Gordon Sherry has revealed how a blunder by the Scottish Golf Union hindered his preparations for his Masters debut in 1996.
It’s a quarter of a century since the big Scot played in the opening men’s major of the season, having won the Amateur Championship at Royal Liverpool the previous summer.
One of the brightest amateur talents in the game at the time, Kilmarnock man Sherry sadly failed to advance beyond the first two rounds of the tournament on what proved to be his one and only trip to Augusta National as a player.
However, reliving that week in the latest edition of bunkered (issue 183), he revealed that his preparation might have been a lot different had it not been for a frustrating administrative error made by the SGU – now Scottish Golf – which only came to light on the eve of the tournament.
On the Wednesday evening, Sherry attended a dinner hosted by Augusta National Golf Club for the amateurs in the field.
“Sitting between [me and Tiger Woods] was the club chairman, Mr Stephens,” he explained. “Over dinner, he asked me why I hadn’t made a visit to practice at Augusta before that week. I said, ‘I didn’t know I was allowed.’ He said, ‘No, we told the Scottish Golf Union that you could come any time you wanted.’
“That message was never passed on to me.
“Never mind me being angry, he was angry. I could see it in his eyes. Obviously, if I’d been given the message, I would have been there. No question. It was really disappointing.”
Sherry, who had travelled to America the previous week and spent much of the build-up practicing at the Golf Club of Georgia in Atlanta, ultimately carded rounds of 78 and 77 to miss the cut.
For a variety of reasons, his pro career never quite got going and, as a result, his subsequent visits to Augusta National have been in a non-competitive capacity.
Still, he has many fond memories of that week, including playing practice rounds with Sam Torrance, Ian Woosnam, Frank Nobilo and Tom Watson, not to mention a hilarious incident when he attended the international players’ dinner on the Monday night.
“It’s just such a special place,” he added. “It’s fascinating, a place we all feel like we know so well, but not many of us will ever get to see in person and fewer still will get to play. Then you’ve got all of the traditions. It’s one of those places you never want to leave. I’ve been back a few times since 1996 and it doesn’t get any less magical.”
Read the full interview with Gordon Sherry in issue 183 of bunkered, on-sale now from all good newsagents. Want to subscribe? Click here. International subscriptions available.