Postcard from Augusta: Ghim’s trophy case getting crowded

Doug Ghim won’t win the Masters in his first appearance here, but he sure has made his mark.

By the time he leaves the grounds at the Augusta National Golf Club, the Texas Longhorns senior will take with him parting gifts of the Silver Cup as the low amateur and the only one of the six amateurs to make the cut, at least six crystal glasses for his three — and counting — eagles, and however much memorabilia he “borrowed” from his one-night stay in the Crow’s Nest.

Oh, and he gets invited to the Butler Cabin for the closing ceremonies to be interviewed by Jim Nantz as the best amateur.

“This is the most honorable thing I’ve done as a golfer,” Ghim said after his round of 74 Saturday that included an eagle on the 13th hole. “I’m glad to be bringing some hardware home.”

Chronicling the Masters: Sat in with the staff from our new sister paper, The Augusta Chronicle, and I have to say I was thoroughly impressed with how organized and communicative they all were.

I have always been tremendously impressed with their Masters sections and how thorough and interesting their articles and photographs are. Proud to be in their family. David Westin was honored at the Golf Writers Association of America banquet for 40 years of coverage of the Masters. He does terrific work and answers to the nickname “Ghost,” which was a moniker we often used for the late, great George Breazeale on our staff.

Quote of the day: “I’ve been coming here 68 years,” Dan Jenkins said, “and I’ve never seen a squirrel.”

Football fix: You’re never too far away from a conversation about college football if you’re in the South. Ran into Marty Akins, Sergio Garcia’s father-in-law and a former All-America quarterback at Texas. Akins told me he’s pumped about the direction the UT program is taking.

“I’m very impressed with Coach (Tom) Herman and what he and his staff are doing to make our Longhorns great again,” Akins said. “I believe Coach Herman possesses the necessary recruiting and coaching skills and ability to win national championships. I also believe in my being around Coach Herman that he has what it takes to become as great a coach as my legendary coach, Darrell Royal.”

Was talking to longtime Razorbacks writer Grant Hall, who told me former UT quarterback Jon Aune’s nephew Austin Aune is working as Arkansas’ fourth-string quarterback this spring. Hall said Aune, whose dad, Greg, played golf at Texas, is a 24-year-old former minor league baseball player. … Hall also said he wouldn’t be surprised if Arkansas-Texas A&M returns to a home-and-home series even though their contract to play in Arlington has six years to go.

When it rains: Well, it didn’t come close to pouring. The day started ominously enough with a thick blanket of dark gray clouds, and the forecast was for a strong chance of showers, as high as 90 percent in midafternoon. Ben Crenshaw joked about the times he suffered rain delays during his run to the 1984 Masters title and again in 1989.

“There was not one inch of the course that wasn’t wet,” the two-time champion said Saturday about the ’89 Masters. “It was steady rain the whole day. I could never get a grip. I don’t like playing in the rain. I fiddle with my hands all day long.”

Scott Sayers, Crenshaw’s longtime agent, recalled that Ben’s caddie, Carl Jackson, had thought ahead and stuffed some huge bath towels in his golf bag as a precaution. But when he went to lunch before the tee time, someone stole them out of his bag. “True story,” Sayers said. “Carl swears it.”

Crenshaw led after three rounds but finished in a tie for third in 1989.

What lottery? Didn’t sign up for the lottery because after 10 days away from home, I’ll be ready to return, even with a lengthy honey-do list. Besides, I’m not really a golfer. In my entire life, I think I’ve golfed three times, all of them in the 80s. That’s the decade, not my scores. I do remember the time former Statesman sportswriter Randy Riggs and I brought Morris Williams to its knees. Might have broken 100, but not sure. I do love going to the driving range with my son John Tyler and the Top Golf experience.

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