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On Monday, April 10, 2023, a matter of hours after Jon Rahm won The Masters, our man Michael McEwan lived every golfer’s dream when he pegged it up at Augusta National.

Michael’s name was one of only a handful drawn in the media lottery, entitling him to 18 holes on the iconic Georgia course, as well as the chance to hits balls on the range, browse the clubhouse, shop in the pro shop, and change in the champions’ locker room.

Not bad, right?

He has spoken at length about the experience on this episode of The bunkered Podcast but didn’t have time to answer all the questions our social media followers asked him.

So, here’s the next best thing. You asked, he answered.

Fore, please!

Did you play tournament tees or gents tees? – David Dalton (@thediddlerDD) 

The members tees, thank God. Give me a 6,350-yard par-72 over a 7,545-yard par-67 any day… 

Where were you most nervous? First tee? Or something else? – Chris Roberts 

The first tee was definitely nerve-wracking – not least because several Augusta National staff were standing there watching – but nothing compared to standing over the ball on the 12th. Aside from it being so completely iconic, do you really want the only story you’ll probably ever tell about that hole to start with ‘So, I put it in the water…’? 

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What clubs did you use? Assume you didn’t take your own? – Steve Morgan 

Take my own?! That, sir, is how you jinx things. After my name got pulled, I hit the phones to try and find a rental set I could use. I was struggling (and starting to panic slightly) until Wayne Ackerson, the head pro the River Golf Club in North Augusta, about 20 minutes away, came to my rescue. He rented me a full set of Callaways (Epic Speed woods, Mavrik irons, Jaws wedges and an Odyssey putter) for just $35. If I had a Christmas card list, he’d be on it. His course looks mint, too. 

How many pencils and tees did you pick up form the starter? – Kevin McHugh 

Ha! They don’t leave any lying round for you to just help yourself to. Instead, they give you one card and one pencil. They’re not daft. 


Did you get chance to go in the winners’ room? – Anthony Phillips 

You’re talking about the champions’ locker room, right? If so, the answer is yes. It’s tiny – probably about three-quarters the size of one half of a tennis court – but it’s magnificent. Basic, yes, but utterly atmospheric. Fun fact: all media are randomly assigned a locker to use for the day. I was given Seve’s. <insert heart emoji here> 

Did your ‘favourite’ hole on the course change after getting to play it? – Steve Hewitt 

That’s a brilliant question. The answer is probably not. I’ve always loved 12, for obvious reasons, and 16, for similarly obvious reasons. They’re still my favourites. What I would say, however, is that other holes have gone up in my estimation. Fourteen, for example. I’d always thought of it – probably unfairly – as being a bit like an ad break in the middle of an amazing movie. I was so wrong. It’s a seriously underrated hole.  

How did you feel when the rain was chucking down on Saturday and there was some chat of playing the fourth round on Monday? – Andy Niven (@AndyNiven_) 

Not good, Andy. Not good at all. The irony wasn’t lost on me that the last Monday finish at Augusta occurred ten months before I was born, so the prospect of such a delay happening in the year I got picked from the media lottery felt equal parts cruel and inevitable. In my head, I had even written the first few paragraphs of a “How my Augusta dream turned into a nightmare” piece. When conditions improved on Sunday, it became clear the only threat to my round was an extended playoff and, for a while, that wasn’t out of the question. Genuinely, it was only when Rahm took off his baseball cap walking to the 18th green that I finally relaxed.  

• 9 things Jon Rahm gets for winning The Masters

When were you more nervous? First tee at St Andrews or first tee at Augusta? – Ben Simister (@BenSimister5) 

Oh, St Andrews, without a doubt. Missing the world’s widest fairway, invariably with a lot of people watching, is not something anybody wants to be known for. ANGC brings its own pressure but the first on the Old Course is world-famous for its history, which Augusta’s isn’t.  

The Old Course or Augusta National – what is more meaningful to play for a golfer? – @simondoesgolf 

Again, the Old Course. It’s the oldest track on the planet and the home of golf. It’s unique. That’s why golfers flock to it in their tens of thousands, from every corner of the globe, each and every year. Augusta? Augusta is undoubtedly special but in a very different way. A tee time there is a rare privilege, not to mention a monumental treat. But a tee time at the Old Course is essential.  

Favorite shot you hit? – Bryan McCrory (@Bmc26Bryan) 

Can I have two? One, my tee shot on 12. I hammered a 7-iron right over the top of the flag. It ended up being a little big but the sight of the ball sailing on that line in mid-air knowing that I’d (a) not shanked it and (b) cleared the creek was extremely satisfying. Two, my second on eight. The wind was blowing right into us and it’s exhaustingly uphill. I hit a good drive which I followed up with a hybrid out of the screws off an uphill lie that I whipped around the corner. It came up just short of the green but if I could bottle that contact, I’d take a swig with breakfast every morning.  

Augusta National 11th and 12th

How many times did you four-putt? – Paul Munro 

Not once. And that’s God’s honest truth. But that has nothing to do with me and everything to do with my caddie, the one and only ‘No Pin’ Glen. Not all heroes wear capes. Some wear white overalls. 

How different did some of the holes look from the middle of the fairway even from what you had as media access? – Ross Cardno (@rcardno) 

Well, we don’t get any special media access. No ‘inside the ropes’ or anything like that. The one hole that was particularly different from how I’d pictured it in my mind’s eye was 11. Not off the tee so much, but when you get up to the crest of the hill. The green is just suddenly right there and, Holy Fuzzy Zoeller, it’s intimidatingly small.  

• 5 big names who missed The Masters cut

What did you hit into 4/6/12/16? – Sumner Haney (@SumnerHaney1) 

Four, 4-iron, long. Six, 5-iron, miss right. Twelve, 7-iron, long. Sixteen, 7-iron, back-right edge. Absolute flusher. 

I’ve heard it’s hilly? – Tom Reid (@tomreid16) 

You’ve heard correctly. 

Did you putt the ball off the green on 9? – Michael Munro  

No. Although it wasn’t for the lack of trying… 

How much did you spend in the pro shop? – Daler_Railer (@DalerRailer) 

My wife might read this, so, officially, I didn’t spend a penny. Unofficially, it rhymes with bun-hundred-and-sixty-five dollars. 

Are the greens as mental as we are told every year? – Andrew Hunter (@andrewjhunter) 

Not sure about ‘mental’ but they are undoubtedly tough. Fast, slick and harder to read than Finnegans Wake. On the fifth hole, I was about 25 feet from the flag and my caddie asked me to tell him what I saw. I had it around 60% weight and a little right to left. Turns out it was 110% weight and left to right. Because of the grain, some downhill putts felt slow, whilst some uphill putts seemed fast. It’s the golf course equivalent of Only Connect. 

Is it the hardest course you have played? Or does the sense of occasion make it harder? – @roadknightsday 

Oh, it’s absolutely not the hardest course I’ve played. That dubious distinction belongs to the formidable Stadium Course at Bro Hof Slott near Stockholm. That said, any time you play a place with a ‘reputation’, intangibles definitely contribute to the challenge. It’s a par-72 on the card but, if you account for the ‘aura’, it’s probably a par-74. 

Was it everything you hoped it would be? – Greig Anderson (@_GreigAnderson) 

Let me put it this way. I boarded a flight out of Atlanta bound for Heathrow six hours after I walked off the 18th green. Had it been cancelled, it wouldn’t have been an issue. I reckon I could have glided across the Atlantic no bother.  

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