Playing Augusta with a Masters Champion


It was 1995, and my good pal and two-time Champion Bernhard Langer gave me the call that fulfilled a life long dream. I had an invitation to go play Augusta National. I had bugged him so much that just to get me off his back, not really, he told me that a member had invited him to play and they needed a fourth as his brother was coming as well.
We showed up on Thursday evening in anticipation of our Friday 45 holes of golf (36 big course, 9 par 3). I three putted 16 times the first day but posted a respectable 83-78 even with all the three putts. EVERY putt was scary no matter where it was. That evening, we were joined at dinner with Mr. Stephens and I told him my tale of woe on the greens and he suggested that I tell the caddie to let me do it alone on the greens, after all, I was a golf professional and PGA TOUR caddie.
The next day was the day of my golf life I shall never forget. I was over the novelty of being there on the hallowed grounds, and I wanted to play some good golf. My sarcasm of how I was going clean Bernhards clock had been heard for years, and it was time to put the pedal down and play well.
We had a game going that allowed us to partner with each other for 6 holes each. We started our second 18 on the back nine and we came to number 8 with Bernhard and I being partners. I was even at the time and playing very well. Bernhard hit a lob wedge in about 2 feet which was a sure thing and I wedged it to about 15 feet. I putted first and made the huge roar and fist pump when I holed my putt and Bernhard could not figure out why I was so happy when he was so close and already basically in the hole. I had been carefully watching the score and he was 1 over and I had a 2 shot lead.
I literally ran over to the 9th tee and hit before anyone could get over there to bother me. Bernhard then caught on that he was 2 down at medal play and he knew that I would never let him forget that I beat him at Augusta. The normally docile Langer had some serious games to play to hope that he could erase the 2 shot deficit. Wasnt going to happen.
He tried to club me into #9 so that I was certain to come back down the hill ala Greg Norman but I knew better. I put my ear plugs in and fired a 7 iron up the hill into the middle of the green with a relatively mild 2 putt for the victory.
After I holed out under par, I have carried with me the memory of lifetime beating the 2 Time Masters Champion in the 4th round, which I always am clear to highlight is the most important round of any event, at Augusta National.
-Russ, Coral Springs, FL
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