In the build-up to the 83rd Masters Tournament at Augusta National Golf Club we asked three legends of Australian golf of their memories of playing The Masters. Today, Peter Senior reveals how he earned an invitation to play the 1990 tournament, and his regret at never being invited back.
Back then The Masters was purely by invitation. If the top-50 in the world had automatically received an invitation I would have played for perhaps 10 or 12 years but unfortunately I only got to play The Masters once.
The only reason I received a special invitation to play in 1990 was because I had won the Australian Open, Australian PGA and Johnnie Walker Classic at the end of 1989 which moved me up to 26 in the world by the end of the year.
Funnily enough, it was the Australian Golf Union who was notified of the invite, even though it was an invite to a professional tournament. It was AGU executive director Colin Phillips who rang me and told me that I was in the field for The Masters. That was it.
The invitation from Augusta National did come in the mail after that and that's a very special memento. I put it in a glass case and it's up in the trophy cabinet.
As it was the first time I had played The Masters I had a lot of friends and family who wanted to go. I actually took one of my best mates, Bob Aldons, who used to own Torque Ford at Redcliffe. He'd always wanted to go to The Masters so we got there early on the Saturday, went for nine holes on Saturday afternoon and he caddied for me on the back nine. That was probably the biggest thrill he's ever had, caddying the back nine at Augusta.
There was nobody on the course on the Saturday but I turned up on the Monday to play a practice round with Wayne Grady, Ian Baker-Finch and Craig Parry and there were 60,000 people on the golf course at 8 o’clock in the morning.
‘Grades’ was trying to tell me on the practice fairway that the first tee shot at Augusta is the scariest tee shot you'll ever hit. I kind of laughed it off thinking, how could it be any different but it was so scary we hit the worst tee shots you've ever seen.
This was the first time I had ever been there – prior to that I’d only ever seen it on television – and I can tell you that being there is 10 times better than watching it on TV.
It's a tournament that you always want to play, I'm glad I got the opportunity, but it's definitely a course that you need to play a few times in tournaments to get to know where to hit it and where not to hit it.
Being the first time you're always a little apprehensive. I started off all right, I shot 72 the first day.
I played with Fuzzy Zoeller the first two days and we watched the guys in front of us play the 12th, probably the most famous par-3 in all of golf.
We’re all basically hitting the same club into that hole, well one guy hit it into the water and the next one hit it in the back of the hill.
It felt like the wind was into us. Fuzzy hit a 7-iron and didn't get it over the water; I hit a 7-iron and landed in the back of the hill.
That's a 25-yard difference but that's the way the wind swirls on that hole in that back corner. That's why that hole is so difficult.
On the second day I actually made eagle at 15 and that got me under par for the tournament and onto the bottom of the leaders board. That was the thing that really bugged me because I went downhill from there.
They actually give you a couple of crystal goblets whenever you make an eagle on the course so I've got those at home as well, but I don't think we've ever used them.
I had met Fuzzy before and he's an easy guy to play with so the first two days were not a problem but then I teed it up with Tom Watson on Saturday and that was a bit different.
I shot 73 and he shot 67 and it was the easiest 67 that you've ever seen in your life.
And then I played with Raymond Floyd on Sunday, so I had some really good players in my group.
A week isn't long enough to get to know where you can and can't miss it at Augusta.
There is so much slope to those greens and that's where the speed comes from, the slope on the greens.
There are certain areas where you know that if you hit it in there you're not going to two-putt unless you hole a good second putt.
The pin front right at 16 up on the top, if you miss it right of the bunker you can't even stop it on the green half the time. You're better off going a little bit left and going downhill and having a 40-footer back up the hill and making three.
But you never learn until you hit it in those places.
I would have dearly loved to have played it again, knowing what I know now. I hung around the 30th position in the rankings for quite some time but they never brought in top-50 as a qualifying measure until much later.
I was certainly hoping that my first Masters wasn't going to be my last. Unfortunately it was but I'll always cherish the memory. I think about it all the time.
I can't wait to watch it again when it starts on Friday.
Peter Senior Masters Record
1990 T42 +9 72-75-73-77—297 $4,867
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