THE MASTERS IS BACK- AMEN!

It’s finally here. One of the greatest events on the sporting calendar…the US Masters.

This is the tournament which truly messes with player’s heads and can make professionals look like an everyday hacker.

Amen Corner is arguably the hardest stretch of holes in the world. It includes the approach shot into the 11th, the entire 12th hole and then the tee off on the 13th. Many players have had their prayers unanswered over these three holes.

The US Masters is full of tradition. Each year the tournament starts with legends of the game teeing off. This year Gary Player got us under way and he was followed by the great Jack Nicklaus, while Arnold Palmer watched on.

Australia is full of anticipation heading into the years event. Adam Scott has been hot over the last month and knows what it feels like to have a green blazer on his back. He’s a beautiful playmaker with an almost flawless swing. He can attack the course and at the same time, knows how to fight and grind out a win.

Marc Leishman missed last years Masters to look after his sick wife. She is at 85% health and will be by his side with their two sons as he comes back. Leishman won’t be on the radar as a potential winner, but he’s led here before and won’t be overawed by the occasion. Cam Smith is making his debut this year. He tied for fourth in last years US Open and has plenty of potential. Steven Bowditch returns for his second attempt at Augusta. His short game is as good as it gets and he’ll need it to be working around these treacherous greens.

It’s been 14 years since the number 1 player in the world won the US Masters. That was Tiger Woods back in 2002. With back to back wins, Jason Day comes into the tournament in red hot form.

Rory McIlroy is trying to win his career Grand Slam, Jordan Spieth is the defending champion and Bubba Watson has won twice here and has the perfect game for Augusta.

Form and common sense says this tournament has to be won by either Day, Spieth, McIlroy, Watson or Scott.

Phil Mickelson will be sniffing around like he always does and Rickie Fowler won’t be far from the leader board, with his snapback. If an Australian can’t win, I’d dearly love Sergio Garcia to win. He’s the best player on the tour to not have won a major.

I think there’ll be a two way play off with Day and Watson, with the Aussie coming out on top!

Good luck to Tom Watson in his last US Masters appearance.

Enjoy the lack of sleep and the greatest golf game in the world.

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HOW YOU QUALIFY FOR THE US MASTERS

The US Masters is one of the most famous sporting events in the world and it’s definitely the most exclusive golf event.

While there are three other Majors, the field is almost half the size of every other Major and all golfers wants a start in Augusta and the chance to wear a green jacket.

There are only 90 players who have qualified, which is the lowest field since 2002. It’s a small number, because it’s almost impossible to qualify.

Here are the ways you can qualify:

  1. Win the US Masters and get a lifetime invitation
  2. Win another Major and receive an invite for five years
  3. Win the Players Championship
  4. Be in the top 12 of the previous year at the US Masters
  5. Be in the top four of the previous years other Majors
  6. Win a PGA Tour event between the previous years Masters and the upcoming year
  7. Qualify for the previous years season ending tournament
  8. Finish top 50 in the Official World Golf Rankings for the previous calendar year
  9. Be in the top 50 of the Official World Golf Rankings published, the week before the Masters
  10. Be the current US amateur champion or runner up
  11. Be the current British amateur champion
  12. Be the current Latin-American amateur champion
  13. Be the current Asia-Pacific amateur champion
  14. Be the current US Mid amateur champion

The above is why the US Masters field is so small and why it’s the golf tournament which captures the world’s imagination.

Here is the how you receive your official invitation. I think mine is lost in the mail…

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THE DAY I MET A LIVING LEGEND

As a sports fan there are days you remember and days you try to forget.

I am told, the days you remember like they were yesterday, are when your team wins a grand final. I haven’t had this day yet…

The days you forget are when you team loses that grand final or gets embroiled in a scandal. I’ve had that.

But the day I met Herb Elliott is one of the greatest days of my life. It stands out as a highlight in my career as well.

The man is a legend. Unbeaten in four years over 1500m and the mile, Olympic Gold, World Record. His time to win in 1960 was so quick, it would have won gold in seven Olympics since then, including Seoul, Barcelona and Atlanta.

Working on behalf of Athletics NSW to promote their Olympic Qualifiers, the Sydney Track Classic, I was told I was able to use Herb Elliott as a spokesman. The first time I rang him, I was incredibly nervous.

I was talking to an Olympic champion!

I wanted to organise a story around his tips for runners of all levels. Who wouldn’t want tips from an Olympic Games gold medalist? His tips were based around mental toughness, lots of hard work and just running the fastest. No tricks or shortcuts and this Publicist had been beaten at his own game.

Meeting him a week later when I took him in to be interviewed by the Triple M Grill team was a moment I will never forgot. He walked into the foyer and I knew as soon as he walked in who he was. I had a complete lump in my chest as I was about to meet the man I had idolised as a 1500m runner, all my life. It took me a good few minutes to even get the courage to go up and introduce myself. I wasn’t star struck- I was simply in the presence of my hero.

The Triple M Grill team are one of Sydney’s most successful breakfast shows. Matty Johns, MG and Gus Worland are celebrities, but even they seemed stunned, excited and a little nervous to be interviewing Herb.

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I finished that first meet and greet with Herb and burst in to tears of absolute joy. I couldn’t control it. I was simply deliriously happy.

I drove him to a Fox Sports interview a short time later. Apart from getting lost in streets I knew so well, because I was a little nervous, we just chatted away. The uniqueness of Herb is he is so humble, charismatic and genuinely hysterical.

Herb didn’t notice the stares he received as he walked into the Fox Sports studios, but I did. When he arrived on set for the TV show, the Back Page, he was greeted with an applause by the hosts. Again, I could tell the unparalleled nervousness, apprehension and pure excitement of the hosts, who were about to interview him. No-one wanted to be disrespectful to such an incredible man, who has kept out of the media spotlight for the best part of five decades.

Herb Back Page

When you meet your idol or hero you want them to be just how you imagined. I had this and more.

Herb Elliott is honestly one of the most incredible people I’ve had the pleasure of meeting. He is kind, gentle, highly intelligent and has incredible people skills- he even pretended to laugh at a few of my jokes.

He praised my guts and get up and go, for working on my own and that is something I will always take the grave. I could barely believe it when Herb Elliott, was praising me! Apart from a stunning athletics career, this is the man who was CEO of Puma, North America.

This was a once in a lifetime experience and something I will never forget. This is why you work in Sports Marketing.

I hope everyone has the chance to meet someone they have looked up to. And I hope their experience is as memorable as mine.

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