Rookie Diary Sleepless in Augusta

By Associated PressApril 2, 2007, 4:00 pm
Editor's Note: Masters first-timer Brett Quigley is writing a rookie diary this week for the Associated Press.
AUGUSTA, Ga. -- My dad and Dana know Gary Player from the Champions Tour, and my dad asked him at the beginning of the year if we could have a practice round. Gary said to be there at 8 a.m. Monday.
I woke up about 2 a.m. and had a sleepless night.
I never have a sleepless night.
Brett Quigley and Gary Player
Three-time Masters champion Gary Player gives advice to rookie Brett Quigley Monday. (WireImage)
I was just thinking about Gary Player, thinking about the Masters, thinking about everything that goes with it. I stayed in bed until 5:30 a.m., then got up and came out here at 6:30 a.m. when it was still pretty quiet. We teed off at about 7:45 a.m. Casey Watabu asked Mr. Player if he could join us, which was neat. He's a great kid, a great player.
The people came in at 8 a.m., and it was incredible.
We had just teed off on No. 1 and had walked down the hill and up the hill, right where the gate is. It was just a buzz, incredible energy right on the first hole -- the coming in, all the people, seeing everybody, Tiger out there in the group in front of us and being with Player.
What's the biggest gallery I've had in a practice round? Probably six or seven people. No, the U.S. Open crowds are great, and the British Open crowds. But they all pale in comparison to this crowd.
On every green, Mr. Player would tell me, 'This is where you need to be. Be careful on this pin. You think you want to be over here, but you need to be on this side.'
It was great to pick his brain on different shots, or how it used to be, the condition of the golf course, the length, when he beat Palmer. When Palmer beat him. It's something I'll never be able to replace. I'll cherish that forever.
When we were on the 13th, he said, 'I want to show you where Arnold hit it on the 16th hole.' He said it was three times harder than Tiger's shot two years ago. But we never got to see it. He had to do a press conference, and he left us on the 15th tee.
I wrote down probably three to four things he said on every hole, about this tee shot, this green. 'The fourth green, whatever you do, hit it back left -- don't get cute.' I wrote it down in my book. I've probably got close to 30 things he said to pay attention to.
I'm going to work in the short game area this afternoon, because obviously that's a big deal. So I'll just grab some lunch, work on my short game and relax.
I might try to take a nap in case I have another sleepless night.
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