In the build-up to the 85th Masters Tournament at Augusta National Golf Club we asked three legends of Australian golf of their memories of playing The Masters. Today, Rodger Davis talks through the nerves off the first tee in his first appearance in 1988 and how he reveled in the challenge in his one and only return in 1992.
The first time I went to Augusta I went a week early to learn this course that I had seen on TV so many times.
I knew how tough it was but I’m shooting 65s and 64s and wondering what the hell was going on.
Once they started treble-cutting and shaving everything from the Sunday on it became a completely different golf course.
In the first hole of the tournament I’m in the middle of the first fairway – I still don’t know how I hit the ball I was so nervous on the tee.
Anyway, I’m standing in the fairway and I turned to my caddie, Max, and said, ‘Have a look at that green. It looks like something in Melbourne after two weeks of hot northerlies.’ The green was nearly blue, so you know it’s going to be firm.
The pin was back right so I decided I was going to pitch it on the bottom tier. If it bounces up, that’s fine; if it doesn’t, I’ll cop the two-putt up the hill.
I hit this lovely 9-iron straight at it, it’s pitched on the bottom tier and the first bounce goes about 10 feet in the air. It pitches beside the flag and the next bounce goes to the back edge and stops.
I had this 12-footer down the hill that I hit almost sideways and it went five feet past.
I’d been out with Ben Crenshaw’s caddie the week before to prepare and he’d set up a greens book for me with all sorts of notes in it of where to hit and, most importantly, where not to hit it.
I said to Max, ‘Get those notes out from Crenshaw’s caddie because we’re going to need ‘em!’
I loved the challenge of Augusta, absolutely loved it.
If you took each individual hole just by itself, it’s not such a big deal. But you put them all together and it just messes with your head so badly.
You can understand why guys find it so hard to win the first time because you just can’t have that much knowledge in your head until you’ve experienced what it is like for yourself.
Rodger Davis Masters Record
1988 29 +7 77-72-71-75—295 $7,100
1992 63 +11 77-68-75-79—299 $3,200
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