Kevin Stadler made it all possible when he won his maiden PGA
Tour title at the Phoenix Open in February, and just in time with
his father planning to make his final appearance at Augusta National
in this year's edition.
"I can't think of a better way to do it (make his Masters swansong)
than playing with your son in the same tournament," former champion
Craig Stadler told reporters at a rain-drenched Augusta National on
Monday with his son sitting by his side.
"It's awesome. This is a very, very cool thing, and thanks to Kev
here, I got back to the (interview) room for the first time in about
20 years. I haven't been here since it was built, I don't think."
The elder Stadler, who won the 1982 Masters along with 12 other
titles on the PGA Tour, has taken great satisfaction from watching
his son develop into a champion golfer on the U.S. circuit.
"I'm so proud of the way he's played the last three, four years,"
said the 60-year-old, who is affectionately nicknamed "The Walrus"
because of his portly build and fulsome moustache.
"He has been close (to winning) a zillion times and finally got it
done, so this will be a very special week.
"I'm just going to be out there slashing around, trying to make the
cut, and he's going to be trying to win the golf tournament. It's
going to be a wonderful week for us."
Kevin, popularly known on the PGA Tour as "The Smallrus," relishes
the prospect of competing in his first Masters along with his
"I'm incredibly excited to be here and to play, and it's going to be
really, really fun to be on the inside of the ropes," grinned the
"I feel like I know this place pretty well but I've never, ever
played it (in competition). So it's going to be a blast. Just don't
really know what I'm getting myself into but it's going to be really
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Asked when he first realized the significance of his father's
Masters victory, the younger Stadler replied: "I was two years old
when he won it, so he was always Masters champion when I was a kid.
"It was just kind of a tag line that he earned when I was too young
to recognize it. And obviously it was cool (for him) to be able to
come here and play for as long as he wants the rest of his life,
that's pretty special."
Kevin Stadler, who won the European Tour's Johnnie Walker Classic in
Australia in 2006 and four titles on the lower-tier Nationwide Tour,
has fond memories of watching his father compete at Augusta
"It was great for me to be able to tag along and walk around here,"
he said. "I couldn't wait for April every year, when I was a kid, to
come out here and just run rampant around the golf course. It was
what I got the most enjoyment out of when I was a kid."
(Editing by Frank Pingue)
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