Mark Richt looks back on his time at Augusta National
Mark Richt’s time at Augusta National Golf Club isn’t extensive. One trip to the Masters Tournament. One round of golf played at the course.
“It was a very special round, though,” Richt said. “Something I’ll never forget.”
In May of 2006, Billy Payne replaced Hootie Johnson as chairman of Augusta National. That month also happened to be when the former University of Georgia head football coach was invited to play – with the freshly minted chairman.
“I played with Billy Payne one of the first days after he was named chairman,” Richt said. “We were playing the course and it seemed like every hole people were coming up and congratulating him. It was a very special experience.”
Richt admits he’s not a great golfer, and said it was a coincidence that he played right after Payne was named chairman.
“That’s the only time I ever played Augusta National,” Richt said. “But that occasion will be hard to top.”
As for the round itself, well, Richt says he’d rather forget most shots. The two-time Southeastern Conference champion at Georgia, and head coach at Miami, didn’t keep score.
“I really felt bad for my caddie,” Richt said. “He was supposed to be helping me read greens and pick clubs, but instead all he did was chase my shots all over the course.”
Richt says Georgia’s annual spring football game, G-Day, often landed on Masters Saturday, which kept him from attending the tournament. Richt said he pulls for UGA alumnus Bubba Watson.
“Man, I love Bubba,” Richt said. “I know he already has a caddie but I’d do anything he wanted me to if I could walk around Augusta National with him. I’d wash his clubs, you name it.”