There’s a popular theory that David Westin has written more words about the Masters Tournament than any other writer.
That might be true, but the longtime golf writer for The Augusta Chronicle has probably written just as much – if not more – on the area golf scene since joining the newspaper fresh out of the University of Georgia in 1978.
“I used to think of those tournaments as good practice for writing for the Masters,” Westin said. “I would approach the final round of the City Amateur the same as the final round of the Masters. I really enjoyed that local golf.”
Westin was honored Wednesday night at the annual Golf Writers Association of America’s dinner with the Masters Major Achievement Award. The award, a handmade plaque made out of wood from a hickory tree that stood at Augusta National for years, is presented to media members who have covered the tournament for 40 or more years.
Westin is the 25th person to get the award, and he joins legendary sports writers like Dan Jenkins, Ron Green Sr., Art Spander and the late Furman Bisher in receiving the honor.
Augusta National and Masters chairman Fred Ridley recognized Westin at his news conference Wednesday.
“David, we thank you and offer our heartfelt congratulations,” Ridley said.
Westin has covered plenty of sports during his four-decade career in Augusta, but he has become synonymous with coverage of the Masters. His first Masters was Fuzzy Zoeller’s sudden-death playoff win in 1979. By the time Augusta native Larry Mize won in 1987, Westin had worked his way to lead golf writer and was responsible for the "lede," or game story, from each round.
Westin, 62, has seen numerous changes through the years at the Masters, and has worked in three different media centers at the course.
“It’s gotten so much bigger. It’s gotten to a level I never would have believed, just the way it’s run and the importance of it,” Westin said. “For a while it was running neck and neck with the U.S. Open in importance to players, but now the players put the Masters at the top.”
His favorite Masters came in 1986, but not entirely because Jack Nicklaus roared back to win at age 46.
“All the old-time reporters, who rarely leave the media center, were sprinting up to the 18th green because there were press bleachers up there and they could see the historical moment,” Westin said.
Westin is a native of Michigan, but spent time living in Augusta because his father was in the Army. He recalls going to the final round of the 1973 Masters, which finished on a Monday, and skipping school to do so.
“There was no way I was going to school that day,” he said.
Westin chose to pursue a journalism career because he liked sports, liked to read and “kind of liked” to write.
“When I was getting ready to go to college, I put those three things together,” he said. “It sounded like a fun job, and it has been. When you cover golf tournaments, you learn something new every time.”