Born in England and raised in Australia, Oliver Goss will be making his first Masters Tournament appearance this year, by virtue of his runner-up finish in the 2013 U.S. Amateur. But the trip to Augusta next month will not be an arduous one, for the lanky long-hitter is currently studying at the University of Tennessee and playing on the Volunteer golf squad. He has spent the past couple of years near the top of the World Amateur Golf Ranking and produced several strong performances, winning the Western Australia Amateur as well as the third college tournament he ever entered and finishing in the top 10 of the Asia-Pacific Amateur the past two years. He will turn 20 on April 12 (third round of the Masters), and he has agreed to share his thoughts with Masters.com’s John Steinbreder.
Of course, I am very excited about playing in the Masters Tournament and being on the course and at the Club the entire week. Every little kid who has ever picked up a golf club has holed putts that in his mind won the Masters, and I think it will be an unbelievable experience.
I have only been to the Masters once before, and that was last year, for the practice round on Monday. My teammates from Tennessee and I had been playing in a college tournament at Augusta State, and we all got badges for the day. And it was something else. I remember looking at players going off the first tee with hundreds and hundreds of people watching and saying to my mates that I didn’t know if I could ever hit that shot given how nervous I would be in that spot. Well, I will be soon doing that, and I cannot wait.
There will be a lot of pressure, to be sure. But I think it will also be a lot of fun. And the fact is, I actually like playing in front of crowds. They inspire me and make me want to play well as they also keep me calm. I feel like I cannot do anything silly or stupid in front of so many people, so I think through my shots a bit more carefully.
I was able to play Augusta National for the first time at the end of last November, and it was so different being on the grounds at that time. It was dead quiet, without all the people and the scoreboards, and I could not get over how peaceful and still it was. I don’t think there were more than three or foursomes on the course the whole day. I played two rounds, just a caddie and me, and it was freezing cold, which made the course play really long. But I was still able to get a good sense of the layout and the things I will need to do during the Masters. Everyone talks about the greens at Augusta, but what I found most interesting from that first visit was the approach shots and how important it was to know where I can and cannot miss.
I was all set to play Augusta a second time this winter, in February, but I arrived just after that really bad snow and ice storm had hit the area. The course was closed for several days, and I could not play at all. So, I spent a bunch of time practicing at the facilities at Augusta State with my coach, who had flown all the way in from Australia.
I was sorry that visit did not work out, but I will be playing a lot this winter and spring, so my game should be in pretty good shape when I get to Augusta. I will be practicing a lot at Tennessee and playing in some tournaments. My plan at this point is to get to Augusta the weekend before the Masters starts. I’ll play and practice those two days, but then I will tone things down a bit so I can come out firing on Thursday when the Tournament starts. I hear stories all the time about guys being so excited to be playing in the Masters that they wear themselves out during the week. But I want to be sure that I am not too tired when it is time to compete.