This weekend will mark the 81st playing of the Masters tournament at Augusta National Country Club in Augusta, Ga. If you have never had the opportunity to attend, I can attest to the fact that it is an aesthetic pleasure unlike any other. Three golfers who have strong ties to our state will be competing in this major championship.
Defending champion Danny Willett attended college at Jacksonville State University. He was on All-Ohio Valley Conference player for the Gamecocks in 2006 and 2007. Originally from Yorkshire, England, Willett became only the second Englishman to win the Masters last year when he captured the title by an impressive three strokes.
This could be the week that Justin Thomas gets his first major. He played college golf at Alabama before turning professional in 2013. Thomas has quickly become one of the hottest young stars on the PGA Tour. In an amazing feat, he set the record for the lowest four rounds in PGA Tour history when he fired a 253 in January at the Sony Open. He has won four PGA Tour events and tied for 39th in last year’s Masters. During his time at Alabama, he was named National Player of the Year and National Freshman of the Year.
Former Auburn player Jason Dufner is also looking to break through and win this year’s Masters. He has played in six total Masters, including the previous five. His highest finish was in 2013, when he tied for 20th. If Dufner isn’t playing golf on a fall Saturday, there is a good chance you’ll find him at Jordan-Hare Stadium. He is a huge fan of his alma mater’s football team.
If you enjoy watching golf, this is the week for you. And if you want to root for a home state guy, those are three great candidates.