April 6, 2014
By Alex Cate UTSports.com
The Masters may be the most iconic tournament in the sport of golf and is heralded as the premier major event on the PGA Tour. Professional and amateur golfers around the world dream of playing the turns and breaks of Augusta National Golf Club. History is written each April.
The 2014 Masters will undoubtedly write itself in the history books. But before the tournament even starts, Tennessee golf history will be made.
Sophomore golfer, Oliver Goss, and former Tennessee golfer Garrick Porteous will both be playing in The Masters - one of the few times, if not the first, that two amateurs from the same university will play in the tournament.
They both found their way to Augusta, Ga. in a similar way. Goss was the runner-up in the U.S. Amateur tournament, losing on the final day to Matt Fitzpatrick. Porteous prevailed at the British Amateur to secure his automatic placing at The Masters.
Goss actually wasn't guaranteed a spot. The 19-year-old had to wait for the official invitation before he could exhale.
"Once I got that official letter it was such a relief and I was just too excited," Goss said.
It may be the biggest week of the youngster's life. He'll spend all week in Augusta, practicing on Monday and Tuesday before the tournament begins Thursday.
His Tuesday practice round will be special though. Goss, who is from Perth, Australia, will play his second practice round with his idol, Adam Scott. Scott is the reigning Masters champion and the No. 2 ranked player in the world according to the Official World Golf Rankings.
Goss has played with Scott before but it's been a while since the two have played together.
"I got to play with Adam at the Australian Masters two years ago and now I'm playing with him at the Masters," Goss said. "It's going to be great to see him on a completely different stage, the professional stage. It's going to be great to pick his brain on the course."
"It's going to be good to see him again and just talk about things that have occurred over the last two years."
To add on to his week, Goss will turn 20 on Saturday. If he can make the cut after the first two rounds, he could be playing on his birthday.
Goss said that the biggest challenge for him will be playing in front of vastly larger crowds than he has in the past. He'll have the practice rounds to try and get used to the added attention and learn the courses widely recognized intricacies.
"I obviously do want to play really well but at the same time I think if I try and force the issue I'm going to put too much pressure on myself and blow up before I even go there," he said. "If I say to myself, 'I want to get a top 10. I want to do this. I want to do that' - putting numbers in my head is just not a good deal for me. I'm just going to go down there, have as much fun as I can and learn from the whole experience and take it to the future."
Porteous is fresh off a victor over Fitzpatrick in the Georgia Cup, the annual match play competition between the British and U.S. Amateur winners.
The 24-year-old from Morpeth, England played for the Vols from 2008-2012. He had seven Top 10 finishes and 16 Top 25 finishes while in Knoxville. Porteous is ranked the No. 8 amateur golfer in the world.
Goss has compiled an impressive record in his young career at Tennessee. He has nine Top 10 finishes and 13 Top 25 finishes as a sophomore. The most recent World Amateur Golf Rankings place him as the No. 15 amateur in the world.
To play in The Masters is a great honor for both men. Goss knows he's not just playing for himself.
"I'm representing my country but I'm also representing my university which is obviously a big deal to me. I'm representing Golf Australia which is our golfing body and I've got this orange shirt I'm planning on wearing while I'm down there," Goss said.
The Masters will be played April 10-13.