27 Interesting, Illuminating or Just Fun Quotes about The Masters

Crowds watch golfers on the 12th green during the 2018 Masters Tournament

David Cannon/Getty Images

 

Did you hear what that golf star said about The Masters? Or what so-and-so thought of Augusta National? The Masters and Augusta National have inspired a lot of words over the years.

And we've gathered this collection of our favorite quotes about the tournament and the place. Some are insightful, some illuminating, a few funny. So without further ado, let's see who's talking.

 

They Said It

A general view of the 16th green at Augusta National during The Masters Tournament
Andrew Redington/Getty Images

Gary Player:

 

"There is absolutely nothing humorous at The Masters. Here, small dogs do not bark and babies do not cry."

Player would know, having first arrived at Augusta National in 1957. The men in green jackets - the Augusta National members - run a tight ship with complete control over everything during tournament week.

Even the broadcasters and what they say. Why do you think The Masters is the only tournament on TV during the year in which broadcasters refer to fans as "patrons"? Because the Augusta National poobahs tell them that's the way it's going to be.

To be fair, The Masters has loosened up a bit in recent years. Augusta has, among other things, admitted its first female members and hosts the adorable Drive, Chip and Putt Championship for kids.

But during tournament week, you'd best obey the rules. Remember: No running!

Nick Faldo:
"This is the The Masters. It's got the beauty, it's got the color, it's got the sound and the breezes. Everything together makes this place special."

Alistair Cooke:
"The Masters is more like a vast Edwardian garden party than a golf tournament."

Cooke was a British journalist and television personality, best-known in America as the decades-long host of PBS' Masterpiece Theater. A man who knew his garden parties.

Lee Janzen:
"You get the feeling that Bobby Jones is standing out there with you."

Hale Irwin:
"You start to choke at The Masters when you drive through the front gate."

Said a guy who never won The Masters, so maybe we should believe him. And this takes us to our next category ...

First Time, First Tee Nerves

The group of Adam Scott of Australia, Dustin Johnson of the United States and Amateur Antonio Murdaca of Australia walk off the first tee during the first round of the 2015 Masters Tournament
Golfers and their caddies walk off the first tee at Augusta National during the 2015 Masters. Jamie Squire/Getty Images

Chi Chi Rodriguez:
"The first time I played the Masters, I was so nervous I drank a bottle of rum before I teed off. I shot the happiest 83 of my life."

Chi Chi didn't really shoot 83 in his first Masters round - it was only a 77. But as Chi Chi once said in another context, "I never exaggerate, I just remember big."

Dave Marr:
"At my first Masters, I got the feeling that if I didn't play well, I wouldn't go to heaven."

Marr's first Masters was 1960. He tied for 34th. Hmmm, that might put him in Limbo ...

Roger Maltbie:
"By the time I got to the first tee in my first Masters, I was so scared I could hardly breathe. If you're not a little nervous there, there isn't anything in life that can make you nervous."

Maltbie overcame those nerves just fine: He shot 72 in his first round at Augusta National, and tied for ninth in the 1976 Masters.

Fuzzy Zoeller:
On an approaching tee time for the first hole of The Masters: "The greatest natural laxative in the world."

Oh, that Fuzzy. He's a pistol! We'll hear from him again.

The Augusta National Golf Course

Phil Mickelson of the United States plays a bunker shot on the 12th hole during the third round of the 2015 Masters Tournament
Phil Mickelson plays from the bunker at No. 12 during the 2015 Masters. Ezra Shaw/Getty Images

Hord Hardin, Masters chairman:
"We could make the greens so slick we'd have to furnish ice skates on the first tee."

Gary McCord:
"At Augusta National they bikini wax the greens."

McCord's comment is pretty much the same as Hardin's, just more colorfully expressed. But Augusta National took such offense at McCord's remark (and a couple others) that they banned him from future television broadcasts.

Paul Azinger:
"This place always seems to have some kind of a ghost waiting around a pine tree or something for me. I remember all the places I don't want to be."

Azinger had only one Top 10 finish at The Masters.

Jim Furyk:
"I can't think of another course in the world that the more you play, the more you learn."

Gary Player:
"Every shot is within a fraction of disaster. That's what makes it so great."

Keep this quote in mind when you read the final ones on this page of our feature. Augusta National puts pressure on golfers not just to hit good shots, but to do so when the margin of error is very thin.

Gene Sarazen:
"You don't come to Augusta to find your game. You come here because you've got one."

But that doesn't mean you can't find your game at Augusta. Mark O'Meara once said (bonus quote!), "I always get a kick out of the guys who say they're getting their game ready to peak at the majors. I'm not that good. Hey, I went into the Masters with low expectations. Look what happened there." What happened is O'Meara won the 1998 Masters.

:
"If you hit it long and straight and throw it up in the air high and putt well, you'll do well here. That's always been the formula at this golf course, and I don't think that it's changed."

Well, sure, Jack - if you do those things well, you'll play great golf at Augusta! No coincidence that Nicklaus, the greatest ever at the Masters, did all those things remarkably well. Not every Masters champion fits that profile, but many do.

Tommy Tolles:
"This is probably the only golf course I have spent a week on and never felt comfortable over a shot. I was off-guard all week."

Bobby Jones:
"We want to make bogeys easy if frankly sought, pars readily obtainable by standard good play, and birdies - except on par-5s - dearly bought."

This is what Jones said about the golf course during opening ceremonies in the early 1930s. It's a mark of how great a job Jones and Alister Mackenzie did designing Augusta that these goals are still being met today.

Losing the Masters

Angel Cabrera of Argentina reacts after missing a birdie putt on the second sudden death playoff hole before losing to Adam Scott of Australia in final round of the 2013 Masters Tournament
Angel Cabrera flips his putter in the air after missing a birdie putting during a playoff at the 2013 Masters (Cabrera lost to Adam Scott). Mike Ehrmann/Getty Images

David Duval:
"Finishing second at The Masters was like getting kicked in the head."

It happened to Duval twice: In 1998, when he tied for second one stroke behind Mark O'Meara; and in 2001, when he was two behind Tiger Woods.

Seve Ballesteros:
When asked by reporters what happened when he 4-putted from 15 feet on the 16th hole at the 1988 Masters: "I miss, I miss, I miss, I make."

Roberto De Vicenzo:
"What a stupid I am."

Those were De Vicenzo's immortal words after signing an incorrect scorecard at the 1968 Masters, the penalty for which kept him out of a playoff against Bob Goalby (who got the solo win as a result). Less known is something else De Vicenzo said later that evening at a dinner: "Maybe you think I'm a stupid Argentine, but you spell my name wrong on the seating plan, the place cards and the menu - and different each time."

Tom Weiskopf:
"If I knew what was going through Jack Nicklaus' head, I would have won this golf tournament."

He didn't. This comment was made on live television as Weiskopf was broadcasting during the 1986 Masters. Weiskopf did finish runner-up a record-tying four times (twice to Nicklaus), however, but ... see Duval's quote above. Perhaps that explains why Weiskopf also once claimed that "... in my hometown of Columbus, Ohio, alone there are four courses as good as Augusta."

Spoiler alert: There aren't. But that's OK! The Masters and Augusta National are not churches or natural wonders, they are highly manufactured entities. It's OK to be critical. Really, it is.

Peter Thomson:
"The Masters has been mostly lost by someone leading before it is won."

Five-time British Open champ Thomson is another golfer who's been critical of Augusta National at times. A highly regarded course designer himself, he once said, "A golf course should be a bit wild, at least in some corners. A weed now and again would be a great relief."

But he's also written with great appreciation about Augusta National and the design choices made by Mackenzie and Jones. And his comment here is very insightful about winning and losing at The Masters. "The Masters doesn't begin until the back nine on Sunday," is a popular, if erroneous, saying. Consider Thomson's take, though: Think of all the guys who've had the lead late, or been near it, only to plunk a ball in the water at No. 12 or No. 15, or made some other fatal mistake.

It's that excitement generated by the razor's-edge nature of the golf course and the final-round pressure that Thomson is talking about, and that gets to those "someones" who lose it before the champion wins it.

Winning the Masters

Adam Scott of Australia celebrates after Scott makes a birdie putt on the second sudden death playoff hole to defeat Angel Cabrera of Argentina to win the 2013 Masters Tournament
Yep, winning The Masters has the effect on you. (Pictured: Adam Scott in 2013.). Harry How/Getty Images

Phil Mickelson:
"The winner of this tournament doesn't just win a major, he becomes part of the history of the game, and that's what excites me. This tournament creates something that is very special, and year in, year out, history is made here."

Jimmy Demaret:
Asked to comment on the bridges at Augusta National named after champions Ben Hogan, Byron Nelson and Gene Sarazen: "Hey, I won three times and I never even got an outhouse."

Demaret was the Masters' first three-time champ; he won it in 1940, 1947 and 1950.

John Daly:
"I've heard the winner of the Masters hosts the dinner. If I ever won it, there would be no suits, no ties and McDonald's."

Daly never got the chance to serve McDonald's at the Champions Dinner but, truth be told, he wouldn't have been allowed to do so anyway. The defending champ selects the menu, but the food is created by the kitchen of the Augusta National dining room.

At the 1998 Champions Dinner, though, Tiger Woods served a meal that Daly would have loved: cheeseburgers and milkshakes. (See more Champions Dinner menus.)

Fuzzy Zoeller:
"I've never been to heaven and thinking back on my life I probably won't get the chance to go. I guess winning the Masters is as close as I'm going to get."

We have no comment on Fuzzy's odds of getting into heaven (we hear his vodka is pretty good, though). But Fuzzy will always be a Masters champ. He won it his first time at Augusta, 1979. Zoeller is the last golfer to win The Masters in his rookie attempt, and one of just three overall (Horton Smith, in the first Masters played, and Gene Sarazen, in 1935, are the other two).