Texas senior Doug Ghim, the 2017 U.S. Amateur runner-up, will blog about his first Masters experience on Golfweek.com this week. Here is his first entry:
AUGUSTA, Ga. – I want to begin my weeklong player blog by thanking Augusta National and the Masters Tournament for this special opportunity. To be here competing with the world’s greatest players on one of the greatest golf courses in the world is truly an honor.
I just wrapped up my Monday preparation by playing 18 holes of practice, and what an amazing day it was. I’ve never been here at Augusta National with such a big crowd before. I’ve been out here a couple of times and have been part of the crowd – my Texas teammates and I have attended the Monday of the Masters after playing in Augusta’s college tournament at Forest Hills before – but to be able to hit a shot and have the crowd react to it, it was pretty crazy. It was a stark contrast to the solitude of when I visited in January with my dad, Jeff, to prepare for my first Masters.
Speaking of my dad, I can’t thank he and my mom, Susan, enough for what they’ve done for me and my golf career. It’s a dream come true for all of us, and it’s just as much my parents’ week as it is my week. On Sunday, my mom was allowed to walk inside the ropes with my dad and I as I played a practice round with Martin Kaymer. She was pretty emotional. That was so cool to see.
My dad has caddied for me before, including last summer when I finished runner-up to Doc Redman at the U.S. Amateur. After I earned my invite to the Masters, I knew I wanted my dad to caddie for me at Augusta National. It means so much to not only be playing my first Masters, but to also have him on the bag and to have him see what it’s like to be out here. Having him with me and realizing probably one of our greatest dreams is pretty awesome.
He wants me to do well more than anyone. Since January, he has meticulously filled out a yardage book for me, studying anything he can get his hands on. He really is a dedicated person and very analytic. He wants to make sure I know everything possible about the golf course because he knows how important experience is out here, and obviously I really can’t make up for that. We’re doing the best that we possibly can.
However, he did lose that yardage book today and he’s very distraught. We’re just hoping someone turns it in. Hopefully we’ll find it.
I played the first nine holes of today’s practice round with Patton Kizzire and another Texas Longhorn – and 2015 Masters champion – Jordan Spieth. Playing with Jordan, he’s such a great guy and he treated me like an equal. He was giving me pointers of where to go, what has happened to him on the course and how to deal with all the intricacies of the golf course – the wind, the crowds, everything.
For example, he was telling me that laying up on 13, it’s OK to go pin high right. I said thim, ‘Well, the crowd is there.’ And he goes, ‘Well, you just have to move the crowd.’ I’m not used to doing that, but he said people are here to watch me and I deserve to have control of things like that because I’m playing the golf course and trying to win. He’s been in my ear and trying to get me to focus and play good golf. I really appreciate his time.
Finally, I know that this is not only my first major but also my first pro event. Whatever happens this week, whatever the result is, it will be a huge confidence boost just having the experience of trying to fight the nerves, and handle the crowds and the media and just everything that goes along with this week. I think after this week, it will all get a little bit easier for me.
As far as expectations go, the only thing I expect is just to play as well as I know I can play. I can’t control how the rest of the field plays and that’s OK because I have the upmost respect for everyone in the field. These are the best players in the world on one of the most difficult golf courses in the world, so I just have to play the golf that I know how to play and whatever the score is at the end of the day, I’ll be happy with it. And even if I don’t play well, I’ll just go back and reflect and see how I can get more comfortable the next time I have this opportunity and take it from there.
Tonight is the Amateur Dinner. I’ve also packed a change of clothes with me because I will be staying in the Crow’s Nest tonight, as well. What an opportunity afforded to amateurs to be able to stay atop the clubhouse where there is so much history. It should be a lot of fun and a memorable experience.
Until tomorrow, hook ’em Horns!