Nick Price: How I learned to love Augusta

The Scoop

Course record holder Nick Price on why it took him time to cherish the feted venue

Augusta was never my favourite. It was almost like the fairways when we played were wide open, there was no rough and the only
defence the golf course had was the greens. I never really putted great on fast greens.

 

I would drive the ball as well as anyone when I was playing well and I never really got any benefit.

 

There was no real advantage for being a great driver of the ball at Augusta. I think you could see that from guys that won, guys like
Crenshaw and Sandy and Seve, guys who won there consistently, they were guys who were never really great drivers of the golf ball but they were great finishers.

 

They were great iron players and good chippers and putters. That wasn’t my game. I always felt my strength was from tee to green. It’s such a hard golf course for me.

 

I think what they’ve done now to the golf course – not necessarily the length but they’ve softened the greens a little bit and they’re not quite as fast as they used to be, in the 90s they were a nightmare, I mean they were ridiculously fast.

 

I think they’ve put more flat spots in the greens for better pin positions, if they’d had the course set up the way it is now with a little bit of rough I think I really would have played better there over the years. It frustrated me and Trevino was the same way, not that I want to put myself in his league.

 

If you’re a real purist, why it ever became a Major championship you don’t know because it’s at the same course every year. He never liked it there because he hit the ball too low. Certainly, that’s the other thing, if you’re a real purist, why it ever became a Major championship you don’t know because it’s at the same course every year. All the others rotate.

 

So even if you get to a US Open venue that you don’t like next year there’s going to be one that you do.

 

Because every golf course is going to suit certain players more than others. And it’s just unfair that if you’ve got a game like Mickelson then you’re champing at the bit to get to Augusta each year, Nicklaus was the same. And so is Tiger.

 

So my course record 63 was a real surprise… and came from frustration! I just putted as well as I ever have and the greens that year were a little slower and a little bit softer but I just putted unbelievably well that day. I didn’t hit the ball any better than I had done on previous occasions but I just holed every putt I looked at.

 

And it could have been better because I ran it over the top of the lip on 17 and then horseshoed out on the last.

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