AUGUSTA, Ga. – That rumble you hear is the roll of Australians into Augusta National Golf Club. Good times are here for the mates. Aussie. Aussie. Aussie. Oi. Oi. Oi.
That’s the defending champion over there, Adam Scott, and should his thumb be OK, it’s hard to envision a more likely contender than Jason Day. And the guy who finished in a share of fourth last year was Marc Leishman.
All of which is not to ignore the more current storyline, that of 2013-14 winners. John Senden at the Valspar. Steven Bowditch at the Valero. Matt Jones at the Shell. Three triumphs in four weeks.
Justifiably proud, the Aussies are smiling radiantly as they drive down Magnolia Lane, though perhaps none of them are as thrilled as Oliver Goss.
That’s right, the 19-year-old from Perth might be the proudest of the seven Aussies who are in the field at the 2014 Masters. Heck, he doesn’t even care if the patrons really know who he is.
“People thought I was Matt Jones,” said Goss, who earned his spot into this major by finishing as runner-up to Matt Fitzpatrick in last summer’s U.S. Amateur at The Country Club in Brookline, Mass.
One of six amateurs in the field, the University of Tennessee sophomore has soaked in the entire atmosphere, hardly in fear of the daunting challenge. Touring Augusta National with a hero of sorts, Scott, Tuesday afternoon, Goss witnessed pure golf brilliance. “He’s in control of his game,” said Goss. “He’s at another level above world-class,” so the young man has a good feel for where his place truly is this week.
It will be filed under “gaining experience” and “having fun” when he goes off at 12:31 p.m. Thursday with Trevor Immelman and Graham DeLaet.
“I’m just trying to concentrate on this week,” said Goss, when asked if he had formulated any sort of future plans. He also has a spot in the U.S. Open, but after that “the summer is uncertain.”
Goss looked forward to this Augusta trip the minute he earned his spot in the championship match of the U.S. Amateur. He made his first visit here in November and made two trips after January 1, though one of them came during the vicious ice storm that ravaged the area and felled the Eisenhower Tree. Needless to say, Goss didn’t play Augusta National on that visit, which meant he was relegated to other duties.
“Homework,” he said, with a smile.
With the weather much improved, Goss has gotten in several days of work this week, including rounds with both Day and Scott. He also got a chance to catch up with Fitzpatrick at the annual amateur dinner.
“He’s a nice guy and a really nice player,” said Goss.