Pro’s recap of disastrous first Masters round proves how nervy Augusta is

Pro golfer Greg Chalmers shares a hilarious (and disastrous) story about his first-ever round at the Masters 23 years ago

Just how nervy can the Masters be? This story from Greg Chalmers provides some context.

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There are so many things for players to worry about leading up to a round at the Masters that it can be overwhelming at times — especially if you’re a first-timer.

Sure, the main focus is on the golf and the performance, but there are a ton of other things that can distract someone from playing their best. From ticket requests to the general pageantry of the event, the week of preparation and competition can go by in a blink of an eye given all that goes on.

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And even if a player can do his best to block out those uncontrollable distractions, the nerviness of playing the Masters is enough to make even the best players seem, well, amateur.

Need proof? Look no further than the humbling experience of pro golfer Greg Chalmers in 2001.

In 2001, Chalmers was a 27-year-old just trying to gain some momentum on the PGA Tour after seeing success in his native Australia (which included a victory in the 1998 Australian Open). Although he turned pro in 1995, it wasn’t until six years later that he experienced his first taste of the Masters.

It didn’t go quite as well as he had hoped.

Chalmers took to Twitter to recount his first-ever Masters round from 23 years ago, and to say it was a disaster is an understatement.

“You are not going to believe what happened the first time I played The Masters. It was in 2001 and my 1st round tee time was around 8:30 and I was a little nervous. I just watched Byron Nelson and Sam Snead hit off only a few minutes prior and the enormity of the event was dawning on me as I stood over the ball on that tee shot.

I managed to catch it out of the heel, which had the ball sliding down the left rope line, frankly I was pleased it was on planet earth. This joy was brief as I saw one of the patrons fall to the ground and my ball ricocheting through the pines to the left.

I might vomit at this point…couldn’t help but imagine some poor soul has waited 15 years for tickets The Masters and I’ve nearly killed him at 8:30 in the morning.

It wasn’t great once I got there…I’d hit him right above his eye, and you could see the dimple pattern in the lump now forming. I don’t think a signed glove is gonna cut it on this one…Not good.

If I was nervous before, I’m now close to lying in the fetal position and sucking my thumb. My 2nd shot I have to slide a 4iron through about four pines and slice it back towards the fairway. I got the 1st part done, but failed on the 2nd bit, so managed to hit a person in the shoulder on the right rope line up by the green.

I’ve waited my entire life to play Augusta National. I’ve taken two swings and hit two patrons.

Put me down for a bogey and a solid 78 at the end of the day. I’m not saying I’m the reason, but it’s no coincidence [that] patrons are no longer allowed on left side of No. 1.”

As Chalmers points out in the tweet, not only did he get stuck with an early tee time (8:30 a.m.) — where he had to witness two all-time greats hit the ceremonial tee shots — but the nerves hit him so badly that he plunked a patron with his opening drive.

Fair enough, it happens to even the best players.

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Oh, but Chalmers’ patron demolition tour was not quite finished, as he plunked another spectator with his very next swing, making him two-for-two in that department after about five minutes into his debut.

He managed to breathe, slow down and compose himself enough to save bogey on No. 1 (on his way to a 78 by the end of the round), but his Masters memory is more about the near-death experiences he provided two fans than anything else.

This might be the most dreadful way to start a tournament, let alone the Masters, but at least Chalmers is a good sport about it and can laugh it off two decades later.

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Nick Dimengo Editor

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