Augusta Diary: Ambition achieved when Nicklaus met his father’s hero, er, Nicklaus
Saturday 07 April 2012
No prizes for guessing who Nicklaus Lewis is named after. His father Randy Lewis, who condemned the 19-year-old to a lifetime of having his first name misspelled, admitted: "Jack was always my hero."
By becoming the oldest ever winner of the US Mid-Amateur Championship, though, the 54-year-old Lewis Sr qualified to play in the Masters for the first time and thus allowed Nicklaus Lewis to meet Jack Nicklaus, the six-time winner of the Green Jacket.
Last year when England's Tom Lewis was paired with his father's hero, Tom Watson, in the first round of the Open Championship, the then amateur went on to share the lead. No such good fortune here for Randy Lewis, though – his opening 81 on Thursday beat only Sandy Lyle – and so from today he will be back to his life as a financial adviser in Michigan. "I joked with my wife, they're probably going to have security guards escort me out of here," Lewis said.
"This week has gone way too fast but it is probably time to get back to a normal life. That first tee shot I was thinking about for six months, please don't top it, don't pull-hook it, somehow get it in the fairway." Unlike Tiger Woods and others, Lewis did just that, sending his opening shot straight down the middle.
So back to the TV couch for him. Fittingly, one survey gives the average age of US viewers of the Masters as 56.4 (versus 42.5 for the Super Bowl and 40.6 for the NBA).
Jimenez tries to tempt Tiger to the Costa
Miguel Angel Jimenez pretty much single-handedly runs, funds and stars in his local European Tour event, the Andalucia Open, which took place last month on the Costa del Sol. The budget for the tournament is not exactly huge but that has not stopped Jimenez approaching the best players in the game in the hope of attracting them to Spain. The draw for the first two rounds of the Masters gave the Ryder Cup star the ideal opportunity to lobby Tiger Woods once again.
"All the time I am trying to convince him to come to play my tournament," said Jimenez. "I told him my tournament went very well but we need some more stars in my tournament and it would be nice to have big, top players. It would be nice for any tournament to have players like that." Still a work in progress.
Stammering Sophie's got it taped
Sophie Gustafson has released on YouTube her acceptance speech for winning the Ben Hogan award from the Golf Writers of America. It is well worth a view. Although attending the dinner on Wednesday night in person, Gustafson taped her speech because she has a stutter. It took eight hours to record.
She said: "We all know this is the best way to do it if we want to make it out of this room in time for the first tee-offs tomorrow."
Gustafson never gave television interviews before volunteering to do one prior to last year's Solheim Cup. "I was more nervous doing that than on the first tee," she said. "For obvious reasons stutterers shy away from interviews but with a little editing magic we can be heard. If I can make one kid feel better then it is all worth it."
Gustafson said playing golf meant the luxury of not having to have a real job and that stutterers should not be told what they can and cannot do but should follow their passion, "granted maybe not going into phone sales".
Cats and cigars a real turn-off
High definition and 3D television have done much to bring the beauty of Augusta into your living room. Just be glad there is no smellovision yet – the cat litter, spread on the saturated walkways, and cigar smoke make for a pungent combination.
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