Kevin Stadler (l) and father Craig played together at Pebble Beach back in 2005. In April, they'll become the first father and son to play in the same Masters.
No doubt, Kevin Stadler was thrilled to win the Waste Management Phoenix Open on Sunday, edging Bubba Watson by a shot on the final hole for his first PGA Tour victory. Perhaps even more thrilled was his dad, Craig Stadler – not only because his kid had finally broken through on the big stage, but also because Kevin's win means that "the Walrus" and "the Smallrus" will both play the Masters in two months.
Making the moment even bigger is that the Stadlers will become the first father and son to play in the same Masters.
"I kept saying, you know, when he gets in, that's my last one,'' Craig Stadler, 60, said on a conference call in the wake of Kevin's victory. "I kept saying, you know, when he gets in, that's my last one.''
The senior Stadler, of course, won the 1982 Masters, and owns another dozen PGA Tour titles. Kevin got his first win in his 239th career PGA Tour start, though he also owns a European Tour title and four wins on what is now the Web.com Tour.
Craig Stadler was asked how he and his son compared to each other.
"We both love golf, and I don't know about him but I'm his biggest fan,'' he replied. "He probably doesn't know it, but I love watching him play on TV and on the Internet. He's a hell of an iron player, one of the better iron players I have seen.
"Other than that, we don't look even remotely close to each other," he quipped, drawing howls of laughter from his audience on the phone. (For the record, the PGA Tour website lists both father and son at 5-foot-10 and 250 pounds.)
Being in the Masters field with his son will be ''awesome,'' Stadler said. ''I took him [to Augusta National], oh, ages ago, and I don't think he's been there since. Probably 20 years ago. It will be great, an awesome week."
As for Kevin, he can’t wait to get to Augusta National, either.
"[The Masters berth for winning a PGA Tour event] was in the forefront of my mind," he admitted after his victory on Sunday. "[Craig] probably would have liked it better if I had gotten there five years ago or so. He's been telling me for a couple of years I need to hurry up and get there before he calls it quits."
One more note before I let this go: Back in 2004, the Stadlers established another golf first. Craig won the Bank of America Championship on the Champions Tour, then merely minutes later Kevin won the Lake Erie Charity Classic on what is now the Web.com Tour. A father and son had won PGA Tour-sanctioned events on the same day only once before – back in 1999, when Bob Duval won the Emerald Coast Classic and son David captured The Players Championship.