Augusta National is one of the most prestigious golf courses in the world, and winning the Masters is one of the greatest accomplishments a golfer can achieve.
No matter what happens the rest of a player’s career, after slipping on a green jacket, that golfer will always be introduced with the words “Masters champion” before his name — putting him alongside some of the greatest players to ever swing a club.
While every pro golfer has dreamt about winning the Masters, it’s easier said than done.
When you combine the pressure with the history and talent of the field, it can all be a lot to handle for players of any caliber; let alone rookies teeing it up at Augusta for the first time.
But there are some things that first-time players at Augusta can do to mentally and physically prepare, helping block out the mystique of the tournament.
The 2008 Masters champion says the first thing any Augusta rookie should do after receiving an invite is to accept it — even if the weather is cold.
“You’ve got to get there and you’ve got to get over the mental and emotional stuff of noticing everything, looking around, getting teary when you go down Magnolia Lane. Go there, play practice rounds. So when the tournament comes, you can go there to play, and not get caught up in all the tradition, beauty and wonder of the place.”
As a two-time winner, former Masters champion Langer says that, despite the course changing over the years — with added rough and more trees than he dealt with during his victories in 1985 and 1993 — there’s one constant that Augusta rookies need to focus most on: the greens.
“Focus on the greens. Get a good memory of what the green slopes do, where the pin positions will be, where you should and shouldn’t miss the ball; because it will make a huge difference.”
Winning the Masters in 2003, Weir’s green jacket came with some extra tension, as he defeated Len Mattiace in a playoff to earn the lone major victory of his career. Weir also represents the first left-handed player to win the Masters, with Phil Mickelson duplicating the effort from a lefty the following year.
Like Langer said before him, Weir claims putting is the most important part of succeeding at Augusta.
“Spend a lot of time on the greens to get used to Augusta National. There are some putts that can fool you out there, so doing your homework is really important.”