AUGUSTA, Ga. – For Ben Crenshaw 44 times was enough.
The two-time Masters champion announced on Golf Channel’s “Live From the Masters” on Saturday that next year’s tournament will be his last.
“I’m inclined to pull over and watch and help if I can,” Crenshaw told GolfChannel.com.
Crenshaw, 62, who missed the cut this week after rounds of 83-85, played his first Masters in 1972 and celebrated the 30-year anniversary of his first victory in 1984 this week. The Texan won for the second time in 1995 and will step down on the 20th anniversary of that accomplishment next year.
The hardest part of Crenshaw’s decision was telling his longtime caddie Carl Jackson his plan to retire.
“I’ve been thinking about this a long time and I told Carl on the 12th hole on the first day,” Crenshaw said. “I’d just made triple (bogey) and figured this is a good spot to tell him. It kind of stunned him a little.”
Jackson began caddying for Crenshaw in 1976 and has looped in 54 Masters.
Next year will be Crenshaw’s 44th Masters and he said he will still return to Augusta National every year to participate in the Champions Dinner and Par 3 Contest, but the golf course had become too demanding for him in recent years.
“It’s ridiculous how I play the course,” said Crenshaw, who hasn’t made the cut since 2007. “I play a few good holes and then just have some train wrecks. I’ve spent half my life here . . . but I’ll be here until I expire.”
When asked if he would consider joining Jack Nicklaus, Arnold Palmer and Gary Player on the first tee on Thursdays as an honorary starter, Crenshaw smiled, “Yeah, maybe. If they ask me.”