T.J. Auclair is a Senior Interactive Producer for PGA.com and has covered professional golf since 1998, traveling to over 60 major championships. You can follow him on Twitter, @tjauclair.
Stadler father-son duo first to compete in same Masters
There's a chance we could see the very first father-son pairing for (at least) the first two rounds of the Masters next week. Even if that doesn't happen, we're guaranteed to see the first Masters featuring a father and son in the same year.
Craig Stadler, the 1982 Masters champion, and his 34-year-old son Kevin are both in the field for the 2014 Masters.
The elder Stadler is eligible to play by virtue of his victory 32 years ago, which -- like all Masters champions -- carried a lifetime exemption to play in the tournament.
The younger Stadler, meanwhile, is making his first appearance in the Masters. He's eligible this year by virtue of his victory at TPC Scottsdale in February at the Waste Management Phoenix Open.
With both Stadlers in the field, it marks the first time in 78 Masters that a father and son will compete in the tournament. It will also be the last time for the Stadlers.
Craig, now 60, admitted as much after Kevin's win in Phoenix.
"It's going to be great for me because it's really my last one," Craig told GolfChannel.com after his son's first PGA Tour win. "I kept saying, you know, when he gets in, that's my last one. I'm going to have to get in a little better shape. It's going to be great."
What would make this whole experience for the Stadlers even more "feel good" would be if the two were paired together. And, in the Masters, that's not entirely out of the realm of possibility.
At the Masters, there's only one traditional pairing. Each year, the reigning U.S. Amateur champion plays the first two rounds alongside the defending Masters champion.
Otherwise, a committee of Augusta National Golf Club members determines what the pairings will be for the first two rounds. After the 36-hole cut, of course, standard procedure is back in place with pairings made based on score in relation to par -- leaders out the latest.
For those first two rounds though, pairings are made at the committee's discretion.
In case you were wondering, the Stadlers aren't the first family members to compete in the Masters.
There have been 11 father-son combos, but never in the same year. There have been 27 brothers to play at Augusta -- 18 of them in the same tournament, including 13 consecutive fraternal co-starts by Jay and Lionel Hebert. Tommy Armour III followed in his late grandfather's Augusta footsteps in 1990. The whole Haas clan -- Bill; his father, Jay; and uncles Jerry Haas and Dillard Pruitt -- are all branches of the Bob Goalby family tree.
But Kevin is the first direct descendant of a Masters winner to qualify to play Augusta. The closest anyone else ever got was Jack Nicklaus' youngest son, Gary, in a playoff on the eve of the 2000 Masters at TPC Sugarloaf. Weather washed out the final round of the Bellsouth Classic, sending 54-hole co-leaders Gary Nicklaus and Phil Mickelson to a sudden-death playoff. On the par-3 16th hole, the 31-year-old Nicklaus' tee shot buried under the lip of a front bunker and destroyed his chance of joining his father at Augusta.
Michaux also included this chart of father-son Masters participants in his story:
FATHER-SON IN MASTERS:
- Skip Alexander, 6 from 1948-54; Buddy Alexander, 2 in 1987-88
- Butch Baird, 1977; Briny Baird, 2004
- Thomas W. Barnes, 1950; Tommy Barnes, 1966
- Julius Boros, 25 from 1950-74; Guy Boros, 1997
- Antonio Garrido, 1978; Ignacio Garrido, 1998
- Al Geiberger, 17 from 1962-80; Brent Geiberger, 2000
- Jay Haas, 22 from 1976-2005; Bill Haas, 2010-2013
- Clayton Heafner, 9 from 1940-53; Vance Heafner, 1978
- Jock Hutchison, 14 from 1935-62; Jock Hutchison Jr., 1941
- Joe Kirkwood, 1936 and 1948; Joe Kirkwood Jr., five from 1949-53
- Davis Love Jr., 1955 and 1964; Davis Love III, 19 from 1988-2011
Follow T.J. Auclair on Twitter, @tjauclair.