusta National now

that he’s a member of

its most exclusive club.

“It’s been an unbelievable

experience to

be able to travel with the

green jacket all around

the world,” he said. “It’s

obviously a tremendous

honor and you realize it

even more after you win

it. When you’ve played

it enough, and I’ve

been fortunate enough

to play the Masters 19

or 20 times, you see it

and kind of have an idea

how big it is. But once

you win it and you get

to travel with the jacket

and you see the reaction

on the people all over

the place – in Spain, in

Germany, in Australia,

in Hong Kong and Asia

– you see the reaction

from them and realize

how much bigger it is

than you first think. You

have to understand how

big an honor that is and

you have to be respectful

of it.”

He looks forward to

returning for the Masters,

wearing the green jacket

as he mingles with the

kids during the Drive,

Chip and Putt competition

and joining Olazabal

in the Champions Locker

Room. In some ways it

will be as incomprehensible

as that first feeling he

had when he first arrived

in 1999.

“I’ve talked to Jose

Maria and he told me

when you get there and

you go through the gates

and drive down Magnolia

Lane as a Masters champion,

you’ll see,” Garcia

said. “He couldn’t explain

the feeling. He said you’ll

see it just feels different.

To walk around the

grounds at Augusta and

wearing the jacket and

being seen as a Masters

champion and everything,

it’s just so different.”

When he stands up

to greet his peers at the

Champions Dinner, his

words will be a lot different

than they were in

2012 when he thought

he’d never get there.

“I’m not going to write

anything,” he said. “I’m

just going to say it from

the heart because I think

that’s the way I am.”


M8 Sunday, April 1, 2018 The Augusta Chronicle • Augusta.com


MASTERS 2018

The Augusta Chronicle • Augusta.com Sunday, April 1, 2018 M9

The

good

wife

Akins put Garcia

on positive path

toward green jacket

By Scott Michaux

Staff Writer

AUSTIN, Texas — Sergio

Garcia insisted he didn’t feel

any different as he sat in the

interview room wearing his

green jacket while trying to

explain how he finally got it

after 18 years of pursuit.

“I’m still the same guy,”

he said. “I’m still the same

goofy guy, so that’s not

going to change.”

That’s not the analysis

that was unfolding in the

clubhouse, where the members

were gathering for the

traditional victory party

Augusta National throws for

the newly minted Masters

champion and his entourage.

Marty and Pamela Akins –

parents of Garcia’s fiancee,

Angela – were sitting at a

table catching their breath

after a long emotional day.

One after another, members

and their spouses kept

approaching them, all saying

a variation of the exact same

thing.

“They said this is the most

incredible transformation

that they’d seen,” Marty

Akins said. “People just

poured over to us and told us

how different Sergio was. I

told Pamela they all had seen

what we’d seen. It was like

a miracle to a lot of them.”

The difference that they

and every other golf fan saw

that Sunday had nothing to

do with golf. Garcia at age

37 is as gifted and skilled a

golfer as he was when he first

came to Augusta at age 19.

Geoff Ogilvy, the 2006 U.S.

Open champion, calls Garcia

“the best ball-striker in the

world for the last 20 years.”

“All of the guys of my generation

who have played a lot

with Sergio would acknowledge

that fact,” Ogilvy told

Golf Digest’s John Huggan.

“No one has been more consistent

than Sergio. Nobody.

... I’ve seen guys hit it better

than Sergio. But I’ve never

seen anyone so good for so

long.”

All of that skill is a testament

to Garcia and his

father, Victor Sr., who has

been the only teacher the

Spaniard has ever known.

But what was different

about Garcia that Sunday

what enabled him to avoid

another collapse when

adversity and bogeys started

piling up around Amen

Corner – came from another

source. It came from three

generations of Texas sporting

aristocracy delivered by

the woman he loved.

“I think when you put

Sergio and Angela together

you’ve got a winning combination,”

said Marty Akins

of the couple who got married

in June. “I know Sergio

was a great golfer before he

met Angela. I know he did

outstanding things before

he met Angela. He’s won

all over the world. But I was

able to notice that something

happened to him and

he changed in a way that we

measure.”

Garcia doesn’t argue the

point considering the ultimate

measure is a major

championship.

“It’s true,” he said. “She’s

been an amazing influence.”

Family tradition

Akins first met Garcia in

2015 at the Houston Open

in her role as a Golf Channel

reporter, asking him a few

questions after his pro-am

Sergio Garcia celebrates with fiancee Angela Akins after his Masters Tournament victory. [ANDREW DAVIS TUCKER/THE AUGUSTA CHRONICLE]

Garcia met Akins when she was a Golf Channel reporter. “She’s an unbelievable woman, very driven

and very competitive,” he said. “So she’s always pushing me to become better not only as a player but

as a person.” [JOHN EVANS/GATEHOUSE MEDIA]

round.

“He was very, very nice,”

she said. “I was so busy

trying to do my job and

I’d just started at the Golf

Channel four months before

that. Honestly I didn’t think

anything of it. I just remember

Sergio always being one

of the nicest guys, not just to

me but all of the media.”

That was the extent of their

relationship for months,

occasionally running into

each other at tournaments

and exchanging pleasantries.

By the end of the year, Garcia

started asking Akins out.

When they started officially

dating in 2016, she resigned

from Golf Channel.

Garcia had found a kindred

spirit who gets him.

“For me it helps because I

could see that she can understand

me a little bit better

than some other people

might,” Garcia said. “It

made things a little bit easier

to deal with.”

It’s constructive to understand

how Angela Akins

Garcia grew up.

Her grandfather, Ray

Akins, was a Hall of Fame

high school coach in Texas

who won 302 games in 37

seasons under the Friday

night lights.

Her father, Marty, was an

All-American quarterback

at the University of Texas,

establishing rushing records

running the wishbone

offense in the mid-1970s

that weren’t surpassed until

Vince Young came along 30

years later. He preceded his

father into the Texas high

school football Hall of Fame.

Her first cousin is Drew

Brees, the former Purdue

All-American quarterback

who led the New Orleans

Saints to a Super Bowl win

and is less than 1,500 yards

from becoming the NFL’s

career passing leader. His

induction in the Texas high

school football Hall of Fame

in 2011 made them the first

family with three generations

enshrined.

“We are all highly competitive

no matter what we

do in this family,” said Pam

“For me it helps because

I could see that she can

understand me a little bit

better than some other

people might. It made

things a little bit easier to

deal with.”

Sergio Garcia, on his wife,

Angela

Akins. “I think Sergio really

likes that and fit right in.”

Angela was a stellar athlete

at track, basketball and

golf, eventually getting a

scholarship to join the Texas

women’s golf team.

“We always taught her to

expect to win,” her father

said. “There’s a saying in

our family that what you

think and what you believe

is who you are. My dad used

to say that all the time. So

if you think you’re the best

and believe you’re the best,

you’re going to be the best.

If you think you’re going to

win and believe you’re going

to win, you’re going to win.

She’s grown up with that her

whole life.”

Garcia quickly grew close

to Angela’s father and

grandfather. Ray Akins died

the day after Christmas at

age 92.

“If he was talking to you,

he would be subtly coaching

you and teaching you something,”

Pam Akins said of

her father-in-law. “I think

between Marty and his dad,

their philosophy has had an

impact on Sergio.”

Those lessons are absorbed

every day with Angela in

Garcia’s life.

See ANGELA, M10


M10 Sunday, April 1, 2018 The Augusta Chronicle • Augusta.com

MASTERS 2018

ANGELA

From Page M9

“I think my father and

grandfather have had

a positive influence on

Sergio,” Angela said.

“I get my competitive

spirit and my drive and

my confidence from

them, and so I think they

passed that on to Sergio

a little bit.”

Said her father: “I just

see a different kind of

guy when Angela’s with

him. Pam and I take no

credit for any of it. She

was just brought up that

way. She expects to win

just like all the Akins clan

expects to win.”

Uplifted

Athletes pay a lot of

money to sports psychologists

in hopes

that planting the right

thoughts will be the difference

in winning.

Garcia has worked

with sports psychologists

before, but he got

engaged to a veritable

Norman Vincent Peale

in the positive thinking

department. Akins

conducted a 24-7 intervention

during Masters

Week that Bob Rotella

could never pull off.

“There was something

about that week that felt

right and felt like something

I wanted to do,”

she said.

It started weeks in

advance with a letterwriting

campaign. Akins

solicited all the people

closest to Garcia – family

and friends, including

Jose Maria Olazabal –

to write him personal

notes with only two

directives.

“I said write whatever

you want to Sergio but

maybe include why you

love him and why you

know he can win this

tournament,” she said.

The letters came pouring

in the weeks leading

up to the Masters, many

via email.

“Then my mom and I

rewrote them in different

handwriting – like

left-handed and stuff to

look as if different people

had written them,”

Angela said. “The notes

were incredible. I was

crying reading them.”

The pile of letters

greeted Garcia when he

got to Augusta, and they

had a powerful effect on

him as he prepared for

the tournament.

“They were extremely

special,” he said. “They

Fireworks go off at the July wedding of Sergio Garcia and Angela Akins. [JENNIFER LINDBERG WEDDINGS/COURTESY OF

ANGELA GARCIA]

were proper notes – 10

or 15 pages, all of them.

So many amazing things.

Why they love me and

why they believed I could

win. So many encouraging

words.”

Olazabal’s note

included a plea that

Garcia said “touched my

heart.”

“I’m not sharing my

locker at the moment,

and I hope that I get to

do it with you,” Olazabal

wrote of his place in the

champions locker room

at Augusta.

Phase II of Angela’s

plan was to fill the bathroom

mirror with green

Post-it notes so that he

would wake up every

morning to affirmations

from numerous sources

including Buddha,

Nelson Mandela and

Teddy Roosevelt.

“Short little phrases

from important people

and some of her own,”

Garcia said. “It was

really nice to wake up

and be brushing your

teeth and see ‘You’re the

best’ and ‘Don’t forget to

be amazing!’”

“Something in talking

with Angela about how

great he was and he was

going to win that tournament,

he believed it,”

Marty Akins said.

Angela smiled at

Garcia’s retelling.

“I’ve just tried to be

there for him every step

of the way and remind

him often just how great

he is,” she said.

Sunday support

All of those lessons

and affirmations took

hold when Garcia needed

it most during Sunday’s

final round. The tournament

had basically boiled

down to Garcia vs. Justin

Rose in the final pairing

as they turned to the

second nine tied for the

lead and a few shots clear

of anyone else.

Then Garcia made

bogeys on Nos. 10 and

11 to fall two behind.

When his drive on No. 13

clipped a tree branch and

caromed into an azalea

bush on the wrong side

of the tributary to Rae’s

Creek, a bleak familiarity

settled in.

“I just think that

maybe in the old days

Sergio might have

thought that bad luck

had jumped on his back,”

Marty said. “All the

adversity and the defeat

that was staring him in

the face, he may not have

been able to overcome

that.”

Instead of cursing

his luck, Garcia took

it in stride and moved

forward with a new purpose.

He took a penalty

drop in the pine straw,

punched out into the

fairway, wedged it to 7

feet and drained the putt

to save par and remain

only two behind Rose.

“I kept believing in

myself and kept telling

myself it’s your

time and you’re playing

great,” he said. “The

way you’re playing you

can make something

happen so let’s keep at it.

It was as simple as that.

Sometimes we seem to

over think things. A lot

of times just the simplest

thought is all you need.

Just keep believing.”

Akins felt the same

way outside the ropes.

“It was a roller coaster

of emotions,” she said. “I

remember thinking at 10

and 11, ‘This isn’t over.’

I never once doubted

Sergio. I never once lost

the confidence he was

going to win that day. I

don’t know where that

came from, but I had that

confidence the entire

time.”

His own confidence

sparked anew with the

par save, he hit two perfect

shots to set up birdie

on No. 14 – the hole formerly

known as Spanish

Dagger. After he hit

his approach to 4 feet,

he looked left and spotted

Angela outside the

ropes.

“Somehow he turned

and looked right at me

in this sea of people,”

she said. “We gave each

other fist pumps.”

The ‘True’ Sergio

For only the second

time in his career, Garcia

stood over a putt to win

a major on the last hole

of regulation. Like his

attempt at Carnoustie

in 2007 that lipped out,

his 5-footer for birdie at

Augusta never took the

break and stayed out of

the hole.

Garcia, however,

remained positive with

another assist from his

fiancee as he walked off

the back of the green to

go sign his scorecard.

“She could have given

me a hug and said,

‘It’s okay, baby, don’t

worry, you’ll get it,’” he

said in a consoling tone.

“It’s more of a negative

embrace. Instead of that

she just gave me a low

five, looked at me and

said ‘You’ve got this.’ I

was like, yeah, perfect.

I kept going with a good

attitude.”

That was the instinct

of Angela’s athletic

upbringing.

“Anyone who knows

athletes, it’s so important

to have the right

thoughts in your head,”

she said. “I never say

anything that’s going

to put a thought in his

head that I don’t think

is going to be helpful. So

after he missed the putt

I just said to him, ‘You

fought your way back;

you’ve got this.’ That’s

what came to my mind

and I thought would be

the most helpful for him

to hear.”

While Rose struggled

to a bogey on the first

hole of sudden death,

Garcia painted a perfect

drive, solid approach

and curled in a 12-footer

for birdie to win. All

of his frustrations that

had been bottled up for

18 years came out in

a primal scream as he

crouched in celebration.

“A lot of things Sergio

was able to accomplish

that day were pretty

miraculous,” said Marty

Akins. “I think Angela

has had a tremendous

impact on Sergio.”

Garcia said that in

that winning moment,

all of the people who

helped him along the

way came flooding out

in his emotional display

– his parents and management

team who have

been with him every

step of his career and his

new family that brought

his life a new level of

fulfillment.

“She’s an unbelievable

woman, very driven and

very competitive,” he

said . “So she’s always

pushing me to become

better not only as a

player but as a person.

It is a team effort, not

only Angela and myself.

Our whole families and

managers and everybody

that we work with

try to help us out to make

us better. With those

things coming together

it helped me obviously

to see things a little differently

at Augusta last

year.”

Angela is flattered that

some people give her

a little bit of credit for

assisting Garcia’s longawaited

breakthrough,

but she knew he had it in

him all along.

“We’re so new to the

Sergio team and there

were a lot of things

going right for Sergio

way before any of us ever

met him,” she said. “His

dad has done a phenomenal

job coaching him his

whole life and obviously

his mom and dad have

been there for everything

and he’s had the same

managers for many,

many years. I just think

that now just one more

piece of the puzzle has

been added and it’s the

piece that has brought it

all together.”

While folks watching

Garcia tame his demons

to finally win the Masters

might believe they saw a

changed man, all they

really saw was a more

complete version of the

same old Sergio.

“Sergio’s not a different

person,” his

wife said. “I think what

people are seeing now

when they watch Sergio

play golf, whether at a

tournament or watching

on TV, is they’re seeing

Sergio’s true personality.

The Sergio you also

get off the golf course,

which is the Sergio I fell

in love with – this happy,

light hearted, funny guy

who just attracts people

and makes them want to

be around him.

“I think that true personality

has come out

on the golf course and

that has helped him be

so successful in the last

few years. He’s worked

really, really hard.”

Baby Azalea extends Masters theme in Garcia's life

By Scott Michaux

Staff Writer

For many newly

engaged couples, the

conversation often turns

to having children.

After their engagement

on New Year’s 2017,

Angela Akins planted

two seeds when the topic

came up with her fiance

Sergio Garcia – that they

would have a child and it

would come after winning

a major.

“She said we should

name our first baby

something related to

where you win your first

grand slam,” Garcia

said. “I hoped it wasn’t

Shinnecock.”

Garcia wasted no time

getting the major part out

of the way with his playoff

victory at the Masters

Tournament. They

were married in July and

announced their pregnancy

in October.

Kicking around

Masters-related ideas for

their baby girl, there were

plenty of girlish names

Marty and Pamela Akins (from left) joined their daughter Angela and Sergio Garcia

and his parents, Consuelo and Victor Garcia, after the wedding at the Akins family

ranch. [PHOTOS BY JENNIFER LINDBERG PHOTOGRAPHY]

to consider – Augusta,

Magnolia, Jasmine, Holly.

But only one stood out as

perfect, sounding a little

bit Spanish and English

while meaning the same

thing in both languages.

Azalea Adele Garcia

was born in the wee hours

of March 14 in Austin,

Texas.

It was the perfect choice

since Garcia’s victory last

April bloomed out of the

middle of an azalea bush

on the 13th hole, appropriately

named Azalea.

It was from that azalea

where Garcia summoned

the strength to fight back

from a two-shot deficit

and an unplayable lie to

rally and win the green

jacket.

“If it’s meant to be,”

Garcia said of the situation

that could easily

have derailed his major

hopes again. “Saturday

my ball hit the bank and

The party after the

wedding had a theme of

Masters green, including

the special beer koozies.

Sergio Garcia’s gifts for

his groomsmen were

Masters-green Adidas

shoes.

stayed up and (Sunday) it

hit the tree and went into

the azaleas. So that was

meant to happen.”

The Garcias have

enjoyed a very Mastersthemed

life over the past

12 months. Garcia wore

his green jacket for the

ceremonial kickoff before

an El Clasico soccer

match at the Bernabeu,

where Lionel Messi’s

Barcelona beat Garcia’s

beloved Real Madrid 3-2.

It showed up again in a

VIP box at Wimbledon.

Had the Minnesota

miracle not eliminated

Angela’s first cousin,

Drew Brees, and the

Saints from the NFL

playoffs, the green jacket

might have shown up at

the Super Bowl.

The most unique

appearance for the green

jacket, however, came in

July on the Akins family

ranch. The newly married

Garcias burst into

the wedding reception

tent with him wearing

the green jacket for their

first dance.

Much of the wedding

afterparty's theme was an

homage to Masters green

– from the icing on the

cookies to the special beer

koozies to the fireworks

display. Even Garcia’s

gifts for his groomsmen

were Masters-green

Adidas shoes.


MASTERS 2018

The Augusta Chronicle • Augusta.com Sunday, April 1, 2018 M11

Sergio Garcia holds the winner’s trophy during the green jacket ceremony following the final round of the 2017 Masters. [ANDREW DAVIS TUCKER/THE AUGUSTA CHRONICLE]


M12 Sunday, April 1, 2018 The Augusta Chronicle • Augusta.com

MASTERS 2018

“Hopefully, it is a Masters that goes down [in history]. Masters Sunday, it’s a special day.

Being in the final group is an incredible experience. The crowd, there’s a lot of energy out there.”

Justin Rose, 2017 Masters runner-up

Splendor in the grass

Garcia, Rose engaged in classic

final-round duel at 2017 Masters

By David Westin

Staff Writer

Before Sergio Garcia

and Justin Rose went

head-to-head in the 2017

Masters Tournament, it

had been four years since

two men battled on the

final nine with the green

jacket on the line.

In 2013, Adam Scott

outdueled Angel Cabrara

as the rest of the field

played for third place.

The difference between

that match-up and the

Garcia-Rose battle was

that Scott and Cabrera

were not in same group,

as Garcia and Rose were.

Both ended in sudden

death, with Scott and

Garcia emerging to

win their first major

championship .

“He played awesome.

I played nicely, too,”

Garcia said of Rose. “So

it was nice to be able to

battle that out with him,

throughout the whole

day.”

“Hopefully, it is a

Masters that goes down

[in history],” Rose said.

“Masters Sunday, it’s a

special day. Being in the

final group is an incredible

experience. The

crowd, there’s a lot of

energy out there. I was

really interested and surprised

that nobody was

able to make a run during

the front nine. Sergio got

off to a great start, and

when I birdied 6, 7 and 8,

it became pretty apparent

that it was me and him

down the stretch, really. ”

Garcia and Rose traded

haymakers over the final

five holes.

In a sudden-death

playoff, Garcia settled

Future Masters

2019: April 8-14

2020: April 6-12

2021: April 5-11

2022: April 4-10

2023: April 3-9

the issue on the first

hole – No. 18 – sinking

a 12-foot birdie for the

victory.

It was the 37-year-old

Garcia’s first win in 74

major championships,

four of which he’d been

runner-up. Winning

in his 19th start in the

Masters earned Garcia

the record for most

starts for a champion at

Augusta National before

winning. The record

had been 15, by Mark

O’Meara in 1998.

Garcia and Rose

started the day tied for

the lead and shot 3-under

69s to finish at 9-under

279. Garcia opened with

71-69-70 while Rose

shot 71-72-67 in the first

three rounds. The nextclosest

golfer – 2011

Masters champ Charl

Schwartzel – finished

three shots back.Garcia

led by three shots after

five holes, but Rose birdied

Nos. 6, 7 and 8, and

both made the turn tied

for the lead after 2-under

34s.After 12 holes,

Garcia had fallen two

shots behind Rose and

saw his drive on No. 13

clip the trees on the left

side of the fairway and go

left, across the tributary

of Rae’s Creek. He had

to take an unplayable lie

and punched out, leaving

89 yards to the pin. He

knocked it to 7 feet and

made that for par.Rose,

meanwhile, had to settle

Sergio Garcia embraces Justin Rose after defeating him on the first playoff hole at

last year’s Masters. The two started Sunday tied for the lead. “He played awesome,”

Garcia said of Rose. “I played nicely, too.” [MICHAEL HOLAHAN/THE AUGUSTA CHRONICLE]

for a par on No. 13, missing

a 6-footer for birdie.

“That little two-shot

swing there was kind of

when he was back in the

tournament,” Rose said.

“I feel like, if he misses

at that point, I’m four

clear.”

Garcia got within one

when he birdied No. 14.

He left No. 15 tied for

the lead when he made

an electrifying 12-footer

for eagle, while Rose

made birdie.

“No. 13 was great, 14

was really nice, but 15,

everything about it ... the

energy I felt mostly on

the putt when it dropped

was very special,” Garcia

said in February. “That

was special. Every time I

see it I get goosebumps.”

Rose birdied No. 16 to

take back the lead but

bogeyed No. 17. They

both parred No. 18,

missing birdie putts.

For Garcia, it was

the second time in his

career he had a putt on

the 72nd hole of a major

to win – he missed a

putt at the 2007 British

Open and lost in a fourhole

playoff to Padraig

Harrington.

“For me the situation

was a little different,”

Garcia said in February.

“Last time I had it at

Carnoustie I bogeyed

the last. So I had a putt

to win. Now I wish I

could have seen that

differently. But in 2007,

I bogeyed the last and

so it’s like I gave it away

kind of thing. Even

though I was still in a

playoff, I made a bogey

and it wasn’t like I had a

birdie putt and got a little

unlucky. I wish I would

have seen it differently.

But that’s the way I saw

it this time.”

At the 2017 Masters,

“I was coming back,

making a great comeback

after those two bogeys

(on No. 10 and 11) and got

myself a putt to win.”

Garcia said he thought

his putt on No. 18 in regulation

was good.

“ That’s why when

you see my reaction it’s

not a (moan) it’s a surprised

look because I’m

thinking I hit a good putt

and how does it not go

left,” he said. “I left the

hole thinking I played it

great and gave myself a

chance, and unfortunately

I didn’t make my

birdie. But you still have

another shot.”

2017 Masters Tournament results

1 x-Sergio Garcia 71-69-70-69—279 $1,980,000

2 Justin Rose 71-72-67-69—279 $1,188,000

3 Charl Schwartzel 74-72-68-68—282 $748,000

T4 Matt Kuchar 72-73-71-67—283 $484,000

T4 Thomas Pieters 72-68-75-68—283 $484,000

6 Paul Casey 72-75-69-68—284 $396,000

T7 Kevin Chappell 71-76-70-68—285 $354,750

T7 Rory McIlroy 72-73-71-69—285 $354,750

T9 Ryan Moore 75-69-69-73—286 $308,000

T9 Adam Scott 74-69-69-74—286 $308,000

T11 Rickie Fowler 73-67-71-76—287 $233,200

T11 Russell Henley 71-76-71-69—287 $233,200

T11 Brooks Koepka 74-73-71-69—287 $233,200

T11 Hideki Matsuyama 76-70-74-67—287 $233,200

T11 Jordan Spieth 75-69-68-75—287 $233,200

T16 Martin Kaymer 78-68-74-68—288 $181,500

T16 Steve Stricker 75-73-72-68—288 $181,500

T18 Fred Couples 73-70-74-72—289 $148,500

T18 Pat Perez 74-74-70-71—289 $148,500

T18 Jimmy Walker 76-71-70-72—289 $148,500

T18 Lee Westwood 70-77-68-74—289 $148,500

T22 Jason Day 74-76-69-71—290 $105,600

T22 Charley Hoffman 65-75-72-78—290 $105,600

T22 William McGirt 69-73-74-74—290 $105,600

T22 Phil Mickelson 71-73-74-72—290 $105,600

T22 Justin Thomas 73-76-71-70—290 $105,600

T27 Daniel Berger 77-73-72-69—291 $78,100

T27 Branden Grace 76-74-71-70—291 $78,100

T27 Jon Rahm 73-70-73-75—291 $78,100

T27 Brandt Snedeker 75-74-69-73—291 $78,100

T27 Brendan Steele 74-73-75-69—291 $78,100

32 Matthew Fitzpatrick 71-78-73-70—292 $68,200

T33 Byeong-Hun An 76-73-74-70—293 $62,150

T33 Jason Dufner 71-76-70-76—293 $62,150

T33 Francesco Molinari 78-72-71-72—293 $62,150

T36 Bill Haas 75-72-71-76 —294 $52,938

T36 Adam Hadwin 75-74-75-70 —294 $52,938

T36 *Stewart Hagestad 74-73-74-73—294

T36 Soren Kjeldsen 72-73-71-78—294 $52,938

T36 Brian Stuard 77-70-74-73—294 $52,938

T41 Ross Fisher 76-74-74-71—295 $46,200

T41 Louis Oosthuizen 77-71-76-71—295 $46,200

T43 Kevin Kisner 74-75-74-73—296 $40,700

T43 Marc Leishman 73-74-78-71—296 $40,700

T43 Bernd Wiesberger 77-72-76-71—296 $40,700

T46 *Curtis Luck 78-72-75-72—297

T46 Daniel Summerhays 74-75-75-73—297 $36,300

T48 James Hahn 75-75-75-73—298 $33,000

T48 Andy Sullivan 71-78-76-73—298 $33,000

50 J.B. Holmes 78-72-73-76—299 $30,140

51 Emiliano Grillo 79-70-73-78—300 $28,600

52 Larry Mize 74-76-79-76—305 $27,720

53 Ernie Els 72-75-83-78—308 $27,060

MISSED CUT

T54 Jim Furyk 78-73—151 $10,000

T54 Billy Hurley III 75-76—151 $10,000

T54 Yuta Ikeda 74-77—151 $10,000

T54 Zach Johnson 77-74—151 $10,000

T54 Shane Lowry 72-79—151 $10,000

T54 Kevin Na 76-75—151 $10,000

T54 Danny Willett 73-78—151 $10,000

T54 Chris Wood 74-77—151 $10,000

T62 Rafa Cabrera-Bello 75-77—152 $10,000

T62 Tommy Fleetwood 78-74—152 $10,000

T62 Russell Knox 76-76—152 $10,000

T62 Alexander Noren 74-78—152 $10,000

T62 Rod Pampling 74-78—152 $10,000

T62 Scott Piercy 73-79—152 $10,000

T62 Webb Simpson 75-77—152 $10,000

T62 Henrik Stenson 77-75—152 $10,000

T62 Bubba Watson 74-78—152 $10,000

T71 *Brad Dalke 78-75—153

T71 Bernhard Langer 75-78—153 $10,000

T71 Sean O’Hair 76-77—153 $10,000

T71 Jose-Maria Olazabal 77-76—153 $10,000

T71 Patrick Reed 76-77—153 $10,000

T71 Vijay Singh 78-75—153 $10,000

T71 Hudson Swafford 77-76—153 $10,000

T78 Angel Cabrera 79-75—154 $10,000

T78 Jhonattan Vegas 78-76—154 $10,000

T78 Ian Woosnam 76-78—154 $10,000

T81 Trevor Immelman 79-76—155 $10,000

T81 Mike Weir 76-79—155 $10,000

T81 Gary Woodland 75-80—155 $10,000

T84 Si Woo Kim 75-81—156 $10,000

T84 Mark O’Meara 78-78—156 $10,000

T84 Hideto Tanihara 76-80—156 $10,000

T84 Jeunghun Wang 78-78—156 $10,000

T88 Roberto Castro 79-78—157 $10,000

T88 *Scott Gregory 82-75—157

90 Tyrrell Hatton 80-78—158 $10,000

91 Mackenzie Hughes 79-80—159 $10,000

92 Sandy Lyle 77-83—160 $10,000

93 *Toto Gana 81-80—161

x-Won in playoff

*Amateur


MASTERS 2018

The Augusta Chronicle • Augusta.com Sunday, April 1, 2018 M13

Wrist injury will keep Koepka out of Masters

By Scott Michaux

Staff Writer

Brooks Koepka spends

so much time hanging

out with Dustin Johnson

that a lot of the world

No. 1’s habits seem to be

rubbing off on him – not

all of them ideal.

After following

Johnson’s example to

win his own U.S. Open

in overpowering fashion

a year after his closest

tour friend, Koepka is

maintaining the pattern

by copying Johnson and

missing the Masters with

an injury.

After finishing last

in the Bahamas and

Kapalua in December

and January, an MRI

revealed that Koepka had

a torn tendon in his left

wrist that would sideline

him at least two months.

With treatment instead

of surgery, he had set

his sights on returning

in time for Augusta.

Two weeks before

the Masters, however,

Koepka admitted that he

might not be able to play

after the latest assessment

from his doctors.

“They said I would be

about 80 percent, but I

can’t play 80 percent,”

Koepka said March 20 .

“I either have to go full

bore or not at all. I don’t

want to risk getting it reinjured

and then be out a

long time.”

Koepka informed

Masters officials a week

later that he would not

play, according to The

Associated Press.

Like Johnson’s slip on

the stairs on the eve of

the Masters last year,

Koepka’s timing was

unfortunate. He’d just

finished runner-up in the

WGC event in China and

won the Dunlop Phoenix

in Japan to climb to No.

7 in the world before he

started feeling pain in

his wrist playing in the

Hero World Challenge in

the Bahamas. He hasn’t

missed a cut in 19 worldwide

starts since 2017 at

Bay Hill.

It was at the U.S. Open

where Koepka finally

revealed his full potential

in a major where

he already had shown a

knack for strong play.

He’s made the cut in 15

Brooks Koepka overpowered the longest course in U.S. Open history last June to win

by four strokes. He’s made the cut in 15 consecutive majors since 2013, finishing in

the top 20 in 11 of them and the top 10 six times, including a sixth-place finish at the

Tour Championship in September. [MICHAEL HOLAHAN/THE AUGUSTA CHRONICLE]

consecutive majors since

2013, finishing in the top

20 in 11 of them and the

top 10 six times.

“There’s something

about majors where I

just focus in a lot more,”

Koepka said. “Obviously

I need to do that more

often. But it’s got my

full attention. Every

shot, every putt – even

if it’s 12 inches – I’m

still reading it, still doing

everything, and it’s got

my attention.”

Koepka grabbed

everyone’s attention

on Sunday at Erin Hills

when he overpowered

the longest course in

U.S. Open history and

pulled away from Brian

Harman and Hideki

Matsuyama .

Koepka’s final-round

67 left him 16-under

par, tying the U.S.

Open scoring record in

relation to par set by

Rory McIlroy in 2011 at

Congressional.

His unblemished finish

and almost casual style

was eerily similar to

Johnson the year before

at Oakmont. Koepka

took to heart the advice

from Johnson in a twominute

phone call on the

eve of the final round to

remain patient and just

do his thing.

“I’ve been trying to

win so badly,” he said.

Brooks Koepka has been improving in his Masters

finishes, tying for 33rd, 21st and 11th in his three

previous starts at Augusta. [MICHAEL HOLAHAN/THE

AUGUSTA CHRONICLE]

Brooks Koepka

Age: 27

Height: 6-0

Weight: 186

Residence:

Jupiter, Fla.

College:

Florida State

University

World Ranking: 10

Career victories: 5

Tournament invitation:

2017 U.S. Open champion*

*A full list of qualifications is on 2M.

Record at the Masters

Best Finish: T11

Earnings: $403,200

’15: 74-71-71-72–288 T33

’16: 73-72-76-72–293 T21

’17: 74-73-71-69–287 T11

“I felt like I’ve underachieved.

And the

more patient that I can

become, the more times

I’ll put myself in this

situation.”

It was a pretty good

breakthrough for a

27-year-old who’d previously

won only once

each on the European

and PGA tours.

“I just felt like I should

be winning more,” he

said. “I don’t know why.

It’s one of those things.

Not a big fan of losing

– I don’t think anyone

out here is. And I just

couldn’t stand the fact

that I’d only won once

Future U.S. Opens

June 14-17 : Shinnecock

Hills Golf Club

June 13-16, 2019: Pebble

Beach Golf Links

June 18-21, 2020: Winged

Foot Golf Club

June 17-20, 2021: Torrey

Pines Golf Course

(on the PGA Tour).”

Before this setback,

Koepka had been trending

upward every year

at Augusta – finishing

in ties for 33rd, 21st and

11th in his three previous

Masters starts.

When he hangs out

with Johnson in the gym

or at each other’s home

in Florida, they don’t

typically discuss strategies

to conquer Augusta

National or any other

golf course.

“To be honest with

you, I don’t think we’ve

ever really talked about

golf,” Koepka said.

“More just laughing,

having a good time and

hanging out and it’s

nothing. Maybe when

we play practice rounds,

that’s about the only

time we ever talk about

golf.”

The biggest issue for

both at the Masters turns

out to be just getting to

the first tee.

U.S. Open champions

2017: Brooks Koepka

2016: Dustin Johnson

2015: Jordan Spieth

2014: Martin Kaymer

2013: Justin Rose

2012: Webb Simpson

2011: Rory McIlroy

2010: Graeme McDowell

2009: Lucas Glover

2008: x-Tiger Woods

2007: Angel Cabrera

2006: Geoff Ogilvy

2005: Michael Campbell

2004: Retief Goosen

2003: Jim Furyk

2002: Tiger Woods

2001: x-Retief Goosen

2000: Tiger Woods

1999: Payne Stewart

1998: Lee Janzen

1997: Ernie Els

1996: Steve Jones

1995: Corey Pavin

1994: x-Ernie Els

1993: Lee Janzen

1992: Tom Kite

1991: x-Payne Stewart

1990: x-Hale Irwin

1989: Curtis Strange

1988: x-Curtis Strange

1987: Scott Simpson

1986: Ray Floyd

1985: Andy North

1984: x-Fuzzy Zoeller

1983: Larry Nelson

1982: Tom Watson

1981: David Graham

1980: Jack Nicklaus

1979: Hale Irwin

1978: Andy North

1977: Hubert Green

1976: Jerry Pate

1975: x-Lou Graham

1974: Hale Irwin

1973: Johnny Miller

1972: Jack Nicklaus

1971: x-Lee Trevino

1970: Tony Jacklin

1969: Orville Moody

1968: Lee Trevino

1967: Jack Nicklaus

1966: x-Billy Casper

1965: x-Gary Player

1964: Ken Venturi

1963: x-Julius Boros

1962: x-Jack Nicklaus

1961: Gene Littler

1960: Arnold Palmer

1959: Billy Casper

1958: Tommy Bolt

1957: x-Dick Mayer

1956: Cary Middlecoff

1955: x-Jack Fleck

1954: Ed Furgol

1953: Ben Hogan

1952: Julius Boros

1951: Ben Hogan

1950: x-Ben Hogan

1949: Cary Middlecoff

1948: Ben Hogan

1947: x-Lew Worsham

1946: x-Lloyd Mangrum

1942-45: No tournament*

1941: Craig Wood

1940: x-Lawson Little

1939: x-Byron Nelson

1938: Ralph Guldahl

1937: Ralph Guldahl

1936: Tony Manero

1935: Sam Parks Jr.

1934: Olin Dutra

1933: Johnny Goodman

1932: Gene Sarazen

1931: x-Billy Burke

1930: Bobby Jones

1929: x-Bobby Jones

1928: x-Johnny Farrell

1927: x-Tommy Armour

1926: Bobby Jones

1925: x-Willie MacFarlane

1924: Cyril Walker

1923: x-Bobby Jones

1922: Gene Sarazen

1921: James M. Barnes

1920: Edward Ray

1919: x-Walter Hagen

1917-18: No tournament**

1916: Charles Evans Jr.

1915: Jerome Travers

1914: Walter Hagen

1913: Francis Ouimet

1912: John McDermott

1911: John McDermott

1910: Alex Smith

1909: George Sargent

1908: Fred McLeod

1907: Alex Ross

1906: Alex Smith

1905: Willie Anderson

1904: Willie Anderson

1903: Willie Anderson

1902: Laurie Auchterlonie

1901: Willie Anderson

1900: Harry Vardon

1899: Willie Smith

1898: Fred Herd

1897: Joe Lloyd

1896: James Foulis

1895: Horace Rawlins

x-won in playoff

*World War II

**World War I


M14 Sunday, April 1, 2018 The Augusta Chronicle • Augusta.com

MASTERS 2018

Spieth eager to click into Masters mode

By Scott Michaux

Staff Writer

Sunday of the 2017

Masters was a little

disorienting for Jordan

Spieth.

It wasn’t the fact that

he was not in the final

twosome for the first

time in four career starts

at Augusta. He was OK

sitting only two shots

back to start in the penultimate

pairing.

The part that was

tough to stomach for

Spieth was reaching the

10th tee without being a

part of the hunt on the

second nine.

“I walked away disappointed

that I didn’t

have a chance to win at

the turn,” said Spieth,

who had fallen six shots

behind the co-leaders

after nine holes.

“Because starting the

day in the second-to-last

group you want to feel

like once you make the

turn you have a chance.

If I’d started the day in

35th and didn’t have a

shot, that’s one thing;

you have fun playing

the golf course and try to

shoot the lowest round

possible. But when you

start in the second-tolast

group you’re looking

to be at or near the lead at

the turn.”

Still only 24, Spieth

has become as much of

a Sunday afternoon fixture

at the Masters as

the roars. He’d finished

2-1-2 in his first three

starts, which could have

been all wins. So when

he rallied from an opening

75 to put himself

in fourth place to start

the final round, he was

expected to be a factor

down the stretch yet

again.

Yet despite feeling

as comfortable as

ever, he tumbled to a

career-worst tie for

11th with another 75

that he described as

“bizarre.”

“It was the most free

that I’ve ever felt at

Augusta National, and

so happens that I end up

shooting one of my worst

Jordan Spieth entered the final round of last year’s Masters in fourth place but fell to

a career-worst tie for 11th after shooting 75. [MICHAEL HOLAHAN/THE AUGUSTA CHRONICLE]

rounds,” he lamented.

Not that Spieth’s confidence

at Augusta took a

hit. He managed to insert

himself into the mix

despite bringing nothing

close to his A-game

last year.

“I wasn’t on; I wasn’t

playing well at all that

week,” he said. “I just

kind of found a way to go

about it. Which is room

for confidence right

now. I still feel like that

golf course is tailor made

for me. I was just upset

that it wasn’t on the back

nine.”

At Royal Birkdale,

three months after the

Masters , Spieth showed

what he’s capable of

given any wiggle room

on the back nine of a

major. Dueling with

Matt Kuchar, Spieth's

drive missed the 13th

hole wide right, and

after a protracted ruling

he had to take a penalty

drop onto the back of the

practice range. He salvaged

bogey to slip only

a shot behind Kuchar

but followed it up with

a birdie-eagle-birdiebirdie

binge to win the

British Open and claim

the third leg of a career

grand slam.

The quick reversal

is illustrative of how

Spieth’s fortunes can

turn in a snap.

Jordan Spieth

Age: 24

Height: 6-1

Weight: 185

Residence:

Dallas, Texas

College:

University of

Texas

World Ranking: 4

Career victories: 13

Tournament invitation:

2015 Masters champion*

*A full list of qualifications is on 2M.

Record at the Masters

Best Finish: WIN

Earnings: $3,705,200

’14: 71-70-70-72–283 T2

’15: 64-66-70-70–270 WIN

’16: 66-74-73-73–286 T2

’17: 75-69-68-75–287 T11

“You saw it at the

British,” he said. “I

mean, I was all over the

place to start the final

round and I had one putt

and then rattled them

all off. I don’t want to

be streaky; I’d rather be

consistent. But the good

news is my confidence

can flip into a pretty

elite level once that kind

of clicks.”

Despite searching for

the right switch in the

months leading back to

Augusta, Spieth believes

he’s ready to flip the light

on when he turns down

Magnolia Lane.

“Actually really like

where I’m at right at

this second in regards to

approaching Augusta,”

he said in March. “We’re

in a very similar position

to 2015 (when he

Jordan Spieth

won his third

leg of the

career grand

slam at the

British Open

in July, closing

with birdieeagle-birdiebirdie

on Nos.

14-17 in the

final round.

[MICHAEL

HOLAHAN/

THE AUGUSTA

CHRONICLE]

Future British Opens

July 19-22 : Carnoustie Golf

Links

July 18-21, 2019: Royal

Portrush Golf Club

July 16-19, 2020: Royal St.

George’s Golf Club

July 2021: The Old Course,

St. Andrews

won the Masters and

U.S. Open and threatened

to win the grand

slam). So, tremendous

year going to take place

from here on out. I really

consider the Masters the

start of the season with

anything leading into it

as a preparation for the

Masters.”

That his results thus

far have been underwhelming

is not a grave

concern as his major

"season opener" looms.

“I’ve missed the cut

twice the week before

and had a chance to win

on Sunday at Augusta,”

he said. “I’ve missed the

cut and won the next

week. Certainly you

want to see progress

and some low rounds,

but I’ve been shooting

4- or 5-under in regular

rounds and pro-ams

and at home, and that’s

the stuff I’ve been looking

for. I know that I’m

close. I’ve been saying

that and I know that

I’m not performing on

what I’m saying yet,

but I really do believe

I’ve just got to match

my eyes up and then it

clicks.”

British Open champions

2017: Jordan Spieth

2016: Henrik Stenson

2015: Zach Johnson

2014: Rory McIlroy

2013: Phil Mickelson

2012: Ernie Els

2011: Darren Clarke

2010: Louis Oosthuizen

2009: x-Stewart Cink

2008: Padraig Harrington

2007: x-Padraig Harrington

2006: Tiger Woods

2005: Tiger Woods

2004: x-Todd Hamilton

2003: Ben Curtis

2002: x-Ernie Els

2001: David Duval

2000: Tiger Woods

1999: x-Paul Lawrie

1998: x-Mark O’Meara

1997: Justin Leonard

1996: Tom Lehman

1995: x-John Daly

1994: Nick Price

1993: Greg Norman

1992: Nick Faldo

1991: Ian Baker-Finch

1990: Nick Faldo

1989: x-Mark Calcavecchia

1988: Seve Ballesteros

1987: Nick Faldo

1986: Greg Norman

1985: Sandy Lyle

1984: Seve Ballesteros

1983: Tom Watson

1982: Tom Watson

1981: Bill Rogers

1980: Tom Watson

1979: Seve Ballesteros

1978: Jack Nicklaus

1977: Tom Watson

1976: Johnny Miller

1975: x-Tom Watson

1974: Gary Player

1973: Tom Weiskopf

1972: Lee Trevino

1971: Lee Trevino

1970: x-Jack Nicklaus

1969: Tony Jacklin

1968: Gary Player

1967: Roberto De Vicenzo

1966: Jack Nicklaus

1965: Peter Thomson

1964: Tony Lema

1963: x-Bob Charles

1962: Arnold Palmer

1961: Arnold Palmer

1960: Kel Nagle

1959: Gary Player

1958: x-Peter Thomson

1957: Bobby Locke

1956: Peter Thomson

1955: Peter Thomson

1954: Peter Thomson

1953: Ben Hogan

1952: Bobby Locke

1951: Max Faulkner

1950: Bobby Locke

1949: x-Bobby Locke

1948: Henry Cotton

1947: Fred Daly

1946: Sam Snead

1940-45: No tournament*

1939: Richard Burton

1938: R.A. Whitcombe

1937: Henry Cotton

1936: Alfred Padgham

1935: Alfred Perry

1934: Henry Cotton

1933: x-Denny Shute

1932: Gene Sarazen

1931: Tommy Armour

1930: Bobby Jones

1929: Walter Hagen

1928: Walter Hagen

1927: Bobby Jones

1926: Bobby Jones

1925: James M. Barnes

1924: Walter Hagen

1923: Arthur G. Havers

1922: Walter Hagen

1921: x-Jock Hutchison

1920: George Duncan

1915-19: No tournament**

1914: Harry Vardon

1913: John H. Taylor

1912: Edward Ray

1911: x-Harry Vardon

1910: James Braid

1909: John H. Taylor

1908: James Braid

1907: Arnaud Massy

1906: James Braid

1905: James Braid

1904: Jack White

1903: Harry Vardon

1902: Alexander Herd

1901: James Braid

1900: John H. Taylor

1899: Harry Vardon

1898: Harry Vardon

1897: Harold H. Hilton

1896: x-Harry Vardon

1895: John H. Taylor

1894: John H. Taylor

1893: William Auchterlonie

1892: Harold H. Hilton

1891: Hugh Kirkaldy

1890: John Ball Jr.

1889: x-Willie Park Jr.

1888: Jack Burns

1887: Willie Park Jr.

1886: David Brown

1885: Bob Martin

1884: Jack Simpson

1883: x-Willie Fernie

1882: Robert Ferguson

1881: Robert Ferguson

1880: Robert Ferguson

1879: Jamie Anderson

1878: Jamie Anderson

1877: Jamie Anderson

1876: Bob Martin

1875: Willie Park

1874: Mungo Park

1873: Tom Kidd

1872: Tom Morris Jr.

1871: No tournament

1870: Tom Morris Jr.

1869: Tom Morris Jr.

1868: Tom Morris Jr.

1867: Tom Morris Sr.

1866: Willie Park

1865: Andrew Strath

1864: Tom Morris Sr.

1863: Willie Park

1862: Tom Morris Sr.

1861: Tom Morris Sr.

1860: Willie Park

x-won in playoff

*World War II

**World War I


The Augusta Chronicle • Augusta.com Sunday, April 1, 2018 M15

MASTERS 2018

Thomas rides hot year into Augusta

By David Westin

Staff Writer

After a player-of-theyear

season that included

a major championship

victory among his five

wins, Justin Thomas

hasn’t slowed down on

his road to Augusta and

the 2018 Masters .

“I love where my game

is trending for Augusta,”

said Thomas.

The former University

of Alabama golfer, who

has won twice and lost

in a playoff so far this

season, can’t wait to

get back to Augusta

National .

“I just love that

golf course so much,”

Thomas said.

His victory in the

Honda Classic in late

February gave the

24-year-old eight career

wins in his past 31 starts

and moved him to No. 2

in the world at the time.

He almost won again

the following week,

losing in a playoff to Phil

Mickelson in the WGC-

Mexico Championship.

Not bad for someone

who won once in his first

70 starts.

“It's never easy,”

Thomas said of winning.

“I would just say

I'm becoming more

comfortable. I embrace

these situations. I love

these situations. I love

the opportunity to win.”

He’s come so far so

fast in the past year that

he’ll be the first reigning

PGA Tour Player of

the Year to be a rookie

on a U.S. Ryder Cup

team. The matches are

in September in Paris.

In 2017, he led the tour

in victories and money

earned and won the

FedEx Cup.

With the exception

of the Tournament of

Champions, where he

finished tied for 22nd,

Thomas was out of the

top 20 only once in his

first nine events this

season.

He’s yet to contend at

in the Masters, finishing

tied for 39th in his 2016

debut and tied for 22nd

last year.

In his first year at

Augusta National,

Thomas said, he made a

common rookie mistake

– he spent too much time

practicing .

In the days leading

Justin Thomas, the reigning Player of the Year, has finished out of the top 20 only

once in his first nine events this season. He’s yet to contend at the Masters, finishing

tied for 39th in his 2016 debut and tied for 22nd last year. [MICHAEL HOLAHAN/THE

AUGUSTA CHRONICLE]

to the 2017 Masters,

Thomas said, he took it

“a little bit more easy.

The facilities here are so

good that you can (talk)

yourself into staying out

here longer than you feel

like you should. I put in

some good work (in 2017)

but it was just a little bit

shorter days. I wasn't

out there spending six,

seven, eight hours a

day like I maybe did (in

2016),”

He’s talked to six-time

champion Jack Nicklaus

and four-time champ

Tiger Woods about

Augusta National, and

he's played a few practice

rounds with Mickelson, a

three-time champion.

“I want to be around

guys that are successful

here, and it's kind of hard

to get much better than

Justin Thomas took a twoshot

victory at the PGA

Championship victory last

August without a round

in the low 60s. [MICHAEL

HOLAHAN/THE AUGUSTA

CHRONICLE]

Future PGA

Championships

Aug. 16-19: Bellerive

Country Club

May 2019: Bethpage State

Park (Black Course)

May 2020: TPC Harding

Park

May 2021: Ocean Course,

Kiawah Island

them,” he said. “So I try

to, you don't want to

collect too much information

because then

you're going to be just

a little bit, not intimidated,

but just kind

of overflowing with

information.

“But I feel like if you

get enough of it, you can

kind of pick up the stuff

that you didn't know or

pick up the stuff that

you feel is very, very

important and use that.

So I feel like a lot of stuff

just in terms of course

management and picking

your spots that I've

heard from those guys

is key.”

He’s also picked up

valuable tips on how to

read Augusta National's

bentgrass greens from

Jeff Knox, a club member

who is the club’s noncompeting

marker when

there is a odd number of

players after the 36-hole

cut .

Knox, who is a wizard

Justin Thomas

Age: 24

Height: 5-10

Weight: 145

Residence:

Goshen, Ky.

College:

University of

Alabama

World Ranking: 2

Career victories: 9

Tournament invitation:

2017 PGA Championship

winner*

*A full list of qualifications is on 2M.

Record at the Masters

Best Finish: T22

Earnings: $149,600

’16: 76-73-78-71–298 T39

’17: 73-76-71-70–290 T22

on the Augusta National

greens because of his

knowledge of their

breaks, is the father

of Lee Knox, one of

Thomas’ teammates on

the Alabama golf team.

Thomas said he stays

with the Knox family

and plays with Jeff

Knox “pretty much any

time” he visits Augusta

National for pre-Masters

scouting trips.

“He knows so much

about that course,”

Thomas said. “Any questions

or any concerns,

I can ask. He’s always

good. I don’t think anybody

has the knowledge

he has on those greens.”

Thomas said veteran

caddie Jimmy Johnson

“has done a great job,

helping me not change

my mind frame and our

game plan when we're

playing really well and

just continue to attack.”

His attacking style

paid off last August with

his PGA Championship

win in Charlotte. Rounds

of 73-66-69-68 at Quail

Hollow earned him a

two-shot victory.

“I just had an unbelievable

calmness

throughout the week,

throughout the day,”

said Thomas, whose key

shot in the final round

came on No. 13, where

he holed out a 40-foot

chip for birdie.

“I truly felt like I was

going to win,” he said. “I

remember my girlfriend

was supposed to fly out

at about 7 and I was like,

‘You need to change your

flight to later, because I

don’t know, I just feel

like I don’t want you to

miss this. I feel like I’m

going to get it done. ”

PGA Championship winners

2017: Justin Thomas

2016: Jimmy Walker

2015: Jason Day

2014: Rory McIlroy

2013: Jason Dufner

2012: Rory McIlroy

2011: x-Keegan Bradley

2010: x-Martin Kaymer

2009: Y.E. Yang

2008: Padraig Harrington

2007: Tiger Woods

2006: Tiger Woods

2005: Phil Mickelson

2004: Vijay Singh

2003: Shaun Micheel

2002: Rich Beem

2001: David Toms

2000: x-Tiger Woods

1999: Tiger Woods

1998: Vijay Singh

1997: Davis Love III

1996: x-Mark Brooks

1995: x-Steve Elkington

1994: Nick Price

1993: x-Paul Azinger

1992: Nick Price

1991: John Daly

1990: Wayne Grady

1989: Payne Stewart

1988: Jeff Sluman

1987: x-Larry Nelson

1986: Bob Tway

1985: Hubert Green

1984: Lee Trevino

1983: Hal Sutton

1982: Raymond Floyd

1981: Larry Nelson

1980: Jack Nicklaus

1979: x-David Graham

1978: x-John Mahaffey

1977: x-Lanny Wadkins

1976: Dave Stockton

1975: Jack Nicklaus

1974: Lee Trevino

1973: Jack Nicklaus

1972: Gary Player

1971: Jack Nicklaus

1970: Dave Stockton

1969: Raymond Floyd

1968: Julius Boros

1967: x-Don January

1966: Al Geiberger

1965: Dave Marr

1964: Bobby Nichols

1963: Jack Nicklaus

1962: Gary Player

1961: x-Jerry Barber

1960: Jay Hebert

1959: Bob Rosburg

1958: Dow Finsterwald

1957: Lionel Hebert

1956: Jack Burke

1955: Doug Ford

1954: Chick Harbert

1953: Walter Burkemo

1952: Jim Turnesa

1951: Sam Snead

1950: Chandler Harper

1949: Sam Snead

1948: Ben Hogan

1947: Jim Ferrier

1946: Ben Hogan

1945: Byron Nelson

1944: Bob Hamilton

1943: No tournament*

1942: Sam Snead

1941: x-Vic Ghezzi

1940: Byron Nelson

1939: x-Henry Picard

1938: Paul Runyan

1937: x-Denny Shute

1936: Denny Shute

1935: Johnny Revolta

1934: x-Paul Runyan

1933: Gene Sarazen

1932: Olin Dutra

1931: Tom Creavy

1930: Tommy Armour

1929: Leo Diegel

1928: Leo Diegel

1927: Walter Hagen

1926: Walter Hagen

1925: Walter Hagen

1924: Walter Hagen

1923: x-Gene Sarazen

1922: Gene Sarazen

1921: Walter Hagen

1920: Jock Hutchison

1919: James M. Barnes

1917-18: No tournament**

1916: James M. Barnes

x-won in playoff, *World

War II, **World War I


M16 Sunday, April 1, 2018 The Augusta Chronicle • Augusta.com


MASTERS 2018

The Augusta Chronicle • Augusta.com Sunday, April 1, 2018 M17

Tiger’s

back

At long last, Woods eagerly returns to ‘heaven’

[ANDREW DAVIS TUCKER/THE AUGUSTA CHRONICLE]

By Scott Michaux

Staff Writer

As the months counted

down to weeks and then

days before the 2016 and

2017 Masters, there was

no word until the very end

about Tiger Woods’ playing

status.

Despite not playing anywhere

else, sidelined with

a bad back that often left

him unable to even get out

of bed much less swing a

golf club, he still seemed

to be harboring hopes for a

miracle. It seemed implausible

that Woods was even

considering teeing it up at

Augusta National, but the

truth is he actually was.

“Yeah, I was trying,”

Woods admitted before the

Arnold Palmer Invitational.

“If there was one tournament

I could come back

to, it would be that one.

There’s no other tournament

like it. It has a deep

place in my heart. From

the time I was there as an

amateur to my first win

and to my other wins there

as well, I just love playing

Augusta National. I was

just hoping I could just

get my back to hold on for

four days. I don’t need the

practice rounds, I can just

walk them and take a look

at them and maybe chip and

putt a little bit. But can it

hold on for four days? And

there was no chance, no.”

If there is a concept of

hell for Tiger Woods, it was

coming to Augusta in April

three of the past four years

without his golf clubs – just

to have dinner. He wouldn’t

miss a meal with his fellow

Tiger Woods lines up a putt during the final round of the 2015 Masters. He hasn’t played in the

tournament since tying for 17th that year. [ANDREW DAVIS TUCKER/THE AUGUSTA CHRONICLE]

green jacketed champions

– especially walking Arnold

Palmer in with Jack Nicklaus

two years ago because they

all knew it would likely be

Arnie’s last – but it was

tough to swallow that his

competitive days in the

Masters might be over.

“Frustrating, very frustrating,

because I love

playing Augusta National,”

Woods said. “I love it. And

I know how to play it.

Sometimes I don’t play it

well, but I know how to play

it. I just love being out there

on those greens and hitting

putts and being creative. It

is ... there’s no other golf

course like it in the world

and there’s no other golf

tournament like it. It is

literally, it’s a player’s

heaven. And yeah, the last

couple dinners have been

frustrating in that aspect

for sure.”

When Thursday’s first

round arrives, it will have

been 1,090 days since the

last time Woods teed it up

in the Masters – finishing

tied for 17th in 2015. Painfree

for the first time in five

years with a game evolving

into a very familiar quality,

Woods smiles at the

thought.

“Very eager, yes, very,”

he said of his long-awaited

return. “I feel like I am physically

able to do it again and

it’s going to be a lot of fun.”

Since the end of last

summer when Woods

started posting videos

of his incremental progress

swinging after a

spinal fusion surgery that

he called “the last rope”

option, anticipation has

been building for his return

to Augusta. Woods has

referenced pointing his

compass toward Augusta

every week he’s played

since competing in the

Bahamas in December.

There’s been parabolic

progress in his game every

start, with the expectation

growing from just finishing

18 holes healthy to making

the cut to actually contending

in quick succession.

He played three times on

the Florida swing and put

himself in the mix every

Sunday, finishing with ties

for 12th, second and fifth at

PGA National, Innisbrook

and Bay Hill.

See TIGER, M18

Tiger’s Masters wins

1997

Tiger Woods’ first major

tournament as a professional

didn’t get off to a smooth

start. Woods played the first

nine holes of the 1997 Masters

in 4-over-par 40, hardly the

beginning he was looking for.

But he righted his ship with

30 on the back nine, including

an eagle on No. 15, and

from that point the rout was

on. Woods shot 66 and 65 the

next two rounds as he overpowered

Augusta National

and made believers out of

his critics. A final-round 69

gave him the lowest 72-hole

score in Masters history and

a 12-stroke victory. Only

a handful of golfers, most

notably Jack Nicklaus at the

1965 Masters, had so thoroughly

dominated a course

and a tournament. “My dad

told me last night, ‘Son, this is

probably one of the toughest

rounds you’ve ever had to

play in your life,'” Woods said.

“'If you go out there and be

yourself, it will be one of the

most rewarding rounds you’ve

ever played in your life.' And

he was right.”

See WINS, M18

“... I love playing Augusta National. I love it. And I know how to play it. Sometimes I don’t play it well,

but I know how to play it. I just love being out there on those greens and hitting putts and being creative.

It is ... there’s no other golf course like it in the world and there’s no other golf tournament like it.”

Tiger Woods

Tiger Woods receives his

green jacket from 1996

champion Nick Faldo. [RON

COCKERILLE/THE AUGUSTA

CHRONICLE]


M18 Sunday, April 1, 2018 The Augusta Chronicle • Augusta.com

MASTERS 2018

2004 champion Phil

Mickelson puts the green

jacket on Tiger Woods.

[ANDREW DAVIS TUCKER/THE

AUGUSTA CHRONICLE]

2000 champion Vijay Singh helps Tiger Woods into the

green jacket. [TODD BENNETT/THE AUGUSTA CHRONICLE]

WINS

From Page M17

2001

Tiger Woods was threequarters

of the way to one

of golf’s most amazing

accomplishments. Then,

he had to wait eight

months. Coming into the

2001 Masters, Woods

had won the U.S. Open,

British Open and PGA

Championship in 2000,

and now he was going for

his version of the Grand

Slam. No player had ever

held all four professional

major golf titles in one

year. While Woods got the

lion’s share of attention,

Masters rookie Chris

DiMarco seized the lead.

He opened with round of

65 and 69, but he couldn’t

shake Woods. The favorite

had started with scores

of 70 and 66, and his 68 in

the third round gave him

the 54-hole lead. Plenty

of top players, including

Phil Mickelson and David

Duval, were also in the

hunt. With a one-shot

cushion, Woods played the

final hole like a champion.

He rolled in his birdie putt,

then buried his face in his

hands. Congratulations

poured in from all over the

globe, including a telephone

call from President

George W. Bush. “There

are so many things that

go into winning a major

championship or, for

that matter, any tournament.

More so in a major

because you have to have

your game peaking at

the right time. On top of

that, you’ve got to have

some luck,” Woods said.

“To have it happen four

straight times, some of

the golf gods are looking

down on me the right

way.”

More online

Find photos, stories,

videos and more from

previous Masters

Tournaments at

augusta.com.

2002

Advances in golf technology

threatened to make

Augusta National obsolete

in the early 2000s. Golfers

were hitting short clubs

into the longest par-4s,

and reaching the par-5s in

two was not difficult for

the world’s best players.

Hootie Johnson, the

club’s chairman, had had

enough. He ordered a

major facelift before the

2002 Masters. Some called

it “Tiger-proofing.” While

some players didn’t care

for the changes, it didn’t

keep them from going

low. Davis Love III took the

lead with an opening 67,

and Vijay Singh scorched

the layout for 65 in the

second round. Woods,

the defending champion,

wasn’t far off the pace.

He opened with rounds of

70 and 69, and grabbed a

share of the 54-hole lead

after firing 66. That left

him on top with South

African Retief Goosen.

Woods needed only 71 in

the final round to win his

third green jacket. Goosen

never mounted a serious

threat, and Woods joined

Jack Nicklaus and Nick

Faldo as the only men to

ever successfully defend

their titles at Augusta

National. “It’s pretty neat

to have my name mentioned

with some of the

golfing greats,” Woods

said. “To have my name on

that trophy three times,

that’s pretty cool.”

Hootie Johnson puts the

green jacket on Woods in

2002. [MICHAEL HOLAHAN/

THE AUGUSTA CHRONICLE]

2005

Tiger Woods was trying

to regain his spot at the

top of the game, both

figuratively and literally. A

streak of not winning in his

last 10 majors combined

with a swing overhaul with

new coach Hank Haney

had knocked Woods from

his customary perch atop

the Official World Golf

Ranking. Chris DiMarco,

who first made a splash at

Augusta National Golf Club

when he challenged Woods

as a rookie in 2001, opened

with a pair of 67s to open

up a six-shot lead over

Woods after 36 holes.

Woods overtook DiMarco

in the third round, which

was split over two days,

with seven consecutive

birdies. Woods had

turned a big deficit into a

three-shot lead. DiMarco

trailed by just one coming

into the par-3 16th hole.

When he hit the green and

Woods’ tee shot sailed

long, DiMarco had the

advantage. But not for

long. Woods played his

chip well above the hole,

then watched as it slowly

trickled toward the cup.

It stopped momentarily,

then fell in the cup for an

unlikely birdie. But Woods

made two bogeys coming

in, sending him and

DiMarco into a suddendeath

playoff. At the 18th,

DiMarco made his par and

could only watch as Woods

poured his birdie putt into

the heart of the cup, setting

off a giant fist pump

and another celebration

with his caddie. It was

his fourth win at Augusta

National. “Got a great

break on 16, didn’t go in

the bunker, didn’t go in the

rough and somehow an

earthquake happened and

it fell in the hole,” Woods

said of the chip shot that

fell for birdie.

Tiger Woods tees off on No. 3 during the second round of the Masters Tournament

at Augusta National Golf Club April 10, 2015, in Augusta. [ANDREW DAVIS TUCKER/STAFF]

TIGER

From Page M17

“If you would’ve

asked me at the beginning

of the year that

I would have had a

chance to win two golf

tournaments, I would

have taken that in a

heartbeat,” he said after

making a run at Bay Hill.

His swing speed ranks

second on tour, showing

no signs of the back

strain that derailed

his career. He’s working

without a swing

coach for the first time

in his career, trusting

his hands and playing

by more feel than

mechanics.

“It just seems he got

things back in place,”

said Adam Scott, the

2013 Masters champion.

“When you’ve got his

talent, that can really

turn around quick.”

Heading into the

Masters, Woods has

played 10 consecutive

rounds of par or better –

his longest streak since

he did it nine times

before his approach

shot bounced off the

pin and into the pond

on the 15th hole in the

third round of the 2013

Masters, costing him

four strokes in a controversial

ruling. So his

game has rounded into

mid-season form.

“For me to go from

not knowing whether

or not I will ever be able

to play the game again

to, I might be able to

play maybe at the tour

level, actually I might

be able to make a couple

of cuts, well I might be

able to possibly get

myself into a mix, oh,

I’m in the mix,” Woods

said of a rate of return

that surprises even

him. “And so there’s a

process and an evolution

to it and it’s been

quick, but still I have

to say just to enjoy all

of this. Because, at one

point, man, that wasn’t

even a thought, I didn’t

ever even think about

playing out here.”

Before Woods

returned in December

at his tournament in

the Bahamas, he had

fallen to 1,199th in the

world. With his fifthplace

finish at Bay

Hill, he climbed to No.

105. Meanwhile, he

went from sentimental

long-shot at Augusta

in December to the

pre-tournament betting

favorite by March.

“The narrative has

completely flipped,”

he said, downplaying

the heightening

expectations. “I enjoy

just playing again after

what I’ve been through.

Playing feels good.”

What feels the best

is preparing with the

firm knowledge that

he will be teeing it up

on Thursday in the

Masters. Asked what

he needed to work on

in his two weeks before

Augusta, Woods said

“everything.” But you

could tell he’s relishing

the work, with plans to

spend a couple of days

intensely studying the

course the week before

the tournament to re familiarize

himself with

a place he’s won four

times – but none in 13

years since 2005.

“I hadn’t played it in

a couple years now and

so I’d like to get up there

and take a look at it,” he

said. “I know there’s no

changes as far as design.

I’ll get used to playing

on bent (grass). I haven’t

putted on bent in literally

years. That’s going to be

a little bit different. ... I

want to go up there and

make sure and then take

a look at all my reads on

my putts and see if they

match my book and if

not, then obviously I got

to erase and draw some

more lines.”

At 42, he’s not counting

himself out of the

Masters mix. He’s not

just showing up for

dinner any more.

“There are a few

guys that can do it late

in their career,” he said

of winning. “For me,

I’m ecstatic to have a

chance to play again

and to have a chance to

win golf tournaments

and compete. There

was awhile there where

I didn’t look like I was

ever going to be out

here again, not in the

capacity of a professional

player. But here

I am playing again and

it’s a lot of fun.”

Tiger Woods

Age: 42

Height: 6-1

Weight: 185

Residence:

Jupiter, Fla.

College:

Stanford

University

World Ranking: 104

Career victories: 86

Tournament invitation:

1997, 2001, 2002, 2005

Masters champion*

*A full list of qualifications is on 2M.

Record at the Masters

Best Finish: WIN

Earnings: $7,360,473

’95: 72-72-77-72–293-a T41

’96: 75-75–150-a

’97: 70-66-65-69–270 WIN

’98: 71-72-72-70–285 T8

’99: 72-72-70-75–289 T18

’00: 75-72-68-69–284 5

’01: 70-66-68-68–272 WIN

’02: 70-69-66-71–276 WIN

’03: 76-73-66-75–290 T15

’04: 75-69-75-71–290 T22

’05: 74-66-65-71–276 WIN

’06: 72-71-71-70–284 T3

’07: 73-74-72-72–291 T2

’08: 72-71-68-72–283 2

’09: 70-72-70-68–280 T6

’10: 68-70-70-69–277 T4

’11: 71-66-74-67–278 T4

’12: 72-75-72-74–293 T40

’13: 70-73-70-70–283 T4

’15: 73-69-68-73–283 T17

Fred Couples

Age: 58

Height: 5-11

Weight: 185

Residence:

Newport

Beach, Calif.

College:

University of Houston

Career victories: 31

Tournament invitation:

1992 Masters champion*

*A full list of qualifications is on 2M.

Record at the Masters

Best Finish: WIN

Earnings: $2,718,321

’83: 73-68-81-73–295 T32

’84: 71-73-67-72–283 10

’85: 75-73-69-70–287 T10

’86: 72-77-70-72–291 T31

’88: 75-68-71-71–285 T5

’89: 72-76-74-67–289 T11

’90: 74-69-72-69–284 5

’91: 67-73-72-75–287 T33

’92: 69-67-69-70–275 WIN

’93: 72-70-74-72–288 T20

’95: 71-69-67-75–282 T10

’96: 78-68-71-71–288 T15

’97: 72-69-73-72–286 T7

’98: 69-70-71-70–280 T2

’99: 74-71-76-71–292 T27

’00: 76-72-70-70–288 T11

’01: 74-71-73-68–286 26

’02: 73-73-76-72–294 T36

’03: 73-75-69-77–294 T28

’04: 73-69-74-70–286 T6

’05: 75-71-77-72–295 T39

’06: 71-70-72-71–284 T3

’07: 76-76-78-71–301 T30

’08: 76-72–148

’09: 73-73–146

’10: 66-75-68-70–279 6

’11: 71-68-72-73–284 T15

’12: 72-67-75-72–286 T12

’13: 68-71-77-71–287 T13

’14: 71-71-73-75–290 T20

’15: 79-74–153

’17: 73-70-74-72–289 T18

Mark O’Meara

Age: 61

Height: 6-0

Weight: 195

Residence:

Houston,

Texas

College: Long

Beach State University

Career victories: 24

Tournament invitation:

1998 Masters champion*

*A full list of qualifications is on 2M.

Record at the Masters

Best Finish: WIN

Earnings: $1,371,585

’80: 80-81–161-a

’85: 73-76-72-70–291 24

’86: 74-73-81-73–301 48

’87: 75-74-71-74–294 T24

’88: 74-76-74-76–300 T39

’89: 74-71-72-72–289 T11

’90: 75-74–149

’91: 73-68-72-71–284 T22

’92: 74-67-69-70–280 T4

’93: 75-69-73-71–288 T20

’94: 75-70-76-70–291 T15

’95: 68-72-71-77–288 T31

’96: 72-71-75-72–290 T18

’97: 75-74-70-75–294 T30

’98: 74-70-68-67–279 WIN

’99: 70-76-69-78–293 T31

’00: 75-75–150

’01: 69-74-72-68–283 T20

’02: 78-71–149

’03: 76-71-70-71–288 T8

’04: 73-70-75-74–292 T27

’05: 72-74-72-75–293 T31

’06: 82-72–154

’07: 77-76–153

’08: 71-78–149

’09: 75-76–151

’10: 75-74–149

’11: 77-73–150

’12: - WD

’13: 74-77–151

’14: 75-77–152

’15: 73-68-77-68–286 T22

’16: 77-80–157

’17: 78-78–156


The Augusta Chronicle • Augusta.com Sunday, April 1, 2018 M19


M20 Sunday, April 1, 2018 The Augusta Chronicle • Augusta.com

MASTERS 2018

Downer final round cost Fowler shot at jacket

Chipping and

putting let

golfer down

By David Westin

Staff Writer

The scenario seemed

made to order for Rickie

Fowler after 54 holes of

the Masters Tournament

last year.

Fowler, seeking his

first major title, was one

shot off the lead during

a week he said then was

“ by far the best” he’d felt

in a major championship,

of which he’d completed

28 at the time.

He liked coming from

behind three of Fowler’s

four career wins had

come that way.

He was also paired

with good friend Jordan

Spieth, who was two

shots off the lead. Spieth,

who had finished no

worse than second with

a victory in three starts

in the Masters, would

certainly play well.

“He and I could potentially

get off to a good start

and we could really push

each other,” Fowler said

before the final round.

“We’ll try and pull the

best out of one another.

It’s always fun when

you’re playing with one

of your good buddies.”

Good vibes never

Johnson makes change,

but not to his game

By David Westin

Staff Writer

Dustin Johnson is still

No. 1 in the world, just

as he was at this time

last year.

Nothing has changed

about the quality of his

golf game as he prepares

to resume his Masters

career, which was suddenly

derailed last year.

The only change is

off the course - he’s

not staying in the same

Augusta area rental

house for the week.

It was at that twostory

house that

Johnson, in his stocking

feet, slipped on wooden

stairs, fell and injured

his back. It happened

on Wednesday afternoon

and forced him

to withdraw before he

was scheduled to tee

off Thursday. At the

time, he was the hottest

player in the game and

the overwhelming pretournament

favorite.

This year, he’s renting

a one-story house. The

other one has “bad juju,”

said Johnson, using a

word that means energy.

Going into the 2017

Masters, Johnson had

won his previous three

tournaments . He was

the reigning U.S. Open

champion and had won

six times since the previous

Masters, where

he tied for fourth, his

best finish at Augusta

National in seven starts.

“Obviously, I was

playing probably the

best golf of my career,”

Johnson said. “And it

wasn’t like they were

back-to-back weeks,

there was a lot of space in

between, so I really felt

like I had my game really

dialed in.”

Johnson, who was

scheduled to be in the

final group of the day in

the first round, arrived at

the course intending to

play, saying he wanted

to “give it a try.”

His warmup consisted

of half shots with irons

because he couldn’t take

a full swing because of

the pain. After walking

up to the putting green

and stroking a few putts,

Rickie Fowler was one shot off the lead going into the final round of last year’s

Masters, but a disappointing day left him tied for 11th and still chasing his first

major. [MICHAEL HOLAHAN/THE AUGUSTA CHRONICLE]

appeared in the final

round . They were both

1-over after five holes

and Fowler shot 76 (with

bogeys on the final three

holes) and Spieth had 75.

They tied for 11th.

“We both could have

played better,” Fowler

said.

Still, it was a good

comeback for Fowler at

Augusta National, where

he shot 80-73 the year

before to miss the cut

for the first time in seven

Dustin Johnson missed the 2017 Masters because of

an injured back after he slipped and fell in his rental

house. [MICHAEL HOLAHAN/THE AUGUSTA CHRONICLE]

Dustin Johnson

Age: 33

Height: 6-4

Weight: 190

Residence:

Myrtle Beach,

S.C.

College:

Coastal Carolina

University

World Ranking: 1

Career victories: 17

Tournament invitation:

2016 U.S. Open champion*

*A full list of qualifications is on 2M.

Record at the Masters

Best Finish: T4

Earnings: $1,021,808

’09: 72-70-72-73–287 T30

’10: 71-72-76-75–294 T38

’11: 74-68-73-74–289 T38

’13: 67-76-74-70–287 T13

’14: 77-74–151

’15: 70-67-73-69–279 T6

’16: 73-71-72-71–287 T4

he pulled out just before

his group teed off at 2:03

p.m.

“Obviously I want to

play more than anything,”

Johnson said at

the time. “It hurts. I was

doing everything I could

to try and play.”

He was relegated to

watching Sergio Garcia

win the 81st Masters

from home.

“It was tough to watch

but I couldn’t do anything

else - I was still

laying on the couch,”

he said. “I wanted to be

there playing. I didn’t

want to watch it on TV,

but things happen. ”

Johnson had logged

57 consecutive weeks

at No. 1 in the world

through the Arnold

Palmer Invitational in

mid-March.

“I guess I’ve been here

for a little while now,”

Johnson said. “I feel like

Masters appearances.

Fowler’s short game

magic in the first three

rounds last year disappeared

on Sunday . After

averaging 26.3 putts per

round in the first three

days, Fowler needed 30

on Sunday.

“Chipping and putting

kind of went sideways

on me,” he said. “Every

time I chipped it close

I missed the putt or

I didn’t chip it close

enough and I’d still miss

it’s where I should be,

and it also kind of - it

drives me to continue

to work, to continue to

try to get better, and to

continue to perform each

and every week at a very

high level.”

Johnson is once again

in fine form heading

into the Masters: he has

won once in the 2017-18

wraparound season and

has two second-place

finishes.

“I’m definitely looking

forward to it this year,”

he said of the Masters.

“You know, I was very

disappointed I didn’t

get to play last year, but

things happen.

“So you’ve just got to

roll with it. But yeah, it’s

a place where I always

love going to play. I feel

like I really like the golf

course.”

His victory this season

came at the Tournament

of Champions, where he

blew the field away with

rounds of 69-68-66-65.

It prompted runner-up

Jon Rahm to refer to him

as a super hero.

At the time of his back

injury, Johnson didn’t

realize how long the

effects would linger .

Instead, he didn’t play

again for a month.

Though he tied for

second in his return on

May 7 at Wells Fargo,

Johnson said in July he

still wasn’t 100 percent.

His first victory since

the injury came at the

Northern Trust in late

August. He finished with

four wins for the season,

one less than player of

the year Justin Thomas

for the tour lead.

the putt. When you’re

not able to get the ball

up and down out here

or make those key kind

of five- to 10-footers,

that’s what happens. I

didn’t make anything.”

It didn’t help that

Fowler’s swing “was

a little off” in the final

round.

“It would have been

nice to swing a little

better, like I had been,”

he said.

The 2017 Masters

Jimmy Walker

Age: 39

Height: 6-2

Weight: 180

Residence:

Boerne,

Texas

College:

Baylor University

World Ranking: 95

Career victories: 9

Tournament invitation:

2016 PGA Championship

winner*

*A full list of qualifications is on 2M.

Record at the Masters

Best Finish: T8

Earnings: $490,500

’14: 70-72-76-70–288 T8

’15: 73-72-74-70–289 T38

’16: 71-75-74-75–295 T29

’17: 76-71-70-72–289 T18

Rickie Fowler

Age: 29

Height: 5-9

Weight: 150

Residence:

Jupiter, Fla.

College:

Oklahoma

State University

World Ranking: 8

Career victories: 7

Tournament invitation:

2015 The Players

champion*

*A full list of qualifications is on 2M.

Record at the Masters

Best Finish: T5

Earnings: $673,600

’11: 70-69-76-74–289 T38

’12: 74-74-72-70–290 T27

’13: 68-76-70-78–292 T38

’14: 71-75-67-73–286 T5

’15: 73-72-70-67–282 T12

’16: 80-73–153

’17: 73-67-71-76–287 T11

started off in windy conditions,

just like Fowler

likes from his days growing

up in California and

now living in Florida.

“A lot of times I hope

it gets windy because I

feel like it separates the

field a little bit and ball

striking becomes a premium,”

he said before

the 2017 Masters.

The first 36 holes at the

2017 Masters were more

than a little blustery and

Fowler shot 73-67, the

latter eing Friday’s low

round . He had 71 in the

Webb Simpson

Age: 32

Height: 6-2

Weight: 185

Residence:

Charlotte,

N.C.

College:

Wake Forest University

World Ranking: 40

Career victories: 4

Tournament invitation:

Qualified for Tour

Championship*

*A full list of qualifications is on 2M.

Record at the Masters

Best Finish: T28

Earnings: $192,400

’12: 72-74-70-78–294 T44

’13: 73-76–149

’14: 74-75–149

’15: 69-75-72-71–287 T28

’16: 77-72-74-72–295 T29

’17: 75-77–152

third round.

Despite his problems

on the greens in the

fourth round, he tied for

first place in fewest putts

for the week (109).

Fowler ended 2017

and started 2018 on a

hot streak, winning the

unofficial Hero World

Challenge in December

and tying for fourth in

the official Tournament

of Champions in January.

At the Hero World

Challenge, Fowler had

a final round to remember.

Seven shots back

after 54 holes, he opened

with seven consecutive

birdies en route to 61.

He shot 28 on the front

nine and finished with

21 putts for the day and

a career-record 30 birdies

for the tournament.

The win was his last

so far. The 29-yearold

would love to add a

major to his list of wins .

“Goals going forward

this year are, I would say,

the biggest and main one

is get a major,” Fowler

said. “I think I did a good

job last year of putting

myself in contention

multiple times, but there

needs to be some better

weekends to make sure

that we’re on top come

Sunday afternoon. So

that’s the main goal this

year.”

Jason Dufner

Age: 41

Height: 5-10

Weight: 180

Residence:

Auburn, Ala.

College:

Auburn

University

World Ranking: 49

Career victories: 5

Tournament invitation:

2013 PGA Championship

winner*

*A full list of qualifications is on 2M.

Record at the Masters

Best Finish: T20

Earnings: $313,633

’10: 75-72-75-69–291 T30

’12: 69-70-75-75–289 T24

’13: 72-69-75-73–289 T20

’14: 80-74–154

’15: 74-71-74-73–292 T49

’16: 76-77–153

’17: 71-76-70-76–293 T33


MASTERS 2018

The Augusta Chronicle • Augusta.com Sunday, April 1, 2018 M21

Phil Mickelson

Age: 47

Height: 6-3

Weight: 200

Residence:

Rancho Santa

Fe, Calif.

College:

Arizona State

World Ranking: 18

Career victories: 46

Tournament invitation:

2004, 2006, 2010 Masters

champion*

*A full list of qualifications is on 2M.

Record at the Masters

Best Finish: WIN

Earnings: $7,826,762

’91: 69-73-74-74–290-a T47

’93: 72-71-75-73–291 T34

’95: 66-71-70-73–280 T7

’96: 65-73-72-72–282 3

’97: 76-74–150

’98: 74-69-69-74–286 T12

’99: 74-69-71-71–285 T6

’00: 71-68-76-71–286 T7

’01: 67-69-69-70–275 3

’02: 69-72-68-71–280 3

’03: 73-70-72-68–283 3

’04: 72-69-69-69–279 WIN

’05: 70-72-69-74–285 10

’06: 70-72-70-69–281 WIN

’07: 76-73-73-77–299 T24

’08: 71-68-75-72–286 T5

’09: 73-68-71-67–279 5

’10: 67-71-67-67–272 WIN

’11: 70-72-71-74–287 T27

’12: 74-68-66-72–280 T3

’13: 71-76-77-73–297 T54

’14: 76-73–149

’15: 70-68-67-69–274 T2

’16: 72-79–151

’17: 71-73-74-72–290 T22

Zach Johnson

Age: 42

Height: 5-11

Weight: 164

Residence:

St. Simons

Island, Ga.

College:

Drake University

World Ranking: 59

Career victories: 14

Tournament invitation:

2007 Masters champion*

*A full list of qualifications is on 2M.

Record at the Masters

Best Finish: WIN

Earnings: $1,872,042

’05: 81-71–152

’06: 74-72-77-70–293 T32

’07: 71-73-76-69–289 WIN

’08: 70-76-68-77–291 T20

’09: 70-80–150

’10: 70-74-76-75–295 42

’11: 73-73–146

’12: 70-74-75-72–291 T32

’13: 69-76-71-75–291 T35

’14: 78-72–150

’15: 72-72-68-68–280 T9

’16: 72-80–152

’17: 77-74–151

More online

Get updates from

the course during Masters

Week at augusta.com.

Ageless Mickelson gets back on winning track

Lefty looking to

slip on green jacket

for fourth time

By Scott Michaux

Staff Writer

The reports of Phil

Mickelson’s demise

have been greatly

exaggerated.

His confidence, however,

is not.

Approaching five

years without a win in

101 starts since lifting

the claret jug at the

2013 British Open, the

47-year-old Mickelson

took down world No. 2

Justin Thomas in a playoff

at the WGC event in

Mexico in early March.

“I knew that that

wasn’t going to be my

last one, no,” he said of

the previous win. “And

this isn’t either.”

Mickelson has no

doubt he’s got at least

seven more wins in him

to reach 50 for his career.

“Oh, I will – I’ll get

there,” he said.

Getting No. 43, however,

was a much needed

validation boost after

nearly five years of falters

and close calls,

including runner-up finishes

at the PGA (2014),

Masters Tournament

(2015) and British Open

(2016).

“I can’t really put it

into words given the

tough times over the

last four years and the

struggle to get back

here and knowing that

I was able to compete at

this level but not doing

it and the frustration

that that led to,” he

said. “To finally break

through and to have this

validation means a lot to

me.”

The timing of it

a month before the

Masters was ideal. A

three-time winner at

Augusta who more often

than not seems to elevate

his game once he drives

down Magnolia Lane,

Three-time Masters Tournament champion Phil Mickelson won for the first time in almost five years when he beat

Justin Thomas in a playoff at the WGC-Mexico Championship. [JON-MICHAEL SULLIVAN/THE AUGUSTA CHRONICLE]

Mickelson would dearly

love to match Arnold

Palmer and Tiger Woods

with a fourth green

jacket.

He believed he was

trending toward victory

after tying for

fifth, second and sixth

in consecutive weeks in

Phoenix, Pebble Beach

and Riviera.

“I had confidence it

was going to happen,

and it means a lot to me

to do it now, especially

before Augusta,” he

said. “I needed to get a

win before Augusta so I

wasn’t trying to win for

the first time in fourand-a-half,

five years at

that event. This certainly

boosts my confidence

and gives me a lot of

encouragement on the

things I’ve been working

on.”

Mickelson attributes

his inconsistency over

the longest winless

streak of his career to

some technical flaws

that he says he’s ironed

out, and it has led to his

showing up every week

in the hunt.

“I will play consistently

well each week

with an occasional off

week as opposed to playing

poorly every week

with an occasional on

week,” he said. “I’m very

optimistic and believe

that this is just a stepping

stone of some more good

things to come. I feel like

I’m starting to play some

of my best golf again.”

Mickelson isn’t ceding

any ground to the young

players he’s been mentoring

through the

years, relishing the

opportunities to compete

with Thomas,

Dustin Johnson, Jordan

Spieth, Jon Rahm and

Rory McIlroy the same

way he went head-on

against Woods and Ernie

Els.

That he’s already a

year older than Jack

Nicklaus was when he

set the bar as the oldest

Masters winner in 1986

doesn’t faze Mickelson

at all.

“I don’t feel that age,”

he said. “My body feels

great. I’m starting to

play some of my best

golf. I’m actually hitting

some shots better

than I ever have in my

career. I’m starting to

putt better than I ever

have in my career. And

I’m actually starting

to drive it better than I

ever have in my career,

which is not great, but

it’s average, and that’s

all I need.”

DeChambeau gains experience

heading into second Masters

By David Westin

Staff Writer

If Bryson DeChambeau

had been a pro in the 2016

Masters Tournament, he

would have taken home

more than $110,000 in

prize money.

He still left with a

smile and a silver cup for

being the low amateur by

finishing in a tie for 21st

place.

“It was great,” said

DeChambeau, who had

earlier won the NCAA

Championship individual

title and the U.S.

Amateur. “I loved it.

Look, playing in the

Masters is a pretty cool

feat. For me to do it and

be the low amateur one

of the years is pretty special.

I’ll never forget it.”

Two years later,

he’s back at Augusta

National, qualifying as

a PGA Tour winner (the

John Deere Classic) and

can receive prize money

as a pro.

Now that he’s making

his living playing golf,

it would seem to follow

that DeChambeau would

take the Masters more

seriously .

“Naw, I really was

(serious) when I was an

amateur,” he said. “As a

professional, it’s another

tournament. It’s my

favorite tournament of

the year and I know I can

do well there.”

Looking back on the

2016 Masters, he handled

Augusta National

well, with the exception

of one hole – the

par-4 18th. He played it

Bryson DeChambeau

Age: 24

Height,

weight: 6-1,

185

Residence:

Clovis, Calif.

College:

Southern Methodist

University

World Ranking: 64

Career victories: 1

Tournament invitation:

Won qualifying PGA Tour

event since 2017 Masters*

*A full list of qualifications is on 2M.

Record at the Masters

Best Finish: T21

’16: 72-72-77-72–293-a T21

4-over.

“It’s always a (tough

hole),” DeChambeau

said .

Had he played it even

par, he would have tied

for 10th place at 289 .

Instead, he finished at

5-over 293.

He parred No. 18 in

the first round, made

triple in the second

round, double in the

third and birdied it in

the final round, which

was his last hole as an

amateur. He turned pro

the next week at Hilton

Head Island, where he

tied for fourth and won

$259,600, softening the

blow of leaving Augusta

without a check.

In the second round

of the 2016 Masters,

DeChambeau was among

the leaders when he went

to No. 18. He’d opened

with 72 and was 3-under

for his second round

after 17 holes. After the

triple, he ended up four

shots out of the 36-hole

lead.

“I didn’t execute a shot

with a certain wind,” he

said of his tee shot on

No. 18, which set the

triple bogey in motion.

“It was off the left and I

thought it was more off

the left and I hit it low

and the trees were blocking

everything. I pulled

it. Just unfortunate.”

Not many players

who are about to play

in their second Masters

have played Augusta

National as many times

as DeChambeau –

around 20. In the months

leading up to the 2016

Masters , he played the

course 12 times, not

counting practice rounds

Masters Week and tournament

play .

Since qualifying again

by winning the John

Deere , he has taken a

few more scouting trips

to Augusta National.

“Just getting comfortable

with it again,”

he said. “I know pretty

much everything there

is to know.”

His victory at the John

Deere in July, the week

before the British Open,

got him in the field at

Royal Birkdale .

“I was thinking about

the British initially, then

it hit me a little later (that

it also qualified him for

the 2018 Masters),” he

said. “It was always a

tournament I wanted to

go back to. I definitely

said ‘I’m going back to

the Masters,’ after I won,

which was fun.”


M22 Sunday, April 1, 2018 The Augusta Chronicle • Augusta.com

MASTERS 2018

McIlroy takes another shot at career slam

By Scott Michaux

Staff Writer

Rory McIlroy already

has his share of ghosts to

contend with every time

he shows up in Augusta.

He added another last

month.

Taking a re-familiarization

trip with his

father for a few friendly

rounds at Augusta

National, McIlroy had a

little match going with

club member Jeff Knox.

In 2014, Knox played

as the non competing

marker with McIlroy in

Saturday’s third round

and famously beat him

by a stroke, 70-71.

In March, Knox beat

him again – this time with

the aid of four strokes a

side.

“Lost that match on the

first tee,” McIlroy said.

The Masters remains

the last piece in the

career grand slam puzzle

for McIlroy, and he often

seems to be a shot down

on the first tee. While

his game seems perfectly

fitted for a green jacket,

he’s yet to avoid the kind

of stumbles and blunders

that stand in the way of

fulfilling that goal.

The advice he offers

rookies would serve himself

well.

“Just embrace the week

and have fun and enjoy

yourself,” is his tip for

first-timers. “I think the

more you can do that, the

By Scott Michaux

Staff Writer

Gracious and magnanimous

would best describe

Justin Rose’s handling of

his playoff loss to Sergio

Garcia at the Masters.

But underneath the

brave professional face

beats a gutted heart.

“I was genuinely happy

for (Garcia), but at the

same token it’s a dream to

win that tournament, so I

was disappointed,” Rose

said. “What I tell people

is I wake up in the morning

and I’m fine. I don’t

have a hole in my heart.

But when I think about

it, I’m disappointed. It

doesn’t consume me. I’m

fine. It’s just golf.”

Throughout the

summer after his nearmiss

at Augusta, Rose

stumbled through the big

events. He missed cuts at

the U.S. Open and PGA.

He lagged harmlessly

Rory McIlroy and non-competing marker Jeff Knox watch McIlroy’s tee shot on No.

3 during the third round of the 2014 Masters. Knox beat him by a stroke, 70-71, that

Saturday. [SARA CALDWELL/THE AUGUSTA CHRONICLE]

more Augusta lends itself

to letting you just play,

and I think if you overthink

it then that’s when

Augusta can really get

you. If you just go out and

play and be creative and

sort of use your imagination,

you can have a really

great week.”

This will be McIlroy’s

10th start in the Masters,

and he’s finished inside

the top 10 the past four

years. This will be his

fourth crack at completing

his career slam

– which has intensified

outside the top 50 at the

Players and British Open.

His doldrums cleared

when during the PGA

Tour’s playoffs he heard

about his son’s perspective

on what happened at

Augusta.

“Leo, my little boy who

never watches golf, came

out last week and went

right up to someone and

said, ‘Yeah, Sergio beat

my dad fair and square,’”

Rose said at the Tour

Championship. “That’s

kind of how it played out.

I’ve been moaning about

it for four months.”

Whatever post-Masters

funk Rose might have

experienced was buried

in a sustained run of fair

play since the PGA. He

strung together 10 consecutive

top-10 finishes

globally, with three wins

including the WGC event

in China, to climb back

from 15th to No. 5 in the

world rankings.

the hype surrounding

him every time he comes

to Augusta.

Being played at the

same venue every year,

the Masters doesn’t

allow the chances to

shut out memories of

previous successes and

failures – both a player’s

own and those they’ve

watched. Its history can

be intimidating.

“It’s more the aura of

the place, the things you

have in your head about

Augusta and about the

Masters and watching all

As one of only five

players in history to win

tournaments on six continents

– joining Hall of

Famers Gary Player, Hale

Irwin, David Graham and

Bernhard Langer – the

37-year-old Rose would

like to burnish his resume

with more than his 2013

U.S. Open win and 2016

Olympic gold medal.

Like his peers Garcia

and Adam Scott, he

believes the post-Tiger

class of former “young

guns” can do more.

“I think we’ve all

underachieved as well,”

he said. “Would we have

settled for one major

when we were 18? No.

But it’s hard out here.

... I’m not over yet. If I

win another major and

it’s one that’s not the

U.S. Open, I feel like I’m

halfway to a grand slam.

That’s the way my mentality

is. I’ve still got eight

years of good golf, so I’m

the stuff on TV,” McIlroy

said. “I think if we were

to play the other majors

at the same venues every

year it would be the

same thing. Pebble or

Shinnecock or whatever

for the U.S. Open, sort of

be the same way. I think

because you go back to

the same venue it has

a little bit of mystique

about it and little bit of

aura that others don’t.”

McIlroy has grown

more comfortable with

Augusta’s mystique since

he first played at age 19.

pretty good at trying to

peak at the right time. I

hope to steal one or two

more.”

As someone who’s

never missed the cut at

Augusta and owns a pair

of runner-ups among

his five top-10 finishes

in 12 starts, the Masters

remains his top bucketlist

item.

“I really feel like this

is a tournament that I

can still go on to win,”

Rose said before leaving

last April. “I’d like to

win three or four green

jackets, but one would

be enough, you know. I

just want to win here. So

I have plenty more looks,

and I feel good about it

happening.”

He’ll have an extra

scar to overcome to do it,

knowing he held a twoshot

lead with Garcia

facing a penalty on No.

13 and got chased down at

the end. But Rose doesn’t

Rory McIlroy

Age: 28

Height: 5-10

Weight: 160

Residence:

Holywood,

Northern

Ireland

World Ranking: 7

Career victories: 23

Tournament invitation:

2014 British Open

champion*

*A full list of qualifications is on 2M.

Record at the Masters

Best Finish: 4

Earnings: $1,569,190

’09: 72-73-71-70–286 T20

’10: 74-77–151

’11: 65-69-70-80–284 T15

’12: 71-69-77-76–293 T40

’13: 72-70-79-69–290 T25

’14: 71-77-71-69–288 T8

’15: 71-71-68-66–276 4

’16: 70-71-77-71–289 T10

’17: 72-73-71-69–285 T7

“I was intimidated by

the place,” he said. “That

was my feeling of being

at Augusta. Because I’ve

gotten to know the staff,

because I’ve gotten to

know the caddies,

gotten to know quite a

lot of members, it’s not so

intimidating anymore. So

I feel a lot more comfortable

not just playing the

golf course but just in

the grounds. That can be

quite an unnerving place

the first time you go. I’m

a lot more comfortable

there.”

After taking a couple

of months off at the end

of 2017 to recover from

Rose hopes his time will come in Augusta

dwell on regrets.

“I never took my foot

of the gas,” he said. “I

was just incredibly comfortable

at Augusta and

just didn’t feel like I was

going to get beaten that

day.

“Yeah, I would say this

one probably is one that

slipped by, for sure. I

mean, I can’t pick holes

on my performance.

Could I have made the

(par) putt on 17? Of course

I could. But for the most

part, I’m not going to sit

here and second-guess

one or two shots. I really

stepped up. I felt great. I

felt in control. I felt positive.

I felt confident.

“Barring a great comeback

from Sergio, it was

mine to cruise to the

house. But it’s not always

that easy. You’re going

to win majors and you’re

going to lose majors, but

you’ve got to be willing to

lose them.”

injury, McIlroy got off to a

strong start in the Middle

East before cooling off

when he returned to the

PGA Tour and slipping

outside of the top 10 in

the world rankings for the

first time since 2014. His

confidence, however, got

a huge boost with a timely

victory at the Arnold

Palmer Invitational,

where he charged home

in 64 to pull away from

an elite Sunday cast

that included Henrik

Stenson, Tiger Woods

and Justin Rose. That

victory ended a drought

dating back to the 2016

Tour Championship and

jumped him back to No.

7 in the world.

He packed six tournaments

into seven weeks

before taking the week

off before the Masters –

twice the workload of last

year, when he was nursing

some ailments.

“I’ll tell you after

Augusta,” he said of

judging his strategy. “I

definitely don’t feel like

I’ve got stale or in any

way frustrated or feel

like it’s tedious playing

all these weeks in a row or

monotonous in any way.

I like being out here; I like

playing golf. I feel like

over the last couple of

months of 2017 into this

year I sort of rediscovered

my love for the game a

little bit. I’m even enjoying

playing casual rounds

of golf more.”

Justin Rose

Age: 37

Height: 6-3

Weight: 195

Residence:

London,

England

World

Ranking: 5

Career victories: 18

Tournament invitation:

2013 U.S. Open champion*

*A full list of qualifications is on 2M.

Record at the Masters

Best Finish: 2

Earnings: $3,391,515

’03: 73-76-71-77–297 T39

’04: 67-71-81-71–290 T22

’07: 69-75-75-73–292 T5

’08: 68-78-73-76–295 T36

’09: 74-70-71-71–286 T20

’11: 73-71-71-68–283 T11

’12: 72-72-72-68–284 T8

’13: 70-71-75-74–290 T25

’14: 76-70-69-74–289 T14

’15: 67-70-67-70–274 T2

’16: 69-77-73-70–289 T10

’17: 71-72-67-69–279 2

More online

Find photos,

stories, videos and more

from previous Masters

Tournaments at

augusta.com.


The Augusta Chronicle • augusta.com Sunday, April 1, 2018 M23

MASTERS 2018

Paul Casey

Age: 40

Height,

weight: 5-10,

180

Residence:

Phoenix,

Ariz.;

Weybridge, England

College: Arizona State

University

World Ranking: 13

Career victories: 14

Tournament invitation:

Among Top 12 at 2017

Masters*

*A full list of qualifications is on 2M.

Record at the Masters

Best Finish: T4

Earnings: $1,821,176

’04: 75-69-68-74–286 T6

’05: 79-78–157

’07: 79-68-77-71–295 T10

’08: 71-69-69-79–288 T11

’09: 72-72-73-69–286 T20

’10: 75-78–153

’11: 70-72-76-71–289 T38

’12: 76-75–151

’15: 69-68-74-68–279 T6

’16: 69-77-74-67–287 T4

’17: 72-75-69-68–284 6

Danny Willett

Age: 30

Height: 5-11

Weight: 170

Residence:

Sheffield,

England

World

Ranking: 274

Career victories: 4

Tournament invitation:

2016 Masters champion*

*A full list of qualifications is on 2M.

Record at the Masters

Best Finish: WIN

Earnings: $1,850,000

’15: 71-71-76-71–289 T38

’16: 70-74-72-67–283 WIN

’17: 73-78–151

Matthew Fitzpatrick

Age: 23

Height: 5-10

Weight: 155

Residence:

Sheffield,

England

College:

Northwestern University

World Ranking: 36

Career victories: 4

Tournament invitation:

Top 50 on final 2017 World

Golf Ranking*

*A full list of qualifications is on 2M.

Record at the Masters

Best Finish: T7

Earnings: $379,867

’14: 76-73–149-a

’16: 71-76-74-67–288 T7

’17: 71-78-73-70–292 32

Win boosts Casey’s confidence

Steady Englishman

hopes first victory

on PGA Tour in nine

years gets him over

hump at Augusta

By Scott Michaux

Staff Writer

When you haven’t won

a PGA Tour event in nine

years or a tournament

anywhere in the world

since 2014, being the

most consistent check

casher doesn’t qualify as

aspirational.

With a world’s best

consecutive cuts made

streak of 27 events dating

back to the 2017 Sony

Open in Hawaii, Paul

Casey wasn’t exactly

puffing his chest out

among his peers.

“Leading the tour in

cuts made is not actually

the stat you want

to lead,” Casey said.

“It makes you a lot of

money. But I’m happy

for the form to maybe be

a little more volatile and

By David Westin

Staff Writer

One of England’s

youngest rising stars

hasn’t made an impression

in the United States

yet, but that could

change quickly on the

grand stage of Augusta

National Golf Club.

Tyrrell Hatton, 26,

had moved to 13th in the

world ranking after tying

for third in the Mexico

Championship in early

March. He’s won three

times on the European

Tour since October 2016.

“I’m quite happy going

under the radar,” Hatton

said at the Arnold Palmer

Invitational in mid-

March. “I guess there is

less expected of me that

way, which is nice. I can

do what I want to do and

be left alone at certain

points, which is nice.”

The way Hatton

can go low on a golf

course is definitely an

Paul Casey’s win at the

Valspar Championship

in March was his first

PGA Tour victory since

the 2009 Houston Open.

[MICHAEL HOLAHAN/THE

AUGUSTA CHRONICLE]

get some wins.”

Five days after saying

that, Casey found the

volatility he desired,

firing a tournament-low

65 in the final round of the

Valspar Championship

to win for the first time

since the 2009 Houston

Open on the PGA Tour.

attention-getter. He was

45-under par when he

won the Dunhill Links and

Italian Open in back-toback

weeks last October.

“I can go low if I

need to,” Hatton said.

“Everything needs to be

on point. Low scoring is

not an issue for me.”

H e s h o t

“I’d be lying to you if

I didn’t say there were

(doubts),” Casey said.

“I think the place I’m in

and how good this feels

– although it’s been nine

years since the last victory

– there’s no reason

I can’t get more victories

this year.”

Casey studied why he’d

been so good at getting

into contention but never

closing and singled out

his putting as the culprit.

“I didn’t play the golf

that I needed to win,” he

said. “The glaring factor

was I didn’t putt well

enough. All the guys that

won had strokes gained

on the weekend putting

and I didn’t. The putting

wasn’t good enough.

Even though a couple of

times I was in the fray, I

just wasn’t good enough,

plain and simple. So I

don’t actually feel that

frustrated that I let

chances go.

“There’s a lot of opportunity.

Flip it on its head,

68-65-65-66 at the

Dunhill tournament.

“I was pretty comfortable

at the Dunhill,” he

said. “I had good memories

from the previous

year, obviously winning.

It was good to be back

there, and I was happy

with my swing. If I’m

happy with my swing,

if I continue to play the

golf I’ve played and putt

better, I will win. We’ve

been working hard on the

putting and feel that this

year can be spectacular.”

That formula is what

Casey needs to get over

the hump at Augusta,

where he’s finished in

the top six the past three

years. Winning in March

only increases his confidence

on his favorite

major championship

venue.

“I turn up at Augusta

with ‘How are we going

to win this?’” he said. “I

can’t always look you in

the eye and say that at

some of the other golf

courses we play around

the world. But at Augusta

I turn up and know I

can definitely win this.

How are we going to do

it? Eliminate mistakes.

Make a couple of great

shots. I know how to play

well around there. It’s a

fine line between doing

what I’ve been doing and

I’m generally going to

have a good week. The

putter behaved itself,

which can be a little bit

streaky.”

In addition to his penchant

for low scores,

Hatton also has a reputation

for the passion he

shows on the golf course.

“I’m a quite fiery

person off the golf course

as well,” he said. “There

are certain aspects I could

improve on when I’m on

the golf course, but overall

I wouldn’t say I need

to turn into a robot.”

There were no low

scores for Hatton in his

Masters debut last year.

He shot 80-78 during

rounds when the winds

gusted as high as 30 mph.

“It was pretty tough,”

Hatton said. “It wasn’t

ideal. It is what it is. The

conditions were the same

for everyone, and unfortunately

I just didn’t play

very well. It’s never going

to be great when you

breaking through. It’s not

a massive difference, to

be honest.”

Casey has drawn even

more inspiration from his

generation winning big

events, including Sergio

Garcia getting his breakthrough

major win last

April in the Masters at 37.

He believes “40-somethings

could take on

anybody” at Augusta

National.

“Yeah, and Henrik

Stenson winning the

Open Championship

in his 40 s and Phil

Mickelson winning (the

WGC in Mexico) at 47.

Without question I take

that as a really positive

sign. It’s very different

now. Tiger (Woods)

is back, but the players

I’m competing against

is a very different group

of players than those I

was competing against

earlier in my career. It’s

no easier. Ultimately,

it’s me against the golf

course.”

Hatton is one of England’s newest stars

Tyrrell Hatton throws his club after chipping during the

second round of the 2017 Masters. Hatton missed the

cut in his first start at Augusta National. [ANDREW DAVIS

TUCKER/THE AUGUSTA CHRONICLE]

have tough conditions

and you’re not hitting it

the way you want to. It

was just a tough week.

Hopefully, I can do better

this year.”

His play at Augusta

National in 2017 was surprising

because Hatton

had come into the tournament

playing well. He

had three consecutive

top-10 finishes leading

into the Masters.

“In golf, you can’t

pick and choose when

you’re going to play

well,” Hatton said.

“Unfortunately, the

Masters just fell on a

week I didn’t hit the ball

that great, which was

disappointing since it

was a major and I didn’t

play well. Especially

the fact it was my first

Masters. I was quite

keen to have a really good

week. It didn’t work out.

I’ll try again this year. I’ll

try my best and see what

happens.”

Online

Ross Fisher

Age: 37

Height,

weight: 6-3,

180

Residence:

Cheam,

England

World Ranking: 35

Career victories: 5

Tournament invitation:

Top 50 on final 2017 World

Golf Ranking*

*A full list of qualifications is on 2M.

Record at the Masters

Best Finish: T15

Earnings: $253,335

’09: 69-76-73-69–287 T30

’10: 77-76–153

’11: 69-71-71-73–284 T15

’12: 71-77-73-74–295 T47

’17: 76-74-74-71–295 T41

Tyrrell Hatton

Age: 26

Height,

weight: 5-9,

161

Residence:

Marlow,

Bucking–

hamshire, England

World Ranking: 17

Career victories: 3

Tournament invitation:

Top 50 on final 2017 World

Golf Ranking*

*A full list of qualifications is on 2M.

Record at the Masters

Best Finish: 90

Earnings: $10,000

’17: 80-78–158

Stay up to date on all

the action at Augusta

National Golf Club and

read past stories about

the Masters Tournament

at augusta.com.

Englishman breaks through into elite class

By David Westin

Staff Writer

Tommy Fleetwood has

become better known in

the past 15 months for his

golf than his long hair ,

both of which are now

world-class.

After a solid 2016 , the

Englishman had a breakout

season last year on

the European Tour at

age 26, winning twice,

capturing that tour’s

Race to Dubai title and

breaking into the top 20

of the world golf ranking

for the first time. It

happened after he won

the French Open in

July , jumping him from

21th to 15th. He’s been

as high as 10th, in early

March.

Fleetwood edged

Justin Rose for the

“Race” title, which is

based on points accumulated

from prize money

won on the European

Tour.

“It’s the biggest day

of my career, for sure,”

Fleetwood said.

He also played in the

Masters for the first

time. He didn’t have

a memorable debut,

shooting 78-74 to

miss the cut by two

shots.

“The weather kind

of hurt a little bit in

the preparation side

on the Tuesday and

Wednesday when it was

foul weather,” he said

of the 2017 Masters.

“I didn’t prepare well

enough on and around

the greens, and that’s

where Augusta obviously

lies. I actually played

OK, I just gave away

so many shots away on

the back nine around

the greens. That’s the

main thing to address

when we get back out

there. ”

It’s been more than

three years since

Fleetwood let his hair

grow out, altering his

image on the course.

“It’s nice to have

something that sets

you apart,” he said.

“There are a lot of

people who have long

hair on planet Earth, but

not many of them are

golfers.”

In addition to winning

the Race to Dubai,

Fleetwood won the Seve

Ballesteros Award, the

European Tour player of

the year prize voted on

by the players.

“That was very cool,”

Fleetwood said . “The

Seve award was more

meaningful to me. To

have the kind of recognition

from your peers,

that meant more. That

made me more emotional

than the Race to

Dubai. ”

Now with four

European Tour wins ,

including the Abu Dhabi

HSBC in January for the

second consecutive year,

Fleetwood wants one

on the PGA Tour. He’s

splitting time on both

tours this year.

“It’s sort of the next

step, if you like, since

last year was my first

year playing more events

on the PGA Tour,” said

Fleetwood, who had

temporary membership

last year. “This is

my first year with full

PGA Tour status. There

are plenty of goals that

I have, but winning on

the PGA Tour would be

great, it’s sort of the next

step. ”

Fleetwood was ranked

No. 11 in the world

going into the Arnold

Palmer Invitational in

mid-March.

“My ultimate goal

in life is to be the best

player in the world,” he

said. “That will always

be the same. Whether

I achieve it or not is

another thing, but I’ll

always strive for that.”

Tommy Fleetwood

Age: 27

Height: 5-11

Weight: 168

Residence:

Southport,

England

World

Ranking: 11

Career victories: 4

Tournament invitation:

Among Top 4 at U.S.

Open*

*A full list of qualifications is on 2M.

Record at the Masters

Best Finish: T62

Earnings: $10,000

’17: 78-74–152


M24 Sunday, April 1, 2018 The Augusta Chronicle • Augusta.com


MASTERS 2018

The Augusta Chronicle • Augusta.com Sunday, April 1, 2018 M25

Amateur standing

By John Boyette

Sports Editor

Fred Ridley can vividly

recall the moment he realized

that remaining an

amateur golfer was the right

decision.

It was during the first

round of the 1976 Masters

Tournament. Ridley, the

reigning U.S. Amateur

champion, was in the traditional

pairing at Augusta

National Golf Club with

defending champion Jack

Nicklaus.

Ridley had held his own

with the Golden Bear, a

five-time Masters winner,

early on. But when they

exchanged handshakes on

the 18th green, Nicklaus

had shot 5-under-par 67 and

Ridley had carded 5-over 77.

His ah-ha moment?

“It might have been when

I walked off the ninth tee

with Jack Nicklaus in the

first round of the Masters,

tied with him at 1-under,

and he beat me by 10 shots,”

Ridley said with a laugh.

“That might have been one

of them.”

For Ridley, who was

elected chairman of Augusta

National and the Masters

last summer, it was another

affirmation that he had

made the right choice. And

in the four decades since, the

career amateur has enjoyed

the gentleman’s game without

the rigors of chasing a

professional career. He is the

first chairman to have played

in the Masters.

He remains the last U.S.

Amateur champion who

didn’t turn professional.

Instead he chose to pursue

a career in law, and both of

those decisions no doubt

would have pleased Augusta

National co-founder Bobby

Jones. He, too, practiced

law after his brilliant playing

career was over.

“Not to say anything

against the golfing abilities

of other chairmen,

but you’ve got an amateur

champion that is chairing the

Masters Tournament that

was founded by golf’s greatest

amateur champion,” said

Bob Jones IV, the grandson

of Jones. “That’s just poetry.

You just don’t get better

than that.”

Ridley doesn’t look back

on what could have been.

He knows he made the right

choice.

“I kind of had an inkling

when I was a young guy, as

a teenager, that I probably

was not going to be a golf

professional,” Ridley said.

“So I did read a lot about

[Jones]. I think what struck

me even more than his

amazing playing record was

the way he lived his life and

the integrity, character and

sportsmanship associated

with his persona. That was

very inspiring to me.”

Augusta National Golf Club and Masters Tournament Chairman Fred Ridley. [AUGUSTA NATIONAL GOLF CLUB HANDOUT]

Finding his game

It’s ironic that Ridley

now presides over one of

the game’s most private

and exclusive clubs. Born in

Lakeland, Fla., and raised in

Winter Haven, he grew up

playing municipal courses.

The youngster had enough

talent to earn a spot on the

University of Florida golf

team in the early 1970s,

but his game didn’t flourish

there. The Gators won an

NCAA championship in 1973

with a powerful lineup that

included Andy Bean, Gary

Koch, Woody Blackburn

and Phil Hancock, but Ridley

didn’t crack the starting

lineup for the championship

tournament.

“My college golf was very

mediocre,” he said.

Lessons from Jack Grout,

Nicklaus’ longtime instructor,

helped Ridley become

a better driver in 1974, his

senior year at Florida.

“I had a good short game,

and the thing he did was he

made me a good driver of the

ball,” Ridley said. “That was

always my Achilles’ heel.”

Ridley enjoyed some success

on the national amateur

circuit leading into the 1975

U.S. Amateur in Richmond,

Va., but he was hardly

among the favorites after

earning the last spot in the

qualifier in Jacksonville,

Fla. As a pure match play

event then, Ridley had to

win eight matches to claim

the championship.

After winning his first four

matches, Ridley came upon

one of the pre-tournament

favorites: Curtis Strange.

Not only was Strange a local

favorite, but he was also

one of the top players and

the 1974 NCAA individual

champion.

“It was one of those times

I played well and he didn’t

quite play his best, and I won

2 and 1,” Ridley said.

In the quarterfinals,

Ridley met Jack Veghte ,

who was accomplished on

the Florida amateur scene.

If he won that, Ridley would

earn a berth in the Masters

because semifinalists were

still invited to Augusta.

“I can remember on the

18th hole I had a 3-foot putt

to win the match,” Ridley

said. “I wasn’t thinking

about getting to the semifinals;

all I was thinking is if I

make this putt I get to go to

the Masters. And I missed

it.”

Ridley did recover to win

the match on the first extra

hole, but an even bigger

opponent, literally and figuratively,

was up next: his

Florida teammate, Andy

Bean.

In the semifinal match,

Ridley held on to beat his

more accomplished friend

2 and 1.

“Andy’s a real big guy

now, pretty big then, I’m 6-2

and he’s 6-4, and he picked

me up by my collar and lifted

me up,” Ridley said. “I can’t

repeat exactly what he said,

but he said you’d better win

tomorrow.”

In the 36-hole finale,

Ridley faced Keith Fergus of

the University of Houston.

“I think I was 6 up early

in the afternoon, and I

started thinking about what

was going to happen, and

we went to the 36th hole,”

Ridley said. “I won the hole

to win 2 up. I think I had 69

in the morning but it wasn’t

very pretty in the afternoon.

Great memories, and fun to

reminisce.”

The victory put Ridley’s

name on the Havemeyer

Trophy, the same one his

idol Jones won a record five

times.

Strange won 17 times,

including back-to-back

U.S. Opens, in his Hall of

Fame career. Bean earned 11

PGA Tour wins, and Fergus

went on to win a combined

six times on the PGA

and Champions tours. Yet

despite getting past those

players, Ridley had a hunch

that he wasn’t cut out to be a

professional. He was already

enrolled in law school at

Stetson University.

Masters moment

The decision to remain

amateur put Ridley on a path

that eventually led him to the

chairmanship of Augusta

National.

He didn’t quit the game

cold turkey while studying

law. He still found time to

play in the Walker Cup and

other amateur events he had

earned invitations to thanks

to being a U.S. Amateur

champion.

“My father, and the dean

of the law school, allowed

me to take a semester off,”

Ridley said. “I played a lot

of golf, which was the best

thing that happened to me,

because I really confirmed

that I don’t want to play

professionally. I realized

how hard it was. I went back

to law school that fall really

kind of thinking I don’t want

to do this.”

In an era when more amateurs

were invited to play

in the Masters, Ridley did

so three consecutive years,

from 1976-78. He never

made the cut, but he earned

a lifetime of memories.

He stayed in the Crow’s

Nest, the perch at the top of

the clubhouse reserved for

amateurs. He played with

Sam Snead. And he met

Clifford Roberts.

See RIDLEY, M26

Previous chairmen at Augusta National Golf Club

CLIFFORD ROBERTS

(1931-76): He was the

brains behind most of

what is the Masters

Tournament today. He

joined with golfer Bobby

Jones to organize the club

and start the invitational

tournament. Innovations

included mounds for

spectators to view play

and bringing television to

the tournament in 1956.

Roberts died of a selfinflicted

gunshot wound

on the grounds of Augusta

National in 1977.

BILL LANE (1977-80): He

served a very short period

of time as chairman. Lane

succeeded Roberts in

1977 but soon became

ill and was hospitalized.

Notable occurrences

during his tenure were

the Par-3 Course being

converted to bentgrass in

preparation for installation

on the main course

and the patron badge

waiting list being closed

in 1978. Hord Hardin

became acting chairman

in 1979, and Lane died in

1980.

HORD HARDIN (1980-91):

Changes during his tenure

included the acceptance

of Ron Townsend, the

club’s first black member,

in 1990; the change from

bermuda to slick bentgrass

greens in 1981;

allowing non-Augusta

National caddies to work

the Masters beginning in

1983; and the reinstatement

of honorary starters,

featuring Gene Sarazen,

Byron Nelson and Sam

Snead, in 1981. He died in

1996.

JACK STEPHENS (1991-

98): Under his watch,

limitations on practiceround

tickets were

instituted and an agreement

was reached to use

Augusta National as the

venue for golf in the 1996

Olympic Games. The plan

was later rejected by the

IOC when Atlanta Mayor

Bill Campbell was critical

of the lack of minorities

on the Augusta National

membership roll. He died

in 2005.

HOOTIE JOHNSON

(1998-2006): To combat

advances in technology,

he oversaw several

changes to the golf course

that stretched the layout

to 7,445 yards. He also

made headlines for refusing

to give in to activist

Martha Burk, who urged

the club to admit women

as members. Johnson

also made changes to the

qualification system for

the Masters and instituted

18-hole television coverage

of the tournament. He

died in July.

BILLY PAYNE (2006-

2017): He welcomed the

first female members at

Augusta National Golf Club,

Condoleezza Rice and Darla

Moore, in 2012. He sought

new ways to grow golf and

did so by joining forces with

golf’s governing bodies to

create the Drive, Chip and

Putt Championship for

children ages 7-15. Under

his watch, Augusta National

and the game’s ruling

bodies also created two new

amateur tournaments, the

Asia-Pacific Amateur and

Latin America Amateur.


M26 Sunday, April 1, 2018 The Augusta Chronicle • Augusta.com

MASTERS 2018

RIDLEY

From Page M25

It was 1976, and the longtime

Masters chairman was in

his final year at the helm. Ridley

was making his Augusta National

debut, and he had come the week

before the tournament. That’s

when he had a chance encounter

with the chairman underneath the

big oak tree behind the clubhouse.

“I don’t remember what I was

doing, but I was standing by

myself, probably just soaking it all

in,” Ridley recalled. “And I turned

around and there was Clifford

Roberts. I thought I’ve done

something wrong, I was ready to

be lectured. But we had the nicest

conversation, and I remember he

was very polite, very kind.

“As we were finishing up, he said,

‘Son,’ and he pointed over to the

Par-3 Course, ‘You’re going to play

over there next Wednesday. I want

you to get a few rounds in before the

Par-3 Contest.’ That didn’t have a

lot of meaning to me at the time, but

I now know that that was a really

special place for him. He loved the

Par-3. I do have that recollection,

which is pretty special.”

Making a name in Augusta

Ridley’s law career flourished, and

so did his position in amateur golf.

He is currently a partner and

national chair of the real estate

practice for international law firm

Foley & Lardner LLP in Tampa, Fla.

Ridley remained active in amateur

golf, and he served as captain

of the 1987 and 1989 U.S. Walker

Cup teams and the 2010 U.S.

World Amateur Team.

He was a member of the USGA

Executive Committee from 1994

to 2005 and was elected president

of the USGA for 2004-05.

But Ridley, who joined Augusta

National in 2000 and took over

as chairman of the tournament’s

Competition Committee in 2007,

said he hasn’t been an active past

president of the USGA.

“I guess I would say my jacket’s been

green for some time now,” he said.

At Augusta, Ridley became part

of Chairman Billy Payne’s inner

circle and in his role as chairman

of the Competition Committee

made an annual appearance on the

dais next to the chairman during

his “State of the Masters” address.

It was in that role that Ridley

faced perhaps his greatest challenge.

At the 2013 Masters, a

rules controversy involving Tiger

Woods put Ridley in the spotlight.

In the second round, Woods’ ball

hit the flagstick and caromed into the

pond at the 15th hole. Woods took a

drop later deemed improper, and

was assessed a two-stroke penalty

before the third round began. Ridley

used his discretion and decided

not to disqualify Woods for signing

an incorrect scorecard because

the committee had initially deemed

his drop legal after reviewing visual

evidence and never discussed it with

Woods before he signed his card.

Social media howled for Woods’

disqualification. Further muddying

the water was the fact that the

ruling involved Woods, a fourtime

Masters champion.

Ridley now characterizes the

ruling as “complicated” but said he

was “very comfortable in the end

result that we did the right thing.”

Barely two weeks after the

Woods controversy, the USGA and

the R&A issued a joint statement

that explained the ruling and, in

effect, backed up the decision by

Ridley and the Masters committee.

“Given the unusual combination

of facts – as well as the fact

that nothing in the existing Rules

or Decisions specifically addressed

such circumstances of simultaneous

competitor error and

Committee error – the Committee

reasonably exercised its discretion,”

the statement said.

Nearly five years later, Ridley

stands firm in his belief that he

made the right call.

“I think people that understood

what happened agree with (the

decision),” he said. “At the end of

the day, if you do the right thing,

everything’s going to be fine.

That’s really how I feel about it.”

Taking the reins

The list of accomplishments

during Payne’s tenure is

exhaustive.

Grow the game by creating new

amateur events and embracing

a kid-friendly event that allows

them to participate on the grounds

of Augusta National? Check.

As the U.S. Amateur champion at the 1976 Masters Tournament, Fred Ridley

was paired with defending Masters champion Jack Nicklaus. [HANDOUT FROM

AUGUSTA NATIONAL]

Online

To read more about where

new Augusta National Chairman

Fred Ridley stands on the issues, go

to augusta.com

Increase digital offerings and

make the Par-3 Contest a televised

event to show how cool golf

can be? Check.

Move the club and tournament

into the 21st century with the

addition of female members and

numerous improvements to the

club’s infrastructure? Check.

“There’s a lot of physical evidence

of what he’s accomplished

in his tenure here,” Ridley said.

“He has expanded our campus in

a way you couldn’t imagine when

he took over.”

But there’s still plenty left for

Ridley to accomplish.

The biggest area left untouched by

Payne is Augusta National’s venerable

layout. The mandate for Ridley is

to keep the Jones- MacKenzie masterpiece,

now close to 90 years old,

relevant in an age when modernday

professionals are hitting the golf

ball farther than ever before.

“That is something I do know a

little bit about,” Ridley said last

fall. “The process is we take a hard

look at the golf course every year.”

Ridley’s first big course project

as chairman could come right after

this year’s Masters. Preliminary

plans filed by Augusta National in

January show renovations to the

par-4 fifth hole, with the work tentatively

scheduled to begin in May.

Thanks to a project completed

during Payne’s watch — the

realignment of Berckmans Road —

Augusta National now controls the

former road that had landlocked

the club’s western border.

“Old Berckmans Road certainly

gives us some opportunities and

options, and we are looking at

those,” Ridley said.

Plans call for the tournament tee

box to be relocated across the old

road , which will free up the logjam

at the fourth green and fifth tee.

Old Berckmans Road would then

be rerouted around the new tee

box, according to the site plans.

Site plans also have been filed

by Augusta National to begin work

this spring at neighboring Augusta

Country Club. In 2017, Augusta

National acquired land from

Augusta Country Club near Rae’s

Creek at the section of holes Nos.

11, 12 and 13 known as Amen Corner.

According to the plans, the new

ninth hole at Augusta Country

Club would become a dogleg right

hole and two tee boxes for the hole

would be located across Rae’s

Creek. A new green complex for the

eighth hole would shift the green to

the right of its present location and

be located closer to Rae’s Creek.

No work is indicated for Augusta

National’s holes, but the purchase

of land will give the home

of the Masters more access for

maintenance and tournament

infrastructure along its perimeter

at that part of the course.

Steve Melnyk, a former U.S.

Amateur and British Amateur

champion who played in five

Masters, thinks Ridley’s experience

as a competitive golfer will be a plus.

“I think that will be beneficial in

many ways. I think Fred will bring a

fresh set of eyes,” Melnyk said. “With

Fred you’ve got a chance to make the

course better. Not necessarily harder,

but better in subtle ways.”

'Perfect for it'

Ridley defies the mold of Roberts

and the men who came after him as

chairman.

How many Augusta National

chairmen can boast of a double eagle

at the 15th hole, just as Gene Sarazen

did on his way to winning the 1935

Masters?

And how many chairmen had such

a perfect head of hair that a hashtag

was devoted to it?

Ridley can check both of those

boxes.

He might be showing a touch of

gray at the temples, but Ridley can

pass for much younger than his

actual age of 65. He and his wife,

Betsy, have been married for 40

years, and they have three daughters:

Maggie, Libby and Sydney.

The Ridleys became grandparents

earlier this year when Libby gave

birth to a boy.

In his new office at Augusta

National, photos of his family are

prominently displayed. He’s especially

proud of one showing Sergio

Garcia celebrating his breakthrough

victory at last year’s Masters. In the

background, two of Ridley’s daughters

can be seen.

For the Ridleys, golf is a family

affair.

“Our honeymoon was made up

of me playing in Eastern Amateur

and then the Walker Cup matches

and the U.S. Amateur,” Ridley said

with a laugh. “She knew what she

was getting herself into. She’s been

around golf a long time. So have our

girls, they all play.”

A photo on social media shows

the Ridleys with their three daughters

standing on Hogan Bridge with

Augusta National’s 12th hole in the

background. According to "Golf

Digest," the chairman gets in a couple

dozen rounds each year at the club.

His ringer score is impressive with

the double eagle, a handful of eagles

and a hole-in-one at the 16th.

His youngest daughter, Sydney,

likes to tease him about his hair on

social media and tags photos with

#Fredshair.

“Fortunately, I’ve kept it all,”

Ridley said of his hair.

Ridley takes it all in stride, which fits

perfectly with his good-guy image.

“You’d be hard-pressed to find

anyone to say something negative,”

said Melnyk, a longtime friend. “He

rarely raises his voice. He’s a logical

thinker.

“Given the prominence of the

chairmanship at Augusta National, I

think he’s perfect for it. I think he will

advance their agenda. The tournament

and club will be better off for it.”

Payne and his inner circle agree.

“My connection to the chairmanship

resides within Fred and his

performance over the next several

years,” Payne said. “I know it’s going

to be outstanding. He’s an even finer

man than he was a player.”

An Augusta National member

close to both Payne and Ridley

agreed, saying Ridley is “well versed

in the challenges the club faces” and

he’s the “right guy to continue” the

work started by Payne.

“I don’t think he’s going to make

wholesale changes,” the member

said. “He’ll be his own man.”

Ridley will forge his own path in

the coming years, but all roads at

Augusta National eventually lead

back to the legacy created by Jones

and Roberts. Ridley said he views his

role as a custodian.

“They are the ones that established

the mandate of constant improvement,

which is going to drive me and

my goals as chairman of the club, and

I feel that if I follow that mandate, I’ll

be in a position when my time is over

to pass this honor on to my successor

even stronger than it is today,”

Ridley said. “That’s my goal, and

that’s what I think Mr. Jones and Mr.

Roberts would expect.”

Reach John Boyette at (706)

823-3337 or jboyette@

augustachronicle.com.

Payne accomplished

much in his tenure

as chairman

By John Boyette

Sports Editor

Billy Payne likes to

talk about a key piece

of advice he received

from his predecessor

as chairman of

Augusta National Golf

Club and the Masters

Tournament.

“I remember Hootie

(Johnson) told me

when I became chairman,

you’re going to

be judged by how much

money you lose on the

concession business,”

Payne said with a laugh.

“The more you lose, the

better you’re going to

be loved.”

Payne, who oversaw

the club and tournament

from 2006-2017,

stepped down in August

and was replaced by

Fred Ridley. Payne has

assumed the title of

chairman emeritus.

Judged solely on concessions,

Payne was a

resounding success.

“I can’t tell you how

many letters I get after

every tournament,”

he said. “'Mr. Payne,

I’ve wanted to come

to the Masters all my

life, and brought my

family of four and we

had lunch and it was

$11 and whatever.' And

they give me the whole

menu they had.

“We don’t make any

money off concessions,

and we don’t want to.

We want people to feel

like they’re getting

value.”

Judging his tenure as

a whole, no chairman

since co-founder and

first chairman Clifford

Roberts did more.

Payne welcomed the

first female members

at Augusta National ,

embraced digital technology

to promote

the Masters, sought

new ways to grow

golf and oversaw the

most ambitious building

phase in the club’s

history.

“Billy was really

the first chairman

to embrace that the

Masters is the Mona

Lisa of sports,” one club

member said. “We have

a responsibility to the

game, how are we going

to grow the game? There

was a lot more inclusion.

Before it might have

been more isolated.”

Payne’s predecessor

oversaw two major

renovations to Augusta

National during his

tenure. Other than a

few minor adjustments,

Payne left the course

largely untouched.

Instead, he focused

on inclusion.

In 2012, Condoleezza

Rice and Darla Moore

were invited to join

nearly a decade after

the club’s membership

Billy Payne timeline

practices were criticized

by a national

women’s organization.

“It was fantastic,”

Payne said of the

female members. “I’ve

said repeatedly I don’t

really make a distinction.

I want to beat

Condi Rice out of her

$5, too. They’re golfers

and they’re friends.”

With golf struggling

to attract new players

because of time and

money, Payne joined

forces with golf’s governing

bodies to create

the Drive, Chip and

Putt Championship.

The annual event for

children ages 7-15

attracts thousands of

youngsters who strive

to reach the finals held

at Augusta National on

the eve of the Masters.

Payne and the game’s

ruling bodies also created

two new amateur

tournaments, the

Asia-Pacific Amateur

and Latin America

Amateur. He offered

a Masters berth to the

winner to give each

tournament an immediate

boost.

He also increased

the tournament’s digital

presence, bringing

the latest in television

technology to the

broadcasts. He also

expanded content

available on the tournament

website with

live video channels

and a tracking feature

that enabled patrons to

follow the shots of each

player .

Payne focused on

carrying the Southern

style of architecture

throughout the club’s

grounds.

“Operationally, of

course, we’ve grown,

so we needed more

space,” he said. “But it

doesn’t have to be ugly

space. It can be beautiful

space, and that’s

what we’ve tried to do.”

He transformed

Augusta National’s

grounds by improving

parking, on-course

amenities, hospitality

and even how patrons

arrived at the course

with the realignment

of Berckmans Road.

Payne said that he

was just trying to follow

the mantra of cofounders

Bobby Jones

and Roberts, which was

to constantly strive for

improvement.

“I think all chairmen

after our first two

founders are custodians

of their dreams and

aspirations,” Payne

said. “We try to maintain

it and, if we can,

make it a little better.”

Reach John Boyette

at (706) 823-3337

or jboyette@augustachronicle.com.

1997: Becomes member of Augusta National

2000: Begins chairmanship of Masters Media

Committee

2006: Elected chairman, succeeding Hootie Johnson

2007: Reinstates honorary starter tradition;

announces new qualifications for invitation

2008: Introduces Golf Goes Worldwide initiative,

which includes televising Par-3 Contest

2009: Announces creation of Asia-Pacific Amateur

Championship, with winner getting berth in Masters

2010: Tournament Practice Range used for first time

2011: Masters works with EA Sports to produce

video game using Augusta National layout, with

proceeds going to Masters Tournament Foundation;

ticket application and selection process moves

online, with a small number of daily tournament

tickets available for first time

2012: Condoleeza Rice and Darla Moore announced

as first female members at Augusta National

2014: Inaugural Drive, Chip and Putt Championship is

held at Augusta National

2015: First Latin America Amateur Championship

held, with winner earning spot in Masters

2016: Berckmans Road realignment project is

completed

2017: Announces retirement as chairman


MASTERS 2018

The Augusta Chronicle • Augusta.com Sunday, April 1, 2018 M27

Johnson’s chairmanship marked by changes, controversy

By John Boyette

Sports Editor

William W. “Hootie”

Johnson, who oversaw

major changes to Augusta

National Golf Club’s

layout and held firm in

defending the club’s

membership policies,

died July 14. He was 86.

Johnson served as

chairman of Augusta

National and the Masters

Tournament from 1998

to 2006, and under his

direction, the famed

Alister MacKenzie-

Bobby Jones layout

was lengthened to

7,445 yards. During his

tenure, 14 of the 18 holes

were altered as Augusta

National led the charge

against advances in golf

ball and club technology

that threatened to make

older courses obsolete.

Johnson also modified

the qualifications for

invitation to the tournament,

initiated 18-hole

television coverage and

began the practice of

announcing the club’s

donations to charity.

But it was his response

to Martha Burk, chairwoman

of the National

Council of Women’s

Organizations, that

thrust him into the

national spotlight in the

summer of 2002.

Burk challenged

Augusta National’s allmale

membership, and

Johnson responded with

a terse, three-paragraph

reply and issued a statement

to the media that

outlined the club’s position.

He famously said

the private club would

not change at the “point

of a bayonet.”

“Our club has historically

enjoyed a

camaraderie and kindred

spirit that we

think is the heart and

soul of our club. And

that makes it difficult

for us to consider

change,” Johnson told

The Augusta Chronicle

at the height of the controversy.

“Now a woman

could very well, as I’ve

said before, become a

member of Augusta.

But that is some time

out in the future. And

in the meantime, we’ll

hold dear our traditions,

and our constitutional

right, to choose and to

associate.”

The controversy escalated

as Burk threatened

to boycott the tournament

and its sponsors,

but Johnson responded

by releasing the club’s

TV sponsors for two

years. A planned protest

during the 2003 Masters

by Burk and her supporters

fizzled.

Johnson was succeeded

as club and

tournament chairman by

Billy Payne, who in 2012

ushered in the club’s

first two female members.

Johnson sponsored

Darla Moore, a fellow

South Carolinian and

businesswoman. Former

U.S. Secretary of State

Condoleezza Rice also

became a member.

Payne mourned the

loss of Johnson, calling

him a personal mentor on

Masters matters as well as

those in business and life.

“He boldly directed

numerous course

improvements to ensure

that Augusta National

would always represent

the very finest

test of golf,” Payne

said in a statement.

“Simultaneously, Hootie

expanded television coverage

of the Masters,

improved qualification

standards for invitation

to the tournament

and reopened the series

badge waiting list for the

first time in more than

20 years. Many of these

measures brought more

people than ever closer to

the Masters and inspired

us to continue exploring

ways to welcome people

all over the world to the

tournament and the game

of golf.”

Johnson was born in

Augusta on Feb. 16, 1931.

He got the nickname

“Hootie” from a childhood

playmate when he was 5.

His family lived in

North Augusta when he

was born but moved to

Augusta in 1935. Johnson

attended the Masters

that year for the first

time.

Johnson and his

brother took over

the family bank in

Hootie Johnson served as chairman from 1998 to 2006.

His successor, Billy Payne, said Johnson’s efforts

“brought more people than ever closer to the Masters.”

[FILE/THE AUGUSTA CHRONICLE]

Greenwood when their

father died in 1961. They

turned it into Bankers

Trust, and through a

series of mergers and

acquisitions he eventually

rose to chairman of

the executive committee

of Bank of America

Corp. He retired from

that position in 2001.

In addition to his

changes to the course,

Johnson also attempted

to end the lifetime

exemptions for Masters

champions in 2002. He

sent letters to former

champions Gay Brewer,

Billy Casper and Doug

Ford asking them to no

longer compete in the

tournament because they

exhibited a pattern of not

completing their rounds.

After a meeting with

Jack Nicklaus and

Arnold Palmer, Johnson

rescinded the order to

ban champions after they

turned 65, which was to

go into effect in 2004.

De Vicenzo, infamous for scorecard error, among notable deaths

From Staff and Wire Reports

Roberto De Vicenzo,

whose infamous scorecard

error at the 1968 Masters

Tournament cost him a

place in a playoff with

Bob Goalby, died June 1.

He was 94.

“All that I lose at the

Masters is the jacket,”

De Vicenzo said in a 2009

interview. “The prestige,

no. My name is in

the Masters forever. It’s

42 years past and we are

still talking about the

Masters.”

Despite induction in the

World Golf Hall of Fame in

1989, De Vicenzo’s name

doesn’t often get thrown

into the conversation with

Bobby Jones, Ben Hogan,

Jack Nicklaus, Arnold

Palmer, Gary Player, Tom

Watson, Tiger Woods and

the rest of golf’s greatest

players who accumulated

multiple major victories.

However, there was no

more prolific winner in the

world than De Vicenzo,

who won 231 professional

tournaments – 96 times

outside Argentina with

48 national open championships

in 17 different

countries.

At his peak, he earned

$100,000 a year even

though he averaged seven

victories a season from

1948-74. The senior tour

didn’t launch until he was

already 57 or he could have

cashed in more.

“I catch everything,

como se dice, the horse

by the tail,” he said with

a laugh. “But I have

something.”

His greatest achievement

was winning the

British Open at Hoylake in

a two-stroke victory over

Nicklaus in 1967. Nicklaus

recalled De Vicenzo as

“not only a great golfer,

but a great friend.”

De Vicenzo was a

beloved figure in his native

Argentina. 2009 Masters

champion Angel Cabrera

followed in his footsteps,

as did Eduardo Romero,

Fabian Gomez, Andres

Romero and Emiliano

Grillo.

De Vicenzo celebrated

his 45th birthday on the

final round of the 1968

Masters. He proceeded to

hole his 9-iron for an eagle

2 on the opening hole, followed

by birdies at Nos. 2

and 3 that turned a twoshot

deficit to Player into

a two-shot lead. He added

birdies at Nos. 8, 12, 15

and 17 before a bogey on

the 18th left him shooting

what should have been

65 and earned a Monday

Hall of Fame player Roberto De Vicenzo won 231

pro tournaments, but he’s most remembered for a

scorecard error at the 1968 Masters that kept him from

going to a playoff for the green jacket. [FILE]

morning date with Goalby

for an 18-hole playoff.

Disgusted by his closing

bogey and distracted by a

request to go to the interview

room, De Vicenzo

quickly signed his card

without really looking,

not noticing that playing

partner Tommy Aaron

had written a par 4 where

a birdie 3 should have been

on the 17th hole. Aaron

tried to catch De Vicenzo

before he left the area of

the open-air scoring table

on the apron of the 18th

green, but once he stepped

away the error was set and

his final score was 66,

leaving him runner-up.

“What a stupid I am,”

remains his most famous

quote.

In 1970, he received

the Bob Jones Award, the

USGA’s highest honor, for

his distinguished sportsmanship

in golf. Augusta

National Chairman

Clifford Roberts even

presented him with a

cigarette box like the ones

the club used to give to the

champion.

“I didn’t accept finishing

in second place;

I accepted the rules,”

De Vicenzo said. “That

respect that I have earned

is the green jacket which

eluded me in 1968 in

Augusta. It’s my victory.”

•••

Johnny Sands, a longtime

Augusta newspaperman

often credited with coining

the phrase “Arnie’s Army”

to describe Palmer’s golf

fans, died Feb. 9. He was

87. A native of Boston,

Sands was known as an

old-school craftsman

on the news desk where

he designed the newspaper’s

front page for

many years. Sands was

editing a column written

by Chronicle sports

editor Johnny Hendrix and

needed a subhead, the

smaller headline newspapers

use to break up

text. Hendrix had written

a description of the young

Palmer’s fans following

him around and looking

like “a battalion,” Sands

said. “I liked the image,

but it wasn’t snappy

enough,” he said in a 2016

interview. He began to

weigh phrases that would

have the double “A” —

“Arnie’s A ….” Batta lion

made him think of “Army,”

said Sands. Sands, a military

veteran nicknamed

“Sandman,” said he never

really wanted to make a

big deal about it. “I never

took credit,” Sands said.

“If Johnny (Hendrix) had

nixed it, it wouldn’t have

happened, but that’s how

‘Arnie’s Army’ started and

after that we began to use

it.”

•••

P. Daniel Yates Jr., who

witnessed the first 78

Masters Tournaments

and was a personal friend

of Augusta National Golf

Club co-founder Bobby

Jones, died May 12. He

was 98. Yates attended

the inaugural Augusta

National Invi ta tion

Tournament as a 15-yearold

in 1934 to watch his

older brother, Charles,

play. The Augusta National

member and Atlanta

businessman attended

the Masters through

2014. Charles Yates was

a close friend of Jones,

the amateur golf legend,

and played in the first 11

Masters. That’s how Dan

Yates got to know him.

“He was such a good

fellow,” Yates said of

Jones during a 2014 interview

with The Augusta

Chronicle . “He played golf

with my brother Charles

on Saturday mornings for

several years. I remember

what he told me. He

said, ‘Dan, when you’re

swinging at a golf ball,

remember two things.

The first thing is you don’t

think about more than

one thing, but you do

remember to stay behind

the ball.’ Every time I’ve

hit a ball since then, I’ve

always thought about

that.” Yates, a World War

II veteran, never played

in the Masters, but his

son, Danny, played twice

as an amateur. The Yates

family has been prominent

in golf in Georgia for

decades; Charles, Dan

and Danny each won the

Georgia State Amateur

Championship. Yates

played golf at Georgia

Tech and served as team

captain. In addition to

the state amateur, he

also won the Atlanta City

Amateur and the Dogwood

Invitational. He was

inducted into the Georgia

Golf Hall of Fame and the

Georgia Tech Athletics Hall

of Fame. Yates focused his

efforts on serving on tournament

committees after

joining the club. For years,

he and Charles worked

on the press committee

and conducted player

interviews.

•••

Frank Broyles, who guided

the University of Arkansas

to its lone national football

championship and

later molded the overall

program as its athletic

director, died Aug. 14.

He was 92. The longtime

Augusta National member

died from complications

of Alzheimer’s disease,

according to a statement

from his family.

•••

B.F. “Bev” Dolan, a

co-founder of E-Z-Go

and a pioneer of the

modern golf car industry,

died Feb. 20. He was 90.

Dolan and his brother

Billy created the industry’s

oldest golf car brand

after witnessing Augusta

National co-founder

Bobby Jones ride around

in a three-wheeled cart

during the 1954 Masters.

An Augusta native, Dolan

helped transform what

was once considered

a novelty item to standard

equipment on golf

courses worldwide. He

orchestrated E-Z-G o’s

sale to Rhode Islandbased

Textron in 1960 and

continued running the golf

vehicle company for all

but three years until 1979,

when Textron hired him

as corporate president.

Dolan retired as chairman

of the company in 1991. A

longtime Augusta National

member, Dolan appeared

in Augusta last April as

one of the honorees at

the Augusta Mayor’s

Masters Reception. Dolan

and his brother began

building the vehicles by

hand at an east Augusta

machine shop before

moving to a larger facility

in Grovetown and finally

to Marvin Griffin Road,

where the company’s main

manufacturing facility

and corporate offices

are still located. In 2012,

Dolan received the PGA’s

Ernie Sabayrac Award for

lifetime contributions to

the golf industry.

•••

Dick Enberg, a Hall of

Fame broadcaster known

for exclaiming “Oh my!”

to describe key moments,

died Dec. 22. He was 82.

Enberg announced

UCLA basketball during

its heyday as an NCAA

powerhouse and went

on to call Super Bowls,

Olympics and Final Fours.

He retired in October 2016

after a six-decade career

in broadcasting. At the

Masters, Enberg was

part of the CBS team.

He handled interview

duties at Butler Cabin

all but one year from

2000-2006.

•••

Dearing Francis

“Frank” Stone III, a

longtime volunteer

in the media center at

the Masters, died Jan. 9.

He was 69. The avid

golfer was a longtime

member of the Augusta

Country Club, Secession

Golf Club, Merion Golf

Club and the Augusta

Golf Association. At the

Masters, Stone worked

closely with tournament

staff and helped facilitate

player interviews for more

than 30 years.

Hall of Fame broadcaster

Dick Enberg was part

of the CBS team at

the Masters, handling

interview duties at Butler

Cabin all but one year

from 2000 to 2006. [FILE/

ASSOCIATED PRESS]

E-Z-Go founder Bev Dolan

(right) shakes hands

with longtime employee

Joseph Williams at last

year’s Mayor’s Masters

Reception, where Dolan

was an honoree. [FILE/THE

AUGUSTA CHRONICLE]

P. Daniel Yates Jr. saw

the first 78 Masters and

served on tournament

committees at the

club. [FILE/THE AUGUSTA

CHRONICLE]

Augusta newspaperman

Johnny Sands was often

credited with coining the

phrase “Arnie’s Army.”

•••

Dr. Herman Ray Finney, a

longtime Augusta National

member who headed the

first aid committee at the

Masters, died Jan. 14. He

was 81. Finney served on

the boards of Secession

Golf Club, Champions

Retreat Golf Club and

Augusta Country Club. He

was a member of Augusta

National for more than 40

years, serving on the tournament

scoring committee

and later was chairman of

the first aid committee.


M28 Sunday, April 1, 2018 The Augusta Chronicle • Augusta.com

MASTERS 2018

Yuta Ikeda

Age: 32

Height: 5-9

Weight: 170

Residence:

Japan

College:

Tohoku

Fukushi University

World Ranking: 54

Career victories: 19

Tournament invitation:

Top 50 on final 2017 World

Golf Ranking*

*A full list of qualifications is on 2M.

Record at the Masters

Best Finish: 29

Earnings: $73,250

’10: 70-77-72-71–290 29

’11: 74-74–148

’17: 74-77–151

Kiradech Aphibarnrat

Age: 28

Height,

weight: 5-8,

229

Residence:

Bangkok,

Thailand

World Ranking: 29

Career victories: 4

Tournament invitation:

Top 50 on final 2017 World

Golf Ranking*

*A full list of qualifications is on 2M.

Record at the Masters

Best Finish: T15

Earnings: $175,000

’16: 72-72-77-70–291 T15

Yusaku Miyazato

Age: 37

Height: 5-7

Weight: 150

Residence:

Okinawa,

Japan

College:

Tohoku Fukushi University

World Ranking: 57

Career victories: 3

Tournament invitation:

Top 50 on final 2017 World

Golf Ranking*

*A full list of qualifications is on 2M.

Record at the Masters

Best Finish: first

appearance

Patrick Cantlay

Age: 26

Height: 5-10

Weight: 160

Residence:

Los Alamitos,

Calif.

College:

UCLA

World Ranking: 33

Career victories: 1

Tournament invitation:

Won qualifying PGA Tour

event since 2017 Masters*

*A full list of qualifications is on 2M.

Record at the Masters

Best Finish: T47

’12: 71-78-74-72–295-a T47

’12: 75-76–151

Kyle Stanley

Age: 30

Height: 5-11

Weight: 165

Residence:

Gig Harbor,

Wash.

College:

Clemson University

World Ranking: 4

Career victories: 2

Tournament invitation:

Won qualifying PGA Tour

event since 2017 Masters*

*A full list of qualifications is on 2M.

Record at the Masters

Best Finish: T65

Earnings: $10,000

Pat Perez

Age: 42

Height: 6-0

Weight: 180

Residence:

Scottsdale,

Ariz.

College:

Arizona State University

World Ranking: 19

Career victories: 4

Tournament invitation:

Won qualifying PGA Tour

event since 2017 Masters*

*A full list of qualifications is on 2M.

Record at the Masters

Best Finish: T18

Earnings: $180,700

’03: 74-73-79-75–301 T45

’09: 75-79–154

’17: 74-74-70-71–289 T18

Hideki Matsuyama

Age: 26

Height: 5-11

Weight: 198

Residence:

Sendai, Japan

College:

Tohoku

Fukushi University

World Ranking: 6

Career victories: 13

Tournament invitation:

Among Top 12 at 2017

Masters*

*A full list of qualifications is on 2M.

Record at the Masters

Best Finish: 5

Earnings: $954,867

’11: 72-73-68-74–287-a T27

’12: 71-74-72-80–297-a T54

’14: 80-71–151

’15: 71-70-70-66–277 5

’16: 71-72-72-73–288 T7

’17: 76-70-74-67–287 T11

Haotong Li

Age: 22

Height: 6-0

Weight: 165

Residence:

Shanhai,

China

World

Ranking: 41

Career victories: 5

Tournament invitation:

Among Top 4 at 2017

British Open*

*A full list of qualifications is on 2M.

Record at the Masters

First appearance

’17: 75-81–156

Si Woo Kim

Age: 22

Height: 5-11

Weight: 182

Residence:

Fullerton,

Calif.

College:

Yonsei University

World Ranking: 50

Career victories: 3

Tournament invitation:

2017 The Players

champion*

*A full list of qualifications is on 2M.

Record at the Masters

Best Finish: T84

Earnings: $10,000

By Scott Michaux

Staff Writer

There will be a lot

of talk about a quality

comeback from a

career-threatening

back injury and personal

trauma for a former

world No. 1 at the 2018

Masters, and Patrick

Cantlay’s story warrants

a significant share of that

conversation.

The former world No.

1 amateur essentially

lost roughly four years

of his pro career from

the summer of 2012 to

early 2017 with a stress

fracture in his L5 vertebrae

that forced him to

sit out three, seven, 15

and 14 months between

aborted returns.

A month into his last

layoff in 2016, his world

was further shattered

when his caddie and best

friend, Chris Roth, was

killed by a hit-and-run

driver while walking 10

feet in front of Cantlay

in Newport Beach, Calif.

“I’m already at the

lowest point I could

be – I feel so far away

from where my goals

are – and then that

Matsuyama hoping to become

first Japanese Masters champ

By Scott Michaux

Staff Writer

It’s been a quiet

build-up to the Masters

for world No. 6 Hideki

Matsuyama after sitting

out six weeks with

a thumb injury, but the

Japanese star hopes to

cram enough practice in

time to pass the test at

Augusta.

Matsuyama could

squeeze in only two

starts at Bay Hill and the

WGC Match Play after

withdrawing from his

title defense in Phoenix

in February after experiencing

pain in his left

thumb. With treatment,

his thumb feels 100 percent

even if his game

isn’t.

“There’s a little bit of

a doubt, but I think I can

get everything worked

out in two weeks,” he

said at Bay Hill.

The lack of playing

time – he missed three

usual starts during his

rehabilitation – means

Matsuyama will put

even more emphasis

than usual on his early

arrival at Augusta a full

week before the Masters

Tournament starts.

“I will go early again

this year; that is going

to be my practice time

and my preparation

for the Masters,” he

said. “I’m really going

to try to fine-tune it at

Augusta National that

week before.”

Matsuyama has always

felt a special connection

to the Masters since

twice earning invitations

as the Asian Amateur

champion and making

the cut both times. Still

only 26 , he’ll be making

happened,” Cantlay

told GolfChannel.

com. “For a while, it

just made me feel like

nothing was important.

... It still haunts me

when I think about it.

It’s always going to be

there. I’m never going

to feel better. Nothing

is ever going to make me

feel OK about what happened.

Time just heals it,

or numbs it a little bit.”

At Pebble Beach in

2017, Cantlay’s mind

and body were finally in

a place where he could

try golf again with a

medical exemption to

make 10 starts. Now

26, he never considered

quitting despite all the

physical and emotional

hardships.

“There’s not a lot of

give up in me,” he said.

Hideki Matsuyama twice played in the Masters as the

Asian Amateur champion. [MICHAEL HOLAHAN/STAFF]

his seventh start in the

Masters.

“There’s something

about that special place

that really gets me motivated

to play the best

I can,” he said. “I love

Augusta National and

enjoy going back there

every year. Hopefully

through playing there

a number of times now

I’ve learned what it

takes to win. Hopefully

my experience I’ve been

able to gain will help me

learn how to win my first

major. I hope it will be

there at Augusta.”

Matsuyama has

shown a knack for playing

in every one of the

four majors, with topsix

finishes in each .

He’s among the most

“I thought maybe there

was a chance my back

would never feel good

enough to play again.

But, fortunately, I feel

great. I knew if I could

get 100 percent healthy,

everything else would

take care of itself.”

When he finished

tied for 48th in his first

start in three years at

Pebble Beach last year,

he climbed to 1,424th

in the world. He turned

10 events into a run to

the Tour Championship

at East Lake, while his

November win in Las

Vegas moved him into

the world’s top 50.

“It felt like someone

put the pause button on

playing, but I feel like I

picked up right where I

left off,” said Cantlay,

who hasn’t missed a cut

consistent major players ,

having posted top-20

finishes 12 times in 19

major starts as a professional

while missing only

three career cuts.

Last year was his best

major season yet, with

all four finishes 14th or

better, including a runner-up

in the U.S. Open

at Erin Hills and a tie for

fifth in the PGA at Quail

Hollow, where he started

the final round one shot

off the lead.

As he keeps knocking

on the door, 2018 could

be the season he breaks

through to became

the first golfer from

Japan to win a major

championship.

“It’s one of my goals,

of course, to win a major

since the 2014 Wyndham

Championship when he

got injured.

“It feels good to be

doing what I feel like I

was born to do and what

I practiced to do for such

a long time. The other

part is so separate and it

was such a heartbreaking

deal that I don’t even –

it’s not even on the same

level as golf.”

Qualifying for the

Tour Championship got

Cantlay into all the 2018

majors, allowing him to

create a schedule that

would limit wear and

tear on his back.

The major opportunity

Cantlay is looking

the most forward to is

returning to Augusta.

As the No. 1 ranked

amateur in the world,

Cantlay made his

“There’s something

about that special

place that really gets

me motivated to play

the best I can. I love

Augusta National and

enjoy going back there

every year. ”

Hideki Matsuyama

and all my preparation

and work is toward winning

a major – but it’s

not easy,” he said.

There will be

four competitors from

Japan in this year’s

Masters field, the

most since 2011, when

Matsuyama finished

low amateur in his first

appearance. Japan’s long

history at the Masters

goes back before World

War II, when Toichiro

“Torchy” Toda and

Seisui “Chick” Chin

were two of only four

international players in

the field in 1936.

Matsuyama attained

the status as the highestranked

Japanese golfer in

history, having reached

No. 2 in the world after

last year’s PGA. Despite

finishing fifth, seventh

and 11th in his past

three starts at Augusta,

he still hasn’t reached

the record high Masters

finishes of countrymen

Shingo Katayama (fourth

in 2009) and Toshi Izawa

( tie for fourth in 2001).

“It’s going to be an

exciting Masters in

Japan, especially if four

of us are able to play,” he

said. “All of Japan realizes

and understands

that Augusta is a special

place. All I can do is do

my best and hopefully it

will go well for me this

year.”

Cantlay’s comeback takes back seat to no one

Daniel Berger

Age: 24

Height,

weight: 6-1,

175

Residence:

Jupiter, Fla.

College:

Florida State University

World Ranking: 37

Career victories: 2

Tournament invitation:

Won qualifying PGA Tour

event since 2017 Masters*

*A full list of qualifications is on 2M.

Record at the Masters

Best Finish: T10

Earnings: $270,700

’16: 73-71-74-71–289 T10

’17: 77-73-72-69–291 T27

Masters debut in 2012

as the U.S. Amateur

runner-up. In a volatile

even-par final round,

he recovered from a 9-6

combo on Nos. 13 and

14 to play the last four

holes in 4-under with

an eagle-birdie-birdie

run on Nos. 15-17. That

rally prevented Hideki

Matsuyama from winning

consecutive silver

cups as low amateur.

“I learned a lot about

the golf course and

angles to play and places

to hit it and not to hit it,”

Cantlay said of his first

Augusta experience,

finishing two strokes

behind Tiger Woods,

Rory McIlroy and Henrik

Stenson. “I think that’s

really going to benefit me

when I come back in the

future.”


MASTERS 2018

The Augusta Chronicle • Augusta.com Sunday, April 1, 2018 M29

Reed hopes to build off PGA runner-up finish

By Scott Michaux

Staff Writer

Patrick Reed walked

away from the PGA

Championship at Quail

Hollow last summer

with a runner-up finish

in his first Sunday hunt

at a major, and his primary

sentiment was

disappointment.

“I was upset,” he said

of his first top-10 major

finish in 16 career starts.

“I had one round in there

where I only hit five total

greens and shot 1-over.

To do something like that

and still have a chance

to win a major was awesome,

but at the same

time just looking back

that one round cost me

my first major.”

That one round was

Friday’s second, when he

was playing with eventual

champion Justin Thomas.

Reed’s 73 was seven shots

worse than Thomas’ 66,

and it proved to be too

much to overcome on the

weekend when a bogey on

the 18th hole Sunday left

him two shots short.

That said, the performance

put an end to the

criticism that despite his

emergence as one of the

top-ranked golfers in the

world, the former Augusta

State star had never finished

better than 12th in a

major. That changes the

narrative when he comes

back to Augusta for his

fifth Masters Tournament

start.

“It was good and I’m

going to build off that

going to Augusta,” Reed

said of his PGA experience.

“But really I need

to go to Augusta and get

comfortable on those

greens.”

Reed’s major debut

came at the 2014 Masters,

Patrick Reed

Age: 27

Height: 6-0

Weight: 200

Residence:

Spring, Texas

College:

Augusta

State University

World Ranking: 24

Career victories: 5

Tournament invitation:

Among Top 4 at 2017 PGA

Championship*

*A full list of qualifications is on 2M.

Record at the Masters

Best Finish: T22

Earnings: $140,300

’14: 73-79–152

’15: 70-72-74-70–286 T22

’16: 76-73-75-76–300 T49

’17: 76-77–153

and it proved to be a rude

awakening. He’d played

the course a few times as

a member of the Jaguars’

two-time NCAA championship

golf team

across town, but nothing

prepared him for

what awaited when the

tournament started on

Thursday.

“The hardest thing

is when you get there

so early and you have

Monday, Tuesday and

Wednesday really getting

used to the greens

and Thursday they’re

5 feet faster,” he said.

“That threw me for a loop

my first year out there. I

was shocked and I didn’t

really adjust. Knowing

that, now I can adjust

and expect that to happen

come Thursday.”

Reed has still not

quite gotten the feel on

Augusta’s greens. The

same issues that caused

him to miss the cut as a

Masters rookie in 2014

sent him home early again

last year. In between he

finished tied for 22nd and

“I had one round in

there where I only

hit five total greens

and shot 1-over. To

do something like

that and still have a

chance to win a major

was awesome, but at

the same time just

looking back that one

round cost me my first

major.”

Patrick Reed

49th .

“I’ve had 19 putts on

the front nine at least once

the past three years,”

he said. “Last year I hit

the ball really well even

though I missed the cut.

It was the putter. I had

37 putts and 35 putts. My

norm is around 27-29

putts a round. That’s a lot

of shots I’m losing. That’s

really it.”

Losing shots has been a

recurring theme in Reed’s

season leading up to the

Masters, as his best efforts

have been sabotaged by

too many disaster holes.

He described his game

a month out from the

Masters as “a hair off,” an

assessment validated by

a runner-up finish at the

Valspar Championship

when he three-putted the

final hole to miss forcing a

playoff.

“It’s either not finishing

rounds or not getting off

to a good start,” he said.

“I’m either having to dig

myself out of a hole or I

have a hole every round

that takes me out of it.

Eighty or almost 90 percent

of all my rounds are

pretty solid. The times I

put myself out of position

are doubles or triples.

Just too many big numbers,

which wipe out a

lot of birdies. That’s the

problem.”

Patrick Reed is still trying to solve the Augusta National puzzle, especially on the

greens. In four Masters starts, he’s missed the cut twice. [MICHAEL HOLAHAN/STAFF]


M30 Sunday, April 1, 2018 The Augusta Chronicle • Augusta.com

MASTERS 2018

Bryan focuses

on trophies,

not trick shots

By David Westin

Staff Writer

Wesley Bryan has a

PGA Tour victory now,

so he’s no longer just

the guy who used to star

in trick-shot videos.

Bryan won at Hilton

Head Island, S.C.,

last year to earn his

first start at Augusta

National this year.

Bryan and older

brother George IV did

the videos starting in

2014, two years after

Wesley graduated from

the University of South

Carolina . He, like his

brother George, were

standout golfers for the

Gamecocks.

“I started doing them

because I was really

broke and really bored

and me and my brother

were beating it around

on the mini-tours,”

Bryan said. “We saw a

couple videos go viral

from other people

that didn’t look overwhelmingly

difficult,

so we went out and

tried them and found

that I was pretty good

at plucking the ball out

of mid air and so we just

kind of ran with it.”

That was before

Wesley Bryan took

the Web.com Tour by

storm in 2016, winning

three times in his first

13 starts and earning a

promotion to the PGA

Tour late in the season.

Now in his second

full year on the PGA

Tour, Bryan has found

that his trick-shot

reputation is still hard

to shake. In practice

rounds at tour events,

fans still ask him to do

trick shots, which he

politely declines.

“You get the sense

that he’s grateful for

the opportunity it

(the videos) gave he

and his brother, but

he wants to be known

as Wesley Bryan, the

golfer,” said Augusta’s

William Lanier, who is

Bryan’s caddie. “He’s

been called a trickshot

artist who turned

into a great golfer, and

that’s not the case. He

was an All-American at

South Carolina and led

the Web.com Tour in

money (in 2016).

“(The victory) at

Hilton Head separates

himself a little from

that (trick-shots), for

his performance,”

Lanier said. “He’s done

a good job on that. In 10

years, people will probably

say, ‘Did you used

to hit trick shots?’”

Lanier says he knows

how talented Bryan

is from seeing him up

close.

“Wes has got the best

set of hands I’ve ever

seen,” said Lanier.

Bryan is also loaded

with inner confidence.

When he was making a

push to qualify for the

Masters in the weeks

leading up to the 2017

tournament, he told

a local reporter that if

he didn’t make in 2017,

he’d see him at the

Masters in 2018.

He was right, and

it didn’t take long

Wesley

Bryan

holds the

trophy

after

winning

RBC

Heritage in

Hilton Head

Island, S.C.

[AP PHOTO/

STEPHEN B.

MORTON]

Wesley Bryan

Age: 27

Height,

weight: 6-0,

175

Residence:

Augusta, Ga.

College:

University of South

Carolina

World Ranking: 89

Career victories: 1

Tournament invitation:

Won qualifying PGA Tour

event since 2017 Masters*

*A full list of qualifications is on 2M.

Record at the Masters

First appearance

for that prediction to

come true. Bryan’s

win at Harbour Town

came the week after the

Masters.

The victory came in

his home state. Bryan

was born and grew up

in the Columbia area

and went to the same

Irmo, S.C., high school

as Dustin Johnson.

Bryan became the

first South Carolina

born-and-bred golfer

to win Hilton Head

in the tournament’s

history.

“Being the first South

Carolina native to win,

golly, that’s pretty

cool,” Bryan said.

“Just to be able to win

in my home state was

really, really special,

and knowing that it

punched my ticket to

the Masters and opened

up a lot of doors for me,

it was really, really cool

and I can’t wait to get

back there and defend.”

But first there is the

Masters, which is in

Bryan’s newly adopted

hometown. He moved

to Augusta with his

wife, Elizabeth, so she

could attend nursing

school.

“I live about two and

a half, three miles from

the (Augusta National)

gate, so I’m looking

forward to sleeping in

my own bed that week

and hopefully contending

for a green jacket,”

Bryan said.

Bryan was at the 2017

Masters as a spectator.

He came out in the first

round to mainly follow

his friend, Russell

Henley, who qualified

at the last minute with

a victory in Houston.

“I went on Thursday

to watch a couple buddies

play and enjoy

the old concession

food,” said Bryan,

who claimed he eats

“half of everything”

on the menu. “It was

an eight-minute drive

down the road for me,

so it wasn’t like I had to

make a long trek to get

here. There were a few

guys who recognized

me, so that was pretty

cool. Outside the ropes

a few people came up

to say hi. It was really

weird.”

Bryan has attended

the Masters since he

was a child. His father,

George III, is a South

Carolina club pro

who was friends with

fellow South Carolinian

Hootie Johnson long

before Johnson became

a Masters chairman.

Kisner hopes fair weather

can bring sunnier results

By Scott Michaux

Staff Writer

A diehard Georgia

Bulldog, Kevin Kisner has

never been described as a

fair-weather fan. When

it comes to the Masters,

however, he is.

“I just hope we have a

good-weather year,” said

the Aiken native regarding

Masters Week. “The golf

course is difficult for me

because it’s so long. I gotta

be on my game around the

greens and I need good

weather. Hopefully those

two conditions happen

this year.”

Kisner averages 287.7

yards driving, making him

among the shorter hitters

on the PGA Tour, ranking

169th. That leaves him at

a distinct disadvantage

on a 7,435-yard Augusta

course against the likes of

Dustin Johnson and even

Jordan Spieth averaging

24 and 11 yards more per

drive, respectively.

Proper spring weather

can be the great equalizer.

Hard winds like

players experienced the

first couple of rounds last

year at the Masters can

be harsh on players like

Kisner.

“That wind doesn’t do

me any favors when it’s

blowing that hard,” he

said. “Cold and windy is

about as bad as it gets for

me there. It makes the

long holes play so hard and

you feel like you’ll never

make a birdie. I’m ready

for it to be 80 (degrees) –

firm and fast and warm.

That’s the best-case scenario

for me and that way

the ball is chasing in the

fairways and I can have

some shorter irons into

the greens.”

In his two previous

starts at the Masters,

Kisner has been just good

enough to make the weekend

but finished tied for

37th and 43rd.

“Very average,” he

said. “Never felt like I

was in the tournament in

any Masters appearance.

That’s unfortunate.”

That had become a

theme for him at the

majors. Kisner is one of

only three players to reach

the weekend in all eight

majors the past two years,

but prior to last summer’s

PGA Championship at

Quail Hollow his average

finish was 48th.

At the PGA, however,

Larry Mize

Age: 59

Height: 6-0

Weight: 165

Residence:

Columbus,

Ga.

College:

Georgia Tech

Career victories: 5

Tournament invitation:

1987 Masters champion*

*A full list of qualifications is on 2M.

Record at the Masters

Best Finish: WIN

Earnings: $807,941

’84: 71-70-71-72–284 T11

’85: 71-75-76-76–298 T47

’86: 75-74-72-65–286 T16

’87: 70-72-72-71–285 WIN

’88: 78-71-76-79–304 T45

’89: 72-77-69-75–293 T26

’90: 70-76-71-71–288 T14

’91: 72-71-66-74–283 T17

’92: 73-69-71-68–281 T6

’93: 67-74-74-73–288 T20

’94: 68-71-72-71–282 3

’95: 76-71–147

’96: 75-71-77-68–291 T23

’97: 79-69-74-72–294 T30

’98: 73-79–152

’99: 76-70-72-72–290 23

’00: 78-67-73-74–292 T25

’01: 74-74–148

’02: 74-74–148

’03: 78-74–152

’04: 76-74–150

’05: 78-75–153

’06: 75-72-77-72–296 T42

’07: 83-78–161

’08: 77-81–158

’09: 67-76-72-72–287 T30

’10: 76-72–148

’11: 73-77–150

’12: 76-75–151

’13: 73-76–149

’14: 74-72-79-79–304 51

’15: 78-73–151

’16: 76-73-78-74–301 T52

’17: 74-76-79-76–305 52

Kevin Kisner has made the cut in his two Masters

appearances but has left feeling frustrated by his

performance. “Never felt like I was in the tournament

in any Masters appearance,” he said. [JON-MICHAEL

SULLIVAN/THE AUGUSTA CHRONICLE]

Kisner shared the lead each

of the first two rounds

and held a one-shot lead

through 54 holes – making

him the first Augusta-area

golfer to hold a lead at the

end of any major round

since Larry Mize was the

36-hole leader at the 1994

Masters.

“That’s where our goal

was,” he said of the PGA

experience, where he was

in contention until a bogey

and double on the 16th and

18th holes dropped him to

seventh place. “I played in

all these majors and made

cuts but never competed.

I wanted to get in contention.

Obviously got there

with a chance, and that’s

all you can ever ask for.

Every time you have experience

in that situation you

can only learn from it and

get better, and hopefully

that will be the case this

season.”

The 2018 season hasn’t

sustained the momentum

that Kisner had hoped for,

but he’s concentrated on

working out a few kinks

in his scrambling to get

ready for the Masters. At

the WGC Match Play, the

work paid off as Kisner

Kevin Kisner

Age: 34

Height: 5-10

Weight: 165

Residence:

Aiken, S.C.

College:

University of

Georgia

World Ranking: 25

Career victories: 2

Tournament invitation:

Won qualifying PGA Tour

event since 2017 Masters*

*A full list of qualifications is on 2M.

Record at the Masters

Best Finish: T37

Earnings: $90,950

’16: 77-72-76-72–297 T37

’17: 74-75-74-73–296 T43

beat top-ranked Johnson

on his way to playing

Bubba Watson in the

championship match.

Watson prevailed 7 and 6

in the finale.

“I haven’t played that

great this year so I’ve

just been working on my

own game,” Kisner said

before the Match Play.

“I know what needs to go

well to play well there. I’ve

had chances this year in

Hawaii and Palm Springs

to do something well and

haven’t finished it off.

Then missed a few cuts.

Just not playing solid. I’m

starting to see some good

things and really working

on my short game.

“I thought the only area

I needed to improve in my

stats was scrambling, and

when I scramble well I’m

normally in the top 10 in

tournaments.”

With good practice

and good weather, Kisner

hopes to match Mize’s

major-winning achievement

at the 1987 Masters.


The Augusta Chronicle • Augusta.com Sunday, April 1, 2018 M31

MASTERS 2018

Bubba Watson

Age: 39

Height: 6-3

Weight: 180

Residence:

Orlando, Fla.

College:

Faulkner

State Community College;

University of Georgia

World Ranking: 21

Career victories: 11

Tournament invitation:

2012, 2014 Masters

champion*

*A full list of qualifications is on 2M.

Record at the Masters

Best Finish: WIN

Earnings: $3,330,080

’08: 74-71-73-73–291 T20

’09: 72-72-73-73–290 42

’11: 73-71-67-78–289 T38

’12: 69-71-70-68–278 WIN

’13: 75-73-70-77–295 T50

’14: 69-68-74-69–280 WIN

’15: 71-71-73-74–289 T38

’16: 75-75-76-71–297 T37

’17: 74-78–152

Brian Harman

Age: 31

Height,

weight: 5-7,

150

Residence:

St. Simons

Island, Ga.

College: University of

Georgia

World Ranking: 23

Career victories: 2

Tournament invitation:

Among Top 4 at U.S.

Open*

*A full list of qualifications is on 2M.

Record at the Masters

Best Finish: T67

Earnings: $10,000

’15: 76-72–148

Russell Henley

Age: 28

Height: 6-0

Weight: 180

Residence:

Charleston,

S.C.

College:

University of Georgia

World Ranking: 56

Career victories: 3

Tournament invitation:

Among Top 12 at 2017

Masters*

*A full list of qualifications is on 2M.

Record at the Masters

Best Finish: T11

Earnings: $419,000

’13: 72-81–153

’14: 73-70-75-75–293 T31

’15: 68-74-72-71–285 21

’17: 71-76-71-69–287 T11

More online

Stay up to date on

all the action this

week at Augusta

National Golf Club and

read past stories about

the Masters Tournament

at augusta.com.

Watson reaches personal milestone

By David Westin

Staff Writer

It had been a while –

two years and a lot of

frustration to be exact

– but Bubba Watson

showed he can still

handle final-round

pressure.

It came at the Genesis

Open at Riviera in mid-

February when Watson

rallied for his first victory

since he won

there in 2016. He shot

3-under-par 33 on the

back nine for 69 and a

two-shot victory.

“There’s no shot that’s

challenging, it’s dealing

with the pressure,”

Watson said about the

difference in winning

and losing on the PGA

Tour. “Everybody can

hit the shots. We’re all

capable of hitting the

shots; that’s why we’re

in the field. It comes

down to doing it under

pressure and getting the

right thought. You’re

going to make mistakes,

but how do you deal with

that?”

The way Watson dealt

with that at Riviera was

by making two mediumrange

putts to save pars

on the back nine to go

with three birdies.

The victory was the

10th of Watson’s career,

allowing him to reach

an important personal

milestone.

“My goal has always

been to get 10 wins,” he

said. “You never know if

you’re going to play good

Harman ready for his second shot at Augusta

By Scott Michaux

Staff Writer

Brian Harman had a

revelation last summer

when he teed off with

Justin Thomas in the

final pairing of the U.S.

Open at Erin Hills.

“You get into the

last day of one of those

tournaments and you

look around and it’s not

a bunch of strangers,”

Harman said. “You’re still

trying to beat the same

guys that you’re trying to

beat every week. For me

it was kind of comforting.

Yeah, it’s a big stage, but

this is a familiar place.”

The Savannah native

and Georgia alum has

been a familiar name

on leaderboards since

After a winless 2017 in which he fought undisclosed

illnesses that affected his weight, Bubba Watson

has two victories so far this season. [SARA CORCE/THE

AUGUSTA CHRONICLE]

again. You never know

if you’re going to lift the

trophy.”

That was especially

true in 2017, the first

winless year for Watson

on the PGA Tour since

2013. Tellingly, it was

the first time he missed

the cut in the Masters

beating Dustin Johnson

and winning for the

first time in three years

in the Wells Fargo

Championship at Eagle

Point last May. His runner-up

finish to Brooks

Koepka at the U.S. Open

was his best major finish

coming after missing the

cut in every major in 2015

and failing to qualify for

any of them in 2016.

After changing equipment

and his golf ball last

year, Harman’s success

has taken off as he finds

himself in the thick of

the PGA Tour points

race as well as Ryder Cup

qualifying.

“I’ve gotten a little

older and starting to

know what it takes

around these courses

(74-78) in nine career

starts at one of his favorite

courses.

Two weeks before

the Masters, Watson

added another victory

to his total at the WGC

Match Play. He beat

fellow Georgia Bulldog

Kevin Kisner in the

a little bit better,” the

31-year-old said. “I want

to think you get a little

bit better the longer time

you’re out here.”

He’ll return to the

Masters for the first time

since his lone appearance

in 2015, when he

shot 76-72 to miss the

cut. It was a tough pill

to swallow for a Georgia

native who first played

Augusta National as a

guest when he was 14

and was dreaming about

green jackets throughout

one of the all-time best

junior careers.

Unfortunately for

Harman, his first

appearance coincided

with a slump in

form as he came to the

Masters fresh off four

“Everybody can hit

the shots. We’re all

capable of hitting the

shots; that’s why we’re

in the field. It comes

down to doing it under

pressure and getting

the right thought.

You’re going to make

mistakes, but how do

you deal with that?”

Bubba Watson

championship match,

and Watson will come

to Augusta as one of the

favorites.

After being as high

as fourth in the world

ranking as recently as

June 2016, Watson had

fallen to No. 117 the week

before he won at Riviera

and had even discussed

retirement with his

wife, Angie. He played

through 2017 fighting

illnesses that saw him

noticeably drop weight,

though at the time he

said he was trying to lose

weight by eating better.

After he won at

Riviera, he disclosed

that he’d been sick in

2017 and that it had

caused the weight loss.

He won’t reveal the ailments

he had, just saying

“a lot of stuff (was) going

on.”

He said the weight loss

affected his play.

“I didn’t have the

energy. I couldn’t hit

the ball as far as I wanted

to or the numbers that

I thought,” he said in

mid-March.

He’s put weight back

consecutive missed cuts.

“I was just irritated

because I just didn’t play

well,” he said. “I didn’t

play well leading up to

it and was just kind of

chasing it and didn’t

handle it as well as I

thought I should have.”

This time his form

should translate better

as he posted top-10

finishes in six of his first

nine PGA Tour starts this

season, and he knows

what to expect this time

when he gets to Augusta.

“Just being a little

more familiar with

how the week’s going

to go, it’ll be less of a

blur this time,” he said.

“Hopefully it will slow

down a little bit.”

The left-handed

on this year and would

like to add five more

pounds, as long as it is

muscle, he said.

Watson said he can

free-wheel it more this

year now that he’s got a

win under his belt.

“It just sets you up for

the rest of the year to

have a blast,” Watson

said. “Bogey, oh, whatever.

Every golfer here

has a goal of winning.

And after you win, we

have a goal of winning

again. So you keep

going and trying to win

and keep the momentum

going and hopefully get

a couple of bounces or

chip-ins or putts go your

way and you can challenge

on Sunday.”

Watson is one of

those golfers who excels

at certain courses. Of

his 11 victories, seven

of them have come at

three venues: three at

Riviera, two at TPC

River Highlands (the

Travelers) and two at

Augusta National.

“I always have confidence

there,” Watson

said of Augusta National.

“We watch (former

champion) Fred Couples

every year and his name

somehow pops on that

leaderboard. It’s in perfect

shape. You know

what to expect. A lot of

the holes are shaped the

way I like it. You leave it

in the right spot, you can

putt. I look forward to it

every year now that I

know I’m in it every year

(as a former champion).”

Harman isn’t concerned

that he’ll be out of his

depth against the power

hitters at the 7,435-yard

Augusta National.

“Yeah, it favors lefties

and they’ll make a thing

about it favoring longer

players, but you would

say the U.S. Open last

year would certainly favor

longer players,” Harman

said. “The course I won

at certainly favors longer

players. I don’t pay any

attention to that. I just

try to play the best that I

can. I know what I’m good

at and know what I’m not

good at. I can hit fairways

and if it’s decently firm I

can get out there a long

ways and be competitive

anywhere. I’ll see how it

goes.”

Kuchar keeps knocking on door of elusive major

By Scott Michaux

Staff Writer

Matt Kuchar has

ambled through a career

in golf without ever letting

too much get to him

in good times or bad.

Occasionally his goofball

philosophy contains an

almost accidental Zenlike

wisdom.

Consider how the

39-year-old processed

missing out on his best

opportunity to win a

major at last summer’s

British Open.

“Losing always provides

motivation; winning

breeds some contentment

and complacency,”

Kuchar said. “I certainly

would love to be content

and complacent, but I finished

second. Lost to an

amazing finishing round

of golf that Jordan (Spieth)

put on. I tried to use that

as motivation.”

It was admittedly a

hard lesson to handle.

Kuchar stood for nearly a

half hour in the 13th fairway

while Spieth went

through an excruciating

ruling on a penalty drop.

The Georgia Tech alum

Matt Kuchar during the final round of the 2017 Masters.

Kuchar has blossomed in his 30s to become a fixture on

the leaderboards at the majors. [MICHAEL HOLAHAN/THE

AUGUSTA CHRONICLE]

felt pretty confident he’d

eventually be heading

to the 14th hole with the

lead, perhaps as large as

three strokes.

He turned out to

be only one up after

his birdie putt missed

and Spieth drained an

8-footer to save bogey.

Then, despite two birdies

on the next four holes,

Kuchar found himself

two down with one to

play after Spieth went on

a 5-under binge over the

same stretch.

“I was hurting on

the inside,” Kuchar

admitted. “You get so

close. It’s like any sport,

it’s tough when you

get so close and end up

losing. If you get beaten

and beaten badly, you

kind of dust it off and go,

‘Oh, well; I got beat and

I’ve got work to do.’ But

when you’re that close

it’s a little extra harder

to swallow.

“I don’t think a whole

lot about it. I came close.

I had a lot of people tell

me they were pulling

hard for me. But for the

most part I’ve moved on

pretty well.”

Matt Kuchar

Age: 39

Height: 6-4

Weight: 195

Residence:

Sea Island,

Ga.

College:

Georgia Tech

World Ranking: 20

Career victories: 9

Tournament invitation:

Among Top 12 at 2017

Masters*

*A full list of qualifications is on 2M.

Record at the Masters

Best Finish: T3

Earnings: $1,689,400

’98: 72-76-68-72–288-a T21

’99: 77-71-73-78–299-a T50

’02: 73-77–150

’10: 70-73-74-71–288 T24

’11: 68-75-69-75–287 T27

’12: 71-70-70-69–280 T3

’13: 68-75-69-73–285 T8

’14: 73-71-68-74–286 T5

’15: 72-74-72-72–290 T46

’16: 75-73-72-74–294 T24

’17: 72-73-71-67–283 T4

It’s easy to forget that

after a promising amateur

career that included

five major starts, Kuchar

experienced a lost decade

of his 20s at majors .

After a brief fling in the

financial services sector,

he turned pro in 2000

and was a journeyman

pro bouncing on and off

the tour. In only 12 major

starts from 2000-09, he

made one cut and finished

48th.

His career flipped 180

degrees in his 30s as

he’s become a frequent

fixture on major leaderboards

– especially

at Augusta where he’s

finished eighth or better

in four of the last six

Masters. He challenged

on Sunday both years

Bubba Watson won and

tied for fourth last April.

“I’ve got some amazing

memories there,

winning it certainly