In the run-up to this week’s Masters, 2008 champion Trevor Immelman joined Brendan Porath on the Shotgun Start podcast and shared some memories from the many years he’s spent at Augusta National. Now serving on the CBS broadcast team, Immelman talks about how the course has changed over the years in response to advances in equipment, spills some details from behind the scenes at the Champions Dinner, and goes through his final round in 2008 with Tiger Woods on his heels.

The highlight of the episode, however, comes from before Immelman’s time at Augusta. He shares a story told to him by fellow countryman and three-time Masters champion, Gary Player:

“Gary said one of the years there, the mid to early 70s, the grass was a little longer [on the fairways] than what they were used to. The greens were incredibly firm, and what the guys were finding in the practice rounds was [that] it was tough to control distance because every now and then you’d get a little jumper out of the fairway. Even though these guys are the best in the world, they couldn’t find a way to get the ball close to the hole.

“On Tuesday, him and Jack and Arnie were having a chat, and [said] maybe we could get them to lower the heights on the fairways so we could get some more spin on the approach shots. So Jack and Arnie are like, ‘Okay, Gary, Clifford Roberts’—who was the chairman at the time—‘he loves you, and so you should go and have a word with him about this.’ So Gary goes to the secretary and gets an appointment to see him later that day.

“And so Gary goes in there, he’s won there already, so he goes in there as a champion, and he says, you know, you could feel the temperature in the room as you walk in. It was kind of like going to the headmaster.”

Listen below to find out how that meeting with Clifford Roberts went for Player:

And subscribe to the Shotgun Start Podcast for three-a-week episodes on a variety of topics (usually) related to golf and (ideally) relevant to the day.

More Masters coverage from The Fried Egg team:

Is Augusta National Turning Over a New Leaf?

Geoff Ogilvy’s notes on all 18 at Augusta National

Stories worth your time and tracking at the 2022 Masters

The Art Behind Augusta’s Roars: Focal points in Alister MacKenzie’s routings

Tiger’s Masters flirtation is something more than ceremonial

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