Masters memories: Gary Player told me ‘practise harder laddie!’

Stephen Dundas was Amateur champion in 1993.
Stephen Dundas was Amateur champion in 1993.
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Stephen Dundas has fond memories of mixing with golf greats while playing at the 1993 Masters as the Amateur champion.

I arrived at Augusta National late on a Thursday night, one week before the tournament started, and was staying in the Crow’s Nest. I remember waking up that first morning and looking out the window to see the putting green and the 10th hole. I literally laughed for about one minute as I realised exactly where I was and what lay ahead.

I played practice rounds with Billy Andrade, Ben Crenshaw and Steve Elkington, Nick Price and Tony Johnstone and Seve Ballesteros and Gary Player. Walking off the 18th green with Seve and Gary Player, Mr Player wished me good luck and asked if I practised hard. I said “yes”. He took my hand, squeezed and looked me in the eye and said in a Scottish accent, “practise harder laddie!” Seve then took me to the range and gave me a lesson!

On the Thursday, I played with Tom Watson. I started double-bogey, bogey then hit a fat 2- iron off the tee on the third. As we were walking off the tee, Mr Watson put his arm around me and said, “welcome to The Masters!” It was a great way of trying to relax me and a nice thing to do.

My final main memory was on the 16th when Mr Watson holed a 40-footer for birdie and I followed him in from 20 feet to get me to three-under on the back nine at Augusta. But don’t ask about the first nine or the last two holes…