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, Wayne Grady reflects on the torment inflicted by the most beautiful hole on the golf course and the four-putt that threatened to turn his Masters dream into a nightmare.
Just getting to Augusta the first time in 1990 was an achievement.
Because it was an invitational tournament the only way you could qualify was by winning a tournament in the States so the first time I qualified was after I won the Westchester Classic in 1989.
I'd played a few British Opens and US Opens prior to that because you can go and qualify to play in them but to play at Augusta, you had to win a tournament.
Winning in the US was a goal that you were always trying to achieve. To do it meant that you had ticked off one of the targets you had set for yourself and the first thing everyone said after they won on the PGA TOUR was, ‘I’m in Augusta’.
When you go there for the first time it is such a big learning curve. You could go to any other course and play it beforehand but Augusta you couldn't until you had qualified.
I played really well that first year, really well actually, but I putted terribly.
I actually four-putted the last green to miss out on a guaranteed spot the next year.
The top 24 finishers automatically qualified for the next year but I four-putted the 18th green to finish tied for 27th, which wasn't a nice feeling at all.
I was playing with Lee Trevino in the final round. I was one ahead of him playing the last and four-putted and he beat me by a shot. He got in next year and I missed out and I knew it as we were walking off the green.
Fortunately, a few months later I won the US PGA Championship and that got me a start at The Masters for the following five years.
The most exciting part about playing the front nine is that first tee shot, although the announcement on the tee itself is so low-key it’s incredible.
The putting green at Augusta is right next to the first tee so it's not that long of a walk but there’s no other way to describe that first tee shot; it is bloody nerve-wracking, it really is.
You're at Augusta and you're a bundle of energy and nerves and the guy announcing you on the first tee says, 'On the tee, Wayne Grady, fore please.'
It's not a letdown but there was certainly no big build-up or grand announcement.
I was nervous as hell but thankfully I hit it well.
The front nine never really excited you but playing the back nine was always fantastic. Holes 12, 13 and 16 were just beautiful.
I played the 12th really well in practice but in the tournament it just becomes a totally different animal, it really does.
It's a fun hole to play but you're always relieved once you've finished it.
As you walk up the hill from the 11th green to the 12th tee there are no people between you and the 12th tee but the hole hill behind that 12th tee is just covered in people. It's amazing.
And then you go down to the green and there is no one down there – you're just down there on your own – and then you walk around to the 13th tee.
I played it well in practice and then I couldn't hit the green in the tournament.
The front left pin was a 9-iron and the back right was 7 or 8-iron but in the four rounds of the tournament I don't think I hit the green once.
If I did it was only once.
Each year we went to Augusta we always rented a house for the week, everyone did.
I had my family there and we had friends come and stay with us so staying in a hotel would have just been too expensive. It's just easier to rent a house and do all your cooking at home.
There’s no question that after being there the first time you feel a lot more relaxed each time you go back.
It's still big, but then the week's over. It goes so quickly and then you're out Magnolia Drive and you can't go back in.
Wayne Grady’s Masters Record
1990 T27 72-75-73-72—292 $9,267
1991 MC 74-76—150
1992 T13 68-75-71-68—282 $26,500
1993 MC 77-73—150
1994 T41 74-73-73-80—300 $7,400
1995 T35 69-73-74-74—290 $10,840
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