Notes US Am Champ Daly Sighting

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AUGUSTA, Ga. -- U.S. Amateur champion Richie Ramsay will have plenty to talk about this week.
 
Never mind that it'll be a one-sided discussion.
 
Ramsay earned a spot in the Masters -- and a first- and second-round pairing with defending champ Phil Mickelson -- last August, when he became the first Scottish golfer in 108 years to win the U.S. Amateur.
 
'It's a great atmosphere,' Ramsay said. 'I've been very fortunate that the Scottish Golf Union has funded me, supported me and allowed me to come out and make a couple of trips here. So I've gotten used to the golf course.
 
'I'm comfortable with my surroundings now. It's just a matter of getting shots and using them out there on the course.'
 
Ramsay looked unflappable when he beat John Kelly at the Amateur. Watch him up close, though, and it's a bit of a different story.
 
Every golfer talks to himself, muttering, 'Get down!' when a shot looks as if it's going too long or 'Get legs!' if a putt is slowing. But Ramsay takes it to an art form, chattering to himself after most shots.
 
'It's something that's part and parcel of the game,' he said. 'I just use it ... to help me progress a bit more in my game, and it helps me focus a bit harder. I know I'm doing it, but it helps me move onto the next shot, and not worry about what I did previously.'
 
So far, it's working wonders. Mickelson played a round with Ramsay on Sunday and was impressed with what he saw.
 
'He strikes the ball solid and has a great touch around the greens. I expect him to have a great week,' Mickelson said. 'He's a very enjoyable guy to be around and has a great personality to be around. I think we're going to have a fun couple of days being paired together.'
 
Though Ramsay, 23, already has his degree from the University of Stirling in Scotland, his career plans remain unsettled. He won't turn professional until after the British Open, at the earliest.
 
The U.S. Amateur champion gets invites to all four of the majors as long as he remains an amateur.
 
Someday, maybe Ramsay will have a major title to go with that U.S. Amateur crown that made him the toast of Scotland.
 
'I take a lot of pride in that. I take a lot of pride just in being Scottish,' Ramsay said. 'No matter what happens from now on, I've always got that. It's just a nice thing to have.'
 
PAR-3 CONTEST:
Rory Sabbatini picked the perfect time to get his first hole-in-one.
 
Sabbatini aced the 115-yard No. 7 in the par-3 contest on Wednesday afternoon. It was one of two holes-in-one, with David Toms getting one on the 142-yard No. 3.
 
'I've done pretty much everything humanly possible to make a hole-in-one, so it's nice to finally make one,' Sabbatini said. 'It's a feeling of total relief and exhilaration.'
 
Sabbatini used a pitching wedge. As the ball sailed toward the pin, he said it looked like it was in slow-motion. Finally, it dropped right into the hole.
 
The best part of all? His wife, Amy, was his caddie.
 
'I've always been worried that I would miss his first hole-in-one,' she said. 'But I actually pulled the club, so I was so happy to be a part of it.'
 
Toms used a 9-iron and hoped the ace would be a good omen for the rest of the week.
 
'It was a perfect shot, and went right in,' he said. 'It got the people excited, and that's what it's all about.'
 
Former champion Mark O'Meara won the par-3 contest at 5-under par, one stroke ahead of Zach Johnson. A star-studded list of players were at 3-under, including former champions Fred Couples and Ben Crenshaw.
 
The par-3 contest has been played since 1960, and has become a Wednesday tradition at the Masters. It's a lighthearted event that brings back past champions and allows current players to have some fun before the real tournament starts -- defending Masters champ Phil Mickelson even brought his daughters along for the afternoon.
 
But the win might not be the best omen for O'Meara. No par-3 winner has ever gone on to win the Masters.
 
MISSING IN ACTION:
Fans trying to get an autograph from John Daly this week are going to have to go way beyond the ropes.
 
The two-time major winner lost his PGA TOUR card and is only playing on sponsor exemptions this year. But he's in town signing autographs at the Hooters restaurant down the road from Augusta National.
 
Daly isn't the only big name missing the Masters this year.
 
Former British Open champ David Duval is absent for only the second time since 1996. He got a five-year exemption for winning the 2001 British, but it expired after last year.
 
Tom Lehman, captain of last year's Ryder Cup, is out for only the second time since 1993. He didn't finish high enough on either the money list or in the world rankings to qualify.
 
Nick Faldo could play if he wanted as a three-time Masters champion, but he decided that last year would be his final time as a player, and he's at Augusta doing commentary work for CBS.
 
'I've had my era. It was a tough decision,' Faldo said Wednesday. 'Five or six years ago is when I first realized it was time for a change, and it took me a couple years to realize that.'
 
JACK'S PICK:
Tiger Woods and Phil Mickelson aren't just the people's picks to win this week. Jack Nicklaus likes them, too.
 
The Golden Bear, who won six Masters titles, said Woods, Mickelson and two-time U.S. Open champ Ernie Els are his favorites this week but that there could be a dark horse.
 
'I feel like it may be time for one of the Australians to step up,' he said. 'But it's hard to pick. That's why we play the tournament.'
 
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