Q&A with Doug Ghim on his experience at the 2018 Masters
April 08, 2019
By Adam Stanley, PGATOUR.COM
- Doug Ghim earned Low Amateur honors at last year's Masters, making three eagles in the process. (Jamie Squire/Getty Images)
As low amateur at the 2018 Masters, Doug Ghim has a lifetime’s worth of memories from his week at Augusta National – with his father as his caddie, no less – along with a couple of prized possessions courtesy the most iconic golf club in the world.
But for Ghim a year ago, his career was just barely getting started.
The University of Texas alum turned professional prior to the 2018 Travelers Championship and rode a 7-under-par 65 in the final round of Final Stage at Web.com Tour Q-School to finish tied for third.
A decorated member of the University of Texas’ golf team, he won the 2018 Ben Hogan Award as the best male collegiate golfer.
Ghim sits 30th on The 25 so far through early 2019 having missed just one cut. He’s also played four events on the PGA TOUR, with a top finish of a T-20 at the Farmers Insurance Open.
But this week Ghim reflects fondly on the week-that-was at the Masters a year ago.
He spent a few minutes with PGA TOUR Digital telling stories of his debut at Augusta National.
You’ve moved to Las Vegas and live with fellow Web.com Tour member Maverick McNealy, but after making the three eagles at the Masters last year – and winning the crystal goblets – did they come to the new house?
No, Chicago is still home. That’s where I came from so I kept (them) there, I just didn’t want (them) to get wrecked.
What was it like the first time you played Augusta National?
The first time I got to play with my (college) teammates. We made a team trip to Augusta and I got a taste of it, but I knew every single hole like the back of my hand as far as I could know how they played and who hit what shot on what hole. It was really crazy for me. Obviously I enjoyed every second of it. It was a lot of fun.
But when I got to tournament week and saw everything, it was an emotional experience for sure. Just to feel what it was like to be out there in the most coveted event of the year, really, in our sport. It was an incredible rush. It plays a lot different than it does in February. It was a lot of fun for me to actually get a taste and it satisfied the curiosity of what it would be like during tournament week but it also, at the same time, it fueled a greater hunger to be back.
How did your practice round with Jordan Spieth come to be?
I played nine holes with Jordan Spieth and Patton Kizzire. I played with Martin Kaymer, Dylan Frittelli, and Si Woo Kim. I had talked to (Jordan) a couple times in Texas and we got to talking about the Masters. He told me ‘congratulations’ for earning my spot and Coach (John) Fields was with me, so he asked Jordan if it was cool to show me around the place. And he said ‘I would love to.’ We got to talking together and Coach Fields helped organizing the whole thing and I played nine holes with Jordan.
Did you eat any of the famous items from the concession stand?
I ate mostly in the caddie house, to be honest. It was a lot of fun to be in the caddie house because it’s a little more casual than the rest of the property. There’s a lot going on and you feel a little like you’re walking on glass on the property. The caddie house was more casual, even the food. It was good, southern cooking like fried chicken and mashed potatoes. For me, I felt more comfortable in that environment. Surprisingly a lot of players and their families decided to do the same. Jordan was there pretty much all the time, Rickie Fowler … the guys were there hanging out.
As a spectator I have been to the concessions stand and it’s amazing – the costs and stuff are amazing. It’s pretty good.
Your dad was your caddie that week. How would you sum up your time together?
It was a cool experience definitely for me, but I feel like it was an even greater experience for my dad. He got me started in the game and as much as we’ve hit our goals to be there, it was pretty crazy to actually be there. It was gratifying for him, even more than for me. I truly enjoyed how happy he was to be there and happy he was to see me playing in the event.
I can’t even express how that week was for us. It’s one thing to be there, but to have certain moments out there that I got to have was truly something I could have never have dreamed of. I’m truly grateful for the opportunity and blessed to have as many great moments as I had that week.
As is tradition at Augusta National for the amateurs, you got to stay in the Crow’s Nest. Any funny stories from up there?
We were watching the National Championship final in basketball on TV with the rest of the guys, and there was this tiny TV. We spent half an hour trying to figure out how to turn it on to the right channel. We had no idea what channel it was on. We were all huddled in trying to watch the game. The TV was so small we couldn’t even see the score. Matt (Parziale, who won the 2017 U.S. Mid-Amateur) would walk up to the front of the room and (announce the score) so it was a lot of fun to be in there. It’s actually really cold up there. It’s hard to get through into it. There’s a hallway through the champions’ locker room, but I never really liked to go through the champions’ locker room. I just felt like that was not somewhere I should be. So you have to go around, and you kind of go around the kitchen through this alleyway. It was hard to get to, and it was cold up there, but it’s like hallowed grounds. Some of the best players in the world never got to stay up there. It puts everything into perspective, how much of a privilege it is to be up there and compete as an amateur. It was truly special to me. When I lost (U.S. Amateur Public Links) I realized how significant that was – the opportunity to play the Masters as an amateur. I never thought I’d really get another chance at it, but to be staying up there was definitely something extremely gratifying.
Did you buy anything from the gift shop?
I went off in the pro shop. I think I bought like $600 worth of hats alone. I got pretty much every Augusta National hat you could think of. I still wear them to this day. I bought a lot of stuff, but the silver cup and the eagle goblets were awesome to bring home because they were the only things I brought home from Augusta that I didn’t have to pay for, so that was nice.
Another tradition at Augusta National is the amateur’s dinner. How was that experience for you?
It was awesome. I didn’t know what to expect, I didn’t know how many people would be there … I didn’t expect that many people there who showed up. There was close to 100 people. Mr. (Nick) Price was there because he was newly added to the board with the USGA. Mr. (Mike) Davis from the USGA was also there. Just to talk to all these people and the members at Augusta National it was quite an experience. Again, it’s awesome to be there as an amateur and it was cool to have a dinner dedicated to us and all we had accomplished to that point. It couldn’t have been more fun.Doug Ghim (R) is presented with the Low-Amateur trophy by Chairman of Augusta National Golf Club Fred Ridley (L). (David Cannon/Getty Images)