Steve Spurrier looks back on time at Augusta National
Steve Spurrier didn’t see the ball go in. But as he walked toward the green at the seventh hole of Augusta National Golf Club’s Par-3 Course, three words were written on the ball: Head Ball Coach.
“I tell people I hit a hole-in-one at Augusta and they say, ‘Did you do it on 16? On 12?’” said Spurrier, who resigned as the University of South Carolina’s football coach last year. “I tell them I aced No. 7, and they get all confused thinking I aced a par-4. I let them think about it for a minute, then I’ll admit it was on the Par-3 Course.”
Spurrier first played Augusta National in 1979, while coaching under Pepper Rodgers at Georgia Tech. He shot 79 that day, but also fell in love with what he calls “one of the best places in the world.”
Nearly 30 years after that first trip, Spurrier was playing the Par-3 Course with his son, Steve Spurrier Jr., and friend Chip Prezioso. It was April 4, 2008, and the Head Ball Coach had parred the first five holes of the nine-hole course before suffering a bogey on No. 6.
Walking to No. 7, Spurrier selected an 8-iron for the uphill hole.
“It was 126 yards with a slight wind against us,” Spurrier remembered. “It was getting late in the day and shadows from the pine trees were on the green a little bit. It was hard to see it go in, but one of the guys I was with said, ‘I think that’s in the jar!’”
Former Augusta National Chairman Hootie Johnson was watching nearby as the ball dropped.
“Right after I made it, Hootie said, ‘Let me have that ball – we’re gonna get it fixed up nicely,’” Spurrier said. “And that’s exactly what he did.”
While coaching USC from 2005 to 2015, Spurrier said, he was invited to play Augusta National once a year. Now that he has left the Gamecocks, Spurrier isn’t sure what that means for his playing status.
“I’d like to think I’ll get another invite,” he said.