Born in England and raised in Australia, Oliver Goss will be making his first Masters Tournament appearance this year, by virtue of his runner-up finish in the 2013 U.S. Amateur. But the trip to Augusta is not be an arduous one, for the lanky long-hitter is currently studying at the University of Tennessee and playing on the Volunteer golf squad. He has spent the past couple of years near the top of the World Amateur Golf Ranking and produced several strong performances, winning the Western Australia Amateur as well as the third college tournament he ever entered and finishing in the top 10 of the Asia-Pacific Amateur the past two years. He will turn 20 on April 12 (third round of the Masters), and he has agreed to share his thoughts with Masters.com’s John Steinbreder.
I made another trip to Augusta National in mid-March, to play a few practice rounds, and this time the weather cooperated. I played 27 holes one day, and 18 the next, and it really helped me out. I hit a lot of different shots that first day, and then I played a proper round on the second one, holing every putt. It gave me a good feel for things.
Once again, I used a caddie from the club, Brian Tam, and he is going to be my caddie for the tournament. He carried for me during my first visit to Augusta National, and he gave me some really good reads on the greens. He saw things that I did not, and I holed some good putts as a result. I’m happy that Brian is going to be on my bag.
What I have tried to do more than anything else during my visits is develop a game plan for each hole, and an understanding for how it is going to play once the tournament starts. On No. 11, for example, I know that it is definitely a driver hole, and typically a 5- or 6-iron coming into the green. It’s an interesting green with two different grains, and the best place to leave your approach is middle-right. As for those mounds to the right of the putting surface, they are not a bad bailout area, but I know that any balls hit into them can sometimes kick into the water guarding the green on the left.
The 15th is another hole I have learned a lot about. If I cannot get there in two, then I need to lay up on the left side of the fairway, so I am hitting back into the grain of the green, which will make it easier to stop the ball.
With my hole-by-hole game plan intact, it will then be a question of executing, and also being comfortable playing in front of the crowd. That’s one thing I am going to work on when I get to Augusta, getting used to the crowds when I am playing my practice rounds, and getting comfortable with them.
And speaking of practice rounds, I have arranged a game on Tuesday of Masters Week with Adam Scott, which is going to be great.
Right now, my plan is to arrive in Augusta on Friday before the Masters begins and play practice rounds on Saturday and Sunday. My teammates at Tennessee are playing in a college tournament at Augusta State that weekend, so I am going to go over to the tournament site, Forest Hills Golf Club, to support them Saturday afternoon. It’s a tournament that I’d be competing in if I was not playing in the Masters. But as much as I will miss being a part of that, there’s no question about what I’d rather be doing.
Time has gone by so fast since I played in the finals of the U.S. Amateur. I can’t believe that it’s almost time for the Masters.