Neal Shipley talks about his memorable week at the 88th Masters
19 Apr 2024
by Justin Golba of

see also: The Masters Tournament, Augusta National Golf Club, Neal Shipley Rankings

Neal Shipley (Ohio State Athletics Photo)
Neal Shipley (Ohio State Athletics Photo)

Heading into the Masters, it was clear this would be a week that Neal Shipley would never forget.

However, once he saw his pairing for Sunday’s final round, he knew it would be more memorable than he could have imagined. 

The graduate senior at Ohio State was paired with 15-time major champion Tiger Woods for the final round. 

And he wasn’t shy about striking up a conversation with Woods. 

“I definitely started a bunch of conversations with him and asked him about a bunch of different things,” Shipley said. “We just had a lot of fun and had a normal casual round is the best way to describe it.” 

Shipley shot rounds of 71-76-80-73 to finish 12-over and T53. He finished as the low amateur, but that was something that was already set in stone after the other four amateurs missed the cut. Shipley earned a spot in the field by finishing runner-up to Nick Dunlap in the 2023 U.S. Amateur

He made a double bogey on No. 18 to shoot 80 in the third round, a double bogey that, at the end of the day, wasn’t the worst way to finish since it caused the dream pairing. 

Not to mention, with all eyes on him and a gallery three to four people deep on the ropes, Shipley shot a 1-over 73 on one of the toughest courses he has ever played.

“I proved to myself that I could deal with all these extra things and still stay focused on golf,” Shipley said. 

Shipley added, “From the golf side, I think this past week showed that I have the game to compete on (the PGA) Tour, and it just comes down to going out and doing it.”

The U.S. Amateur runner-up shot a first-round 1-under 71 to sit T18 in difficult conditions. He is currently ranked No. 15 in the Golfweek/ World Rankings.

“I putted the ball really, really well,” Shipley said about his first round. “It really helped me out. I made some really good putts for par and got up and down a little bit. That was just a really solid day with the flatstick. I hit the ball pretty solid as well, too. It was a well-rounded approach that helped me get around and post a good score that day.”

Shipley added, “It goes to show, like I said earlier, I have that game. I just have to go out there and do it.”

Neal Shipley is ready to tackle Augusta National for the first time
Neal Shipley earns low amateur honors at the Masters

Augusta National is not only a tough course to play but also one of the toughest courses to walk and get around. Something Shipley was prepared for. 

“I heard from a lot of people that you just have to pace yourself and take care of your body, and I think I did a really good job of doing that all week so that I was in good shape by the time Saturday and Sunday rolled around,” Shipley said.

Shipley was a crowd favorite at the U.S. Amateur this past summer and drew crowds to watch him play. He credits that with giving him the confidence to play in front of a “Tiger crowd.” 

“I didn’t feel really nervous playing in front of that many people,” Shipley said. “It was more about having fun with the crowd and enjoying it all.” 

One takeaway that Shipley had was that he knows his game is good enough to compete, and he doesn't have to be perfect to play with the best.

"I think it's that I am good enough to play with those guys, and I don’t need a special round of golf to compete out there," Shipley said. "I can go out there with my good golf and still compete with these guys."

Even though Shipley was locked into the golf and focused on playing well, he made sure he let himself soak in the moment.

"Walking to the first tee on the first day," Shipley said about a welcome the Masters moment. "I got pretty emotional walking to it, and that was really special." 

Now, the Ohio State standout turns his attention to the Big Ten Championships from April 26 to April 28. 

"This week let me know that my game is in a really good spot right now, and I can compete with anyone in the world, so I am excited about what we have coming up and what is beyond as well," Shipley said.

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