I used to be solely 23 however recall having the similar mindset as at the Open Royal Birkdale in 1998, once I completed fourth as a 17-year-old, and enjoying with that harmless freedom.
“There’s nothing at stake, really,” was my mantra. But I knew deep down that I couldn’t child myself to the finish. As you get nearer to the end line, what’s up for grabs, and it duly received harder and harder. I got here twenty second.
Three years later I used to be in competition proper up till the seventeenth when, off the tee, I hit the Eisenhower Tree on the method to a double bogey. That large pine was named after the president, as a result of he hit it so usually. He tried to persuade the membership to reduce it down. They refused. But in 2013, “Ike” lastly received his want when it fell sufferer to a winter ice storm.
And then there was final year when, on a quick and fiery opening day, I used to be two over after seven and performed the final 11 holes in 9 below. Only 12 gamers broke par in that first spherical and I used to be on seven below, 4 clear.
It was a complete outlier and fellow execs afterwards had been saying, “How on earth did you do that?” I truly requested to be left alone for a minute in the locker room to course of what had occurred.
Augusta can exhaust and overwhelm you
It is a wierd feeling as a result of it is unbelievable to know that stuff is in there, but additionally you settle for that degree is inconceivable to keep. That is what Augusta does – it performs together with your feelings and, except you’re cautious and can preserve a decent rein of your senses, it will exhaust and overwhelm you.
It is a part of the Augusta studying expertise and though I’m at the level the place I’m not even positive what quantity Masters this may be for me, I recognise there are nonetheless new classes out there.
That is why expertise counts at Augusta. Not simply the “knowing your way around the course” factor, the place not to hit it and how you could play positively defensive generally, but additionally figuring out how to keep composed and function as close to to a good keel as potential.