“Would you like to know a secret ? Shall I whisper in your ear ?” so sang the Beatles back in the 1960’s. Well the whisper, well quite a loud one actually, around the Clubhouse this last few weeks has been one concerning our General Manager Tuck Clagett and a round at Augusta National Golf Club in the company of his very good friend and two times Masters Champion Tom Watson. Niblick sought confirmation of this from Tuck and who somewhat coyly agreed that it was true but seemed a little diffident when pressed on the details. “Why so reticent about a round on perhaps the best known golf course in the world ? ” asked Niblick. Well Tuck a naturally quiet and modest guy wishes, and understandably so, to avoid being thought of as strutting and boastful – hence the coyness. Anyway the whisper is true and Niblick having had an exclusive interview with said Tuck has all the skinny on this round. Well not so much a round as a lifetime experience.
Tuck (far right) walks down from the tee on the par 3 6th hole
As is well known Tom Watson played this year his last Masters Championship; he won in 1977 and again in 1981 but at the age 66 decided that it was time rest on his laurels. One of his practice rounds was played on the Sunday of the Masters week and he invited Tuck to play with him on this round; now this is not the sort of invitation you decline – like an invite from the Queen one does not refuse.
At Augusta the round does not start on the 1st tee, anyway not when you are with Tom Watson. Tuck was driven, by Tom, up Magnolia Drive to the Champions car park and thence to the Champions locker room to be surrounded, naturally enough, by past holders of the Green Jacket. On this occasion by Woosnam, Faldo, Crenshaw, Watson (Bubba that is), Johnson & Lyle. Then on to the 1st tee busy enough even on a Sunday. Tuck was playing from the Members tees; the course for Members measures 6365 yards against the Championship length of 7435 yards. So for an amateur the difficulty of the course is not the length but rather the notoriously tricky greens and knowing where to land an approach shot. Of course Tuck was in rather expert company in this respect and this enabled him to make birdies on the 4th and par 5 13th, together with a 4 on the best known par 3 in the world 12th. The infamously difficult 11th claimed another victim when Tuck’s chip to the green ran on, and on and into the water. Niblick reminded Tuck of Colin Montgomery’s claim that an amateur scratch golfer playing from the back tees would not break 100 and Tuck confirmed that this was probably true.
Niblick did not ask for the details of Tuck’s score it hardly seems relevant, this was one of those days when the location and the company where more important than the arithmetic.
11th hole from the Championship tee The wee dot in the distance is the Members tee !
Tuck chipping on the 3rd from the "wrong" side of the green - he made his up and down!
Tuck putting on the 18th - take good note of the line of putt, probably 90 degrees to the direct line !