There was an interesting new pop-up feature for registering to compete in this week’s Masters at Augusta National. Call it “Like Father, Like Son.”
In the Stadler family, they both did it. Craig Stadler, 60, and son Kevin, 34, are making history as the first father-son duo to play in the same Masters Tournament.
“It was very cool on Saturday evening registering ... two names next to each other ... that got me a little bit,” Craig Stadler said. “It’s going to be a wonderful week, and I hope he plays really well, and I hope I don’t embarrass myself.”
The elder Stadler, the 1982 Masters champion, has been waiting 32 years for his son to make the Masters field. Kevin, who was 2 when his dad defeated Dan Pohl in a one-hole playoff, said he doesn’t recall much of his first memories of his father at the Masters.
“Probably whacking balls around the house he rented,” Kevin said.
While Craig has played in 37 previous Masters, Kevin is in his first, earning his ticket to Augusta when he won the Waste Management Phoenix Open in February.
“It’s an awesome week,” Craig said. “I’m so proud of the way he’s played. Been close a zillion times and finally got it done, so it’s a very special week. I’m just going to be out there slashing around, trying to make the cut, and he’s going to be trying to win the golf tournament.”
The Stadlers are not unique as the first father-son pair to play in the Masters. In fact, they’re the 12th. But they are the first father and son to play in the same Masters.
What’s more, there are the Masters Tournament brother stats. So far, there have been 27 brothers to play the Masters, including 13 consecutive tournaments with Jay and Lionel Hebert in the field.
But that’s not all. Bill Haas, his father Jay and uncles Jerry and Dillard Pruitt played in the Masters, too.
The Stadlers have experienced some uncomfortable moments as father and son, but they seem to have worked out their problems that arose when Craig divorced Sue Stadler, Kevin’s mother, in 2006. Kevin didn’t offer much of an opinion when asked whether it’s harder or easier to be his father’s son in terms of his golf legacy.
“I don’t give two thoughts to it,” Kevin said. “It’s neither hard or easy. It’s just as easy or hard for me as the next guy. That has nothing to do with it, I don’t think.”
Kevin does own one record by himself: the first descendant of a Masters winner to qualify to play.
“It’s not going to happen again in this generation, so it’s pretty cool,” he said.
Jim Furyk, who is playing in his 18th Masters, realizes how amazing it will be for the Stadlers to tee it up in the same Masters.
“Playing the Masters together, that’s nuts,” he said. “Not many people are ever going to get that opportunity. Pretty cool experience for a father and son.”
It may not happen again, which is another reason it’s something special. Craig Stadler hinted that this might be his last Masters, but he’s not certain.
“But you know, if and when I do, which probably will be this year, bow out, I can’t think of a better way to do it than playing with your son in the same tournament. I mean, it’s awesome.”