“I have so many great Masters memories from 1996. Being at the event with family and friends was very special. Getting to share that stage with them was, on reflection, incredible. Standing on the range with my coach, Bob Torrance, and him reassuring me that this was where I belonged was again, on reflection, fantastic.
Failing to realise that I was sharing a locker with two-time US Open Champion Curtis Strange and therefore blocking all the space with two pairs of size 15s is a funny memory now…but not so funny at the time when said golfer acted indeed like his name suggests! He went nuts and my gag of “you know what they say about guys with big feet…big shoes”, didn’t have the effect I hoped for.
Being at the overseas players’ dinner on the Monday and being sandwiched between Greg Norman and Nick Faldo was surreal, especially given they fought to the death come the Sunday. And I had been sat between them under a week earlier. But the absolute highlight has to be my Tuesday practice round. I’d met Tom Watson in Phoenix in January and he suggested we play at Augusta. “Tuesday 9am tee off big guy, on the range for 8”, I gladly accepted.
In a time of no emails, and no exchange of numbers, I was surprised on the Monday evening to see my name next to Tom Watson’s on the draw for the next day. That and two X’s. It was to be just him and me. Three months had passed and he hadn’t forgotten. That was as impressive to me as watching his every move on the golf course that day.