My Thoughts – Masters Tournament

Masters Tournament

Time really flies. It was 34 years ago this year that I went to the 1990 Masters Tournament in the USA

Following on from his ‘triple crown’ success in 1989, (Australian PGA, Australian Open and Jonnie Walker Australian Classic), legendary Australian golfer Peter Senior, received an invitation from the Masters to play. Peter called me shortly after the invite arrived and asked me what I was doing in April 1990.

Such a strange question that needed a response. “I don’t know mate. Why?” “Would you like to come with me to Georgia”. The penny dropped – “Absolutely” was my response.

Great Australian Golfer, Peter Senior, played in the 1990 Masters Tournament

So off I went and arrived in Augusta the day after Peter, June and their young daughter Krsytlle arrived. Brendan Moloney, was there too covering the tournament for If I remember correctly for the Melbourne Age Newspaper

It’s very difficult to describe Augusta National for anyone who hasn’t at least seen it on television let alone having tread the hallowed fairways. It’s probably best thought of as the best and worse course in the world. Best – It’s manicured to the nth degree. At its worst, it’s the greatest test of the game you can imagine.

And a couple of things that I remember well. All cables on the course (for the television coverage) were green where they ran across the ground, and brown when they went up a tree. And there’s no cooked food on the course. The Masters committee thought that the smoke from cookers could disrupt the concentration of the players. You can purchase drinks, potato crisps (not chips) and sandwiches, and they were all in masters green livery.

The off course concessions were cheap – even today sandwiches are priced around $3 or less. I saw a menu list and someone commented that they were the same price today as they were in the 90’s.

During one of the practice rounds, Peter had left something in his Buick – all players are provided with a courtesy car for the tournament. I volunteered to go back and retrieve it – can’t remember what it was. On the way back to the course, I was jogging to catch up to Peter’s group when a hand touched my shoulder. A very sociable ‘Pinkerton Security guard said “No need to run son – there’s always plenty of time

Remember Greg Norman and Larry Mize – so wonderful for Larry and so devastating for Norman. And then Norman again in 1996?. Starting the final round with a 6 shot lead, Norman succumbed to final day jitters and Sir Nick Faldo won the Green Jacket. I had Norman in the Channel 9 Golf Club sweep and I thought I was a lock to get a fancy dinner.

And for years, we, Australia, had players in contention who fell at the last hurdle. That was until our only Champion, Adam Scott took the honour on the second play-off hole against Angel Cabrera in 2013

My personal favourite image from the Masters Torunament – Adam Scott on 2013

In 1990, with Peter and Carlos (his caddy), I was able to walk ‘inside’ the ropes during Peters practice rounds. On the back nine on Saturday, I carried Peters bag. Don’t really remember who he practised with, but over the pre-torunament days, Ian Baker-Finch and Wayne Grady were around. Carlos took over on Monday and Tuesday to get a better idea of the layout.

Peter ended tied 42nd after rounds of 72, 75, 73 and 77 and ‘won’ $4,867 in prize money. For interest, Australians Greg Norman, Ian Baker Finch and Craig Parry all missed the cut.

Apart from the prize money, Peter also picked up a couple of “Eagle” prizes – a piece of crystal and a leather Masters satchel. The satchel which Peter gave to me is one of my ‘prized’ pieces of memorabilia along with a Masters cart bag which I purchased while there.

So if you ever get the chance to visit Augusta National and walk down the driveway leading to the clubhouse – do it. Ticket prices nowadays are ridiculously expensive. Thankfully when I went, it cost me nothing, courtesy of the Senior family. Funny side bar – to get into the clubhouse outdoor restaurent, I used Krystall Seniors guest pass – thankfully no-one looked too closely. And my favorite topic is non-course related – the food. Never had better

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