knowledge. He, like University of Georgia
products and fellow Masters first-timers
Harris English and Chris Kirk, got a taste
of Augusta National during college.
“In my eyes, whoever shows up at an
event nowadays has a chance to win,”
says Reed, 23, who currently is the hottest
player in the world whose Sunday uni-
form is a red shirt and black slacks. “I don’t put it past myself
… I’m definitely not going to say that I don’t have a chance
of winning. I feel like I do. But at the same time I’m going to
have to put four really good rounds together.”
English, No. 36 in the world, is similarly positive. “I
guess every golf tournament you want to go into it think-
ing you can win,” he says. “There’s no real reason prepar-
ing and doing all the things you do to get ready for a golf
tournament if you don’t think you can win. It’s another
golf tournament. Yes, Augusta is going to be tough, and
almost no one has won the first time, but it is another golf
tournament. Experience matters, but who knows? This
could be the year. I think if you prepare efficiently, you
always have a chance.”
If the idiosyncrasies of Augusta aren’t enough of an
impediment for the uninitiated, the aura and wonder of the
former tree nursery also can be overwhelming, a walk so
pure that even Mark Twain might have found it unspoiled.
Jack Nicklaus admits that he still gets chills when he
drives down Magnolia Lane toward the stately white
So what chance does a rookie have of holding it together?
“The whole place is so amazing that you need time to
adjust to how incredible it is,” says Davis Love III, who
competed in 19 Masters. “But the golf course itself might not
be the issue it once was. It used to be that you got to Augusta
and those were the fastest greens you putted on all year.
And then Memorial had greens nearly as fast. Now we have
[Bay Hill] and a lot of other weeks where they’re really close.
There are a lot of things that help guys get used to playing
big events, like the WGCs. They have experience, and they’ve
got the game. I think the new guys have a better chance than
maybe 10 years ago.”
“But,” he cautions, “it is still the Masters.” n P E T
has competed in
only one prior major
de Jonge (above) has
played in five.