Here, some of the greats recall the two days that could satisfy you for a lifetime: the first time you set foot on Augusta, and the first time you win the Masters (if
you’re lucky enough).
GARY PLAYER 1957
“I was in awe when I first got there. I remember meeting President Eisenhower, whom I greatly admired,and Bobby Jones and Clifford Roberts. I looked at the golf course and said, ‘If there’s a golf course in heaven, this is what it’s got to be like.’ It’s paradise.”
JAY HAAS 1975
“My first time playing, I was scared to death. When the pairings came out, I was paired with Arnold [Palmer] for the first round because of our Wake Forest connection. He probably drew the biggest gallery in the field. I hit probably 30 drivers on the practice range within 10 minutes of teeing off so that I wouldn’t top my first tee shot or hit it into the clubhouse or something. It worked. I hit a good drive. I played very well for eight holes, but ended up shooting 4 over. Arnold didn’t have a great day, either, but he was still Arnold. It was pretty intense.”
MARK O’MEARA 1998
“When I won,I ate at the club. I think I had chicken and some salad and vegetables, but it was more about trying to be accommodating to the club. I pulled out of the club at about 11:15 that night and went back to my rental house, and surprisingly enough Tiger was standing in the driveway to congratulate me, which I thought was very, very classy. That’s when I realized, ‘Oh, my gosh, I’ve still got the green jacket on, I should have left it at the course!’ And he said, ‘No, no, the champion gets to keep the green jacket for a year.’ So I was very relieved!”