In 1991 a 5ft 5 Ian Woosnam won the Augusta Masters. I was 15 years old and a schoolboy footballer at Cardiff City. My dad was also 5ft 5 and a keen golfer. I’d been over the school fields hitting balls with him from a Dulux Paint can for years. I had a junior 7 iron but no desire to play at a golf course. After Woosnam won that Masters I played that summer at my local course and was hooked. 2 years later I was on a plane for the first time to Coastal Carolina University to play golf
Looking at Woosnam’s story he was inspired by another Masters Champion, Sandy Lyle. Woosnam and Lyle were fierce competitors as kids. Both born in 1958 they grew up playing for the Shropshire Boys and formed a fierce rivalry and friendship. Having someone on the same or just above your playing level to play golf with must be one of the best things for developing your game. I was told a story as a kid after Lyle had one a junior event. A livid Woosnam raged “I’ll get you Sandy Lyle.” Lyle paved the way with 2 major championships, which gave Woosnam the belief he too could join the ranks of a Masters winner and he did in 91. He finally got Sandy Lyle.
Tiger Woods the greatest of all champions was inspired to be a Masters great for reasons bigger than golf. Black players had long been excluded from the Masters tournament and Woods had and still has a bigger battle to fight and expel racism not only from sport but from the world in general. Woods knew all about the History of the club and found no inspiration from men like Bobby Jones who had excluded inviting black players from playing in the Masters. It wasn’t until 1975 the year of both mine and Woods birth that Calvin Pete was the first black player to be invited to play in the Masters, even though accomplishments should have got them an invite years before. Woods stated back then that he knew all about Augusta’s history of racism, and not even having a black member until as late as 1990. This was Tigers inspiration and the fuel that brought him 5 Masters titles and one could only think one day he will have a monument erected in his name on the once so prejudice property. Tigers inspiration to golfers all over the world has grown the game more than anything the game has ever seen.
My final look at Masters inspiration is the influence Seve Ballesteros had on Spanish Golf. Before Seve golf in Spain was relatively new. He was a pioneer of Spanish and European golf. A short game and shot shaping genius, Augusta was the perfect test for Seve and in his footsteps followed Jose Maria Olazabal with 2 Masters titles and eventually Sergio Garcia got over the line in 2017.
This year was the turn of Scotty Scheffler with an amazing performance leading from the front. He was totally unflappable until the last hole where he inspired golfers worldwide with a beautiful 4 putt.
I hope you enjoyed this years Masters as much as I did and that this post had an Impact on your golf game.
Michael Parry (Stockholm April 2022)
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