Although Augusta is an exclusive club, once you are through the gates of Magnolia Lane, the members are very welcoming. They also look after the amateur competitors with the best of hospitality due to the fact they are very aware of their connections with amateur golf through Bobby Jones.
Indeed, you get a firm impression that nothing would please the club more than an amateur being in contention for the Green Jacket on the back nine come Sunday.
On the last practice day, Gary Player’s caddie approached with an invite to play the back nine with Gary, but I decided to decline as I wanted to play the front nine as I felt I didn’t know it so well.
Years later I was watching the news and Dave King, who was leading the takeover for Rangers, was getting off a plane – and I recognised him more as Gary Player’s caddie!
I was fortunate enough to be paired with Tom Watson and, whilst chatting in between shots, I asked if he played any other sports as a youngster, to which he replied ‘basketball’.
Before I could stop myself, I had blurted out ‘you must be able to jump really high Tom’ followed by a laugh which I had to cut short when I realised he didn’t find it so funny!