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Ryan Moore positive despite having history against him

By: | Thu 10 Apr 2014 | Comments

Post by Sports Writer Derek Clements

RYAN MOORE will start The Masters knowing that history is against him donning the Green Jacket on Sunday. Moore won the par three contest and no golfer who did that has ever gone on to win the tournament.

Since the pre-tournament contest started in 1960, nobody has ever become par-three and Masters champion in the same week, a fact which sometimes sees players deliberately not shoot the best score possible.

That was not the case for Moore however, who made six birdies and missed short putts for three others to finish two ahead of Kevin Stadler and 1979 champion Fuzzy Zoeller.

Asked about the “curse”, Moore - whose best finish in five Masters appearances was a tie for 13th in 2005 - said: “I’m not afraid of it. You never know. Someone has got to break that curse at some point in time, so hopefully it’s me.
“It was fun having my boy out there and playing a round with a couple of friends. That’s what it’s for, to kind of make you relax a little bit and just go and enjoy yourself the afternoon before.”

Most players treat it as light relief and invite family or friends to act as their caddies, including Jack Nicklaus, Arnold Palmer and Gary Player, who were back together to hit ceremonial drives as honorary starters for the tournament proper at 7.40 local time today.

Former Open champion Stewart Cink and South African Tim Clark made up the first competitive group five minutes later, with defending champion Adam Scott starting his bid for back-to-back titles at 10.41 alongside Jason Dufner and England’s 19-year-old US Amateur champion Matt Fitzpatrick.

Tournament favourite Rory McIlroy was in the group behind Scott along with young American duo Jordan Spieth and Patrick Reed, who were among the 24 rookies in the 97-strong field.

While the other 96 players were competing in The Masters, Stephen Gallacher was competing in the "North Georgia Open". He is making his debut at Augusta National after climbing into the world’s top 50 on the back of successfully defending his Dubai Desert Classic title earlier this year.

And the 39-year-old Scot was given some interesting advice by putting coach Dave Stockton on how to cope with the pressure of playing in the year’s first major championship.

“I was with him yesterday and he said remember it’s just the North Georgia Open. Aye right, thanks Dave,” Gallacher joked. “But he’s right, you do have to try to treat it the same as any other tournament and try not to over-prepare because you know it’s going to be a tough week, both mentally and physically.

“I’ve played four sets of nine holes with a couple of past champions (Jose Maria Olazabal and Sandy Lyle) so I can’t do much more really to prepare. “I played with Ollie and Miguel (Angel Jimenez) on Tuesday. Miguel has played 14 Masters and Ollie has obviously won it twice and played with Seve (Ballesteros) all his days so it was great to get a couple of good insights.

“The biggest advice I got was that the flag is irrelevant here, it’s a part of the green that you’re trying to hit to and not getting yourself out of position.

“That’s why there’s so much value in playing practice rounds with past champions around here. Jose said the more you play it the more you learn, same as St Andrews was for me.

“The first time I played the Old Course I was thinking what’s happening here because you’re going at flags and ending up 100 feet away. Then you learn that you’ve got to hit it into certain places.

“I don’t have any expectations, not one,” added Gallacher, whose best finish in any major is a share of 18th in the 2010 US PGA Championship. “I’m just going to see what happens and try to stay patient because that is the key around here.

“All you can do is just try to get in contention, set your game plan out and hopefully execute it then see what happens. Thorbjorn Olesen made his debut last year and finished sixth having started with a 78.”

Derek Clements is a sports journalist with a particular passion for golf with over 12 years of experience covering golf and other sports including Chief Sub-Editor on the sports desk of The Sunday Times. To contact Derek email direct via [email protected]

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