Coaches series: Gus Malzahn looks back on his time at Augusta National

Auburn head coach Gus Malzahn

 

2013 will forever be the season of miracles for Gus Malzahn.

A Hail Mary – coined “The Prayer at Jordan-Hare” – to topple Georgia. A missed field goal returned 109 yards for a touchdown to beat rival Alabama. A 59-42 drumming of Missouri in the Southeastern Conference title game.

But Malzahn’s memories from that year didn’t end on the gridiron.

2013 was also the first time I played Augusta National,” he said. “I’m out there thinking to myself, ‘This is unbelievable. This is absolutely unbelievable.’

The highlight of his round was a birdie on No. 12, but not far behind was a chance encounter with Ole Miss coach Hugh Freeze. While Malzahn was walking up No. 14, he spotted his SEC West counterpart playing Amen Corner.

“It was a very surreal moment,” Malzahn said. “It was one of those things like, ‘Can you believe
we’re out here playing Augusta National?’ I’ll never forget that.”

Added Freeze: “I hit one into the right trees on No. 13 and Gus was in the trees on No. 14. We kind of looked at each other and I said, ‘How about this? Two high school football coaches now playing at Augusta.’

Malzahn has played Augusta National again since 2013 and says his best round is 82 from the member tees.

“Better than what Hugh shot,” said Malzahn, laughing.

In addition to playing the course, Malzahn attends the tourna­ment each year. In 2015, Malzahn brought Auburn assistant coach Travaris Robinson (now the defensive coordinator at South Carolina) and the two spent the majority of Sunday’s final round following Jason Dufner.

This year, Auburn’s spring football game, A-Day, falls on Masters Saturday, but Malzahn made it clear that it won’t affect his plans on returning to Augusta National Golf Club.

“You better believe I’ll be there Sunday,” he said. “No chance
I’m missing Sunday at Augusta.”

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