The Masters at Augusta National: A Professional Point of View

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The Masters at Augusta National: A Professional Point of View
(Photo by David Cannon/Getty Images)

The Masters at Augusta National Golf Club.  Just saying that feels powerful.

The Masters tournament is the first of the four major championships annually and the vast majority of golf fans will say it's the most anticipated of all.

What makes the Masters unique is that it's the same every year.  It's always played on the picturesque land in Augusta, Ga. 

Founded in 1934 by legendary golfer Bobby Jones and designed by Alister MacKenzie, Augusta offers a breath-taking view to go with the best golfers in the world.  All trying to put on the coveted "Green Jacket" given to the winner each year.

The beautifully maintained greens and fairways, and the dogwoods and azaleas are a famous part of the Masters tradition.

Ben Crenshaw, two-time winner of the tournament and historian of the game echoed the sentiments of many when he said "this course is different."  "Jones and MacKenzie had theater in mind when they created this masterpiece." 

"You can make it happen, or throw it all away, it's up to you."

All of the legends of golf have won at Augusta.  It has been a passing of the torch from superstar to superstar.

From Sarazen, Hogan, Snead, Player, Palmer, Nicklaus, Watson, Faldo to Woods.

Many great memories have been made at Augusta by these hall of fame golfers.  The best to ever play the game.

I have been a fan of the Masters all my life and make a point each year to watch the tournament.  I have always liked trading stories about my favorite golfing event of the year with other golfers. 

I have asked the following PGA professionals what their "most memorable Masters moments" were.

Here's what they said:

"One of my favorite moments in Masters history was the victory in 1992 by Fred Couples.  In the final round he was battling against Raymond Floyd.

"On the 15th his tee shot barely stayed up on the tightly mowed rough just a few yards from Rae's Creek.  After that Masters, the bank at the 12th was mowed to fairway height. 

"This will always be one of my favorite moments in Masters history because as a junior golfer, Couples was my favorite PGA Tour player."

Matt Borocz PGA

Head Professional

TPC Sawgrass

Point Vedra Beach, Florida

 

"My favorite Masters moment was seeing Ben Crenshaw winning it in 1995.  Having grown up in Texas and taking lessons from Harvey Penick and also working at Barton Creek Country Club where Ben was a member, I felt emotionally invested in Ben's victory. 

"I had taken many lessons from Harvey over the years, as well as sought his advice in my own teaching as well.  I have fond memories of Ben, his father and his brothers from my years at Barton Creek. 

"I have played and practiced with Ben many times in the early days of my career as a professional and there are few people that are as genuine and kind as he is.  Harvey was with Ben as well as Davis Love III (who was also in the hunt and had a history with Penick) that entire week.

"To know the emotional journey that Ben was on that week and winning that event he loves dearly following the death of his lifelong friend and teacher of the game was something I will always cherish as my favorite Masters moment."

Chad Campbell PGA

Director of Golf Operations

Pinehurst Country Club

Pinehurst, NC

 

"From a personal perspective, my most memorable Masters moment was taking my dad to Augusta National in 2008.  To walk the fairways, see the dogwoods, azaleas and to remember the history that has been made on the course is a surreal experience, which is why it's the best event in the world. 

"Some of the best moments I can remember are Jack Nicklaus' charge in 1986 and Tiger Wood's chip en route to beating Chris DiMarco in 2005 is unlike any other shot the golf world had seen.

"Anyone who has been to Augusta National and seen where he was, knows it was one of the most impressive shots in Masters history."

Charles Kingsbaker PGA

Regional Director

Troon Golf

Scottsdale, AZ

 

"To me, the most memorable moment in the Masters was the duel between Tom Watson and Jack Nicklaus in 1977. Living in Kansas City, I was a huge fan of "Kansas City's Third Sports Franchise" and have worked with Tom on the First Tee program over my years as a teaching professional.

"Watson shot -12 to win by two strokes over The Golden Bear. This showdown was a prelude to the British Open months later where again Watson and Nicklaus battled to the end.  Many believe it was the most exciting tournament in major's history.  To me it symbolized as passing of the baton from Nicklaus to Watson."

Mike Shatto PGA

Teaching Professional

Phoenix, Arizona

 

"My most memorable Masters moment would have to be the 1996 tournament.  Greg Norman was one of the best players at the time, if not the best and was my golf idol.  I couldn't believe it when he held a lead of six shots going into the final round.

"I remember the telecast coming on and he still had a pretty good lead on the field.  He spun his approach back down the hill on the ninth hole and made bogey.  In my mind it wasn't that big of a deal.

"Norman plodded along, making bogey's that he shouldn't have.  I remember thinking on hole number 15 he can make this chip shot for eagle and still pull this thing out...it slid by the hole and he fell to the ground.  It deflated me as well.

"Then he hit it in the water on 16 and it was obviously over at that point.  I still remember him holding his head up high and walking off number 18 like a champion.  With his record at Augusta, it's a shame he's never won the tournament."

Bruce Dowell PGA

Teaching Professional

Drake Creek Golf Club

Ledbetter, KY

 

"My most memorable Masters moment would have to be 1997 when Tiger Woods pulled away from the field with a 12 shot victory. It was awesome to watch and no one remembers who was second (Tom Kite).

"The most interesting point of the tournament that year was Tiger's first round.  I was only 14 at the time and golf was very important to me and not too popular with my peers.

"I was watching the first round with my father and after Tiger's rocky front nine (40) my dad leaned over and said "watch out for his back nine, this is where he'll turn it on."  To watch someone who I idolized go in with a front nine like he did and still finish with a 70, really showed me the person/player that he would become.

"Then to watch him go 66, 65, 69 was incredible and inspired me to be all I can be as a golf professional."

Jon Conklin PGA

Head Professional

Bucks Run Golf Club

Mt. Pleasant, MI

 

"My most memorable moment at Augusta is during a Tuesday practice round in 2007, I watched Seve Ballesteros hit a 5-iron under his leg with one hand on the green at number 16.  Typical magic shot from Seve.

"Then, Jerry Pate hits his driver from his knees.  The first one scatters the gallery in the left grandstands.  On the second he hits this butter cut onto the green.  Two remarkable shots at the most remarkable golf venue ever."

Shawn Kelly PGA

Head Professional

The Ridge Golf Club

Auburn, CA

 

"I attended the Masters in the 2004, '05 and '06. My most memorable moment was being there with two of my PGA best-buddies in the golf business.  We walked the course tee-to-green during the first round."

"We also took in the par three tournament from behind the No. 9 green and witnessed some holes-in-one."

Rich Richeson PGA

Head Golf Professional

The Golf Club at Twin Oaks

Allen, TX

 

"The most memorable masters moment to me was in 1986 when Jack Nicklaus made the come back at age 46.  Seve Ballesteros helped his cause by hooking his second shot on the 15th in the water. 

"Later, Jack birdied the 17th and went on to capture his sixth green jacket."

Will Brewer PGA

Director of Golf/General Manager

Vanderbilt Legends Club

Franklin, TX

 

"When the grass starts to turn green, golfers inevitably start to think about the Masters.  I know this is a truism in the Carr household.  As a teenager, I can remember waiting for April and knowing on that special "Masters Sunday" I would be setting next to my father to watch the final round. 

"I'm married now and now sit alongside my bride to watch the last day of the most magnificent four days in April. In the span of time from teenager to husband, there have been many changes to Augusta National. 

"I can remember all of the unbelievable finishes that the Augusta layout produced when I was younger.  The 1986 Masters (Jack Nicklaus) is etched in my memory forever.

"Do I remember Ballesteros smothering a 4-iron on No. 15 to hand the green jacket to Jack?  Or was it the putt "The Golden Bear" made on 15 for eagle?  It was neither of these. 

"Rather it was the special opportunity I had to witness these moments with my father."

RIchard L. Carr PGA

Director of Golf

Tanglewood Golf Club

Quarryville, PA

 

"There are so many, but I would say that my most memorable moment of the Masters was Ben Crenshaw's long putt on number 10 in 1984.

"He was my favorite golfer and that inspired me to win the Utah State High School championship one month later."

David Terry PGA

Salt Lake City Golf Director

(9 municipal golf courses)

Salt Lake City, UT

 

"My favorite Masters moment by far was Jack Nicklaus' win in 1986 at the age of 46.  His final round 65 surprised everyone and passed up a star-studded leader board. 

"On number 16 he almost knocked his tee shot in for a hole-in-one, just sneaking past the hole by a few inches. 

"When they interviewed him later he mentioned that his eyes were failing him and he lost sight of the ball in the air.  He had no idea at the time how close he had come."

Patrick Lynch PGA

Club Professional

Cantigny Golf Club

Wheaton, IL

 

"My most memorable moment at the Masters was when I was rushing through the entrance gate to get to the first hole."

"I looked up at the tee and Seve Ballesteros was teeing off."

"He won that Sunday and it was great to watch him play."

Mike Robinson PGA

Head Golf Porfessional

Gettysvue Polo Golf and Country Club

Knoxville, TN

 

"My favorite Masters moment was when Tiger Woods holed out his chip shot off the left side of #16 near the water in 2005."

"He hit the shot long and left of the hole, knowing it would feed down to the cup."

"It hung on the lip for a couple of seconds and then dropped in."

"That moment was absolutely elecrifying!"

Steve Phillips PGA

Teaching Pro / Golf Operations Manager

Mystic Dunes Resort & Golf Center

Celebration, FL

 

"I feel that 11 birdies by Anthony Kim at the Masters is a miracle!"

Rex Cole PGA

Head Golf Professional

Cottonwood Golf Club

El Cajon, CA

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