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Columbus resident, 1987 Masters champion says playing in Augusta ‘never gets old’

Larry Mize acknowledges the crowd on the second hole during the second round for the Masters golf tournament Friday, April 12, 2019, in Augusta, Ga. (AP Photo/Matt Slocum)
Larry Mize acknowledges the crowd on the second hole during the second round for the Masters golf tournament Friday, April 12, 2019, in Augusta, Ga. (AP Photo/Matt Slocum) AP

In 1987, Larry Mize, an Augusta native and Columbus resident, etched his name among the greats with a chip in that defined his career and secured him a win at The Masters.

With Greg Norman and Seve Ballesteros (two of the game’s greats) in the playoff with him, Mize calmly chipped in from over 100 feet. He clinched the win in one of the most dramatic scenes in all of golf.

“I don’t think of it too much when I come here because I am busy preparing trying to still play,” Mize said. “It is a great memory. People bring it up and I enjoy talking about it.”

He has never returned to that spot to see if he could make it again. He said there is no real reason to.

“I haven’t tried to recreate it,” Mize said. “That was a great decision because whenever I see that chip, it is the last time I hit.”

On Thursday, Mize wasn’t able to muster up much finishing at +5 on the day and a +2 round on Friday. Mize will more than likely miss the cut but said he enjoys being back in his hometown of Augusta.

“It is a dream come true. Growing up here, coming up here, watching the tournament as a kid, then getting to come back every year ... there are no words to describe it,” he said. “It is an unbelievable week for me every year and it never gets old.”

While an Augusta native, Mize currently resides in Columbus. He said the two towns have both been a great home for him.

“Most of my life has been spent in Georgia, in Columbus or Augusta with a little bit of Macon and Atlanta in there,” he said. “Columbus is a little smaller than Augusta but a similar town.”

He said he doesn’t remember much from his time in Macon because it was many years ago.

“I was in kindergarten,” Mize said. “I have been back and been in tournaments there. It is a good town. I like Macon.”

His time in Atlanta was spent studying and playing golf at Georgia Tech. He was paired this week with a fellow Yellow Jacket and Georgia native, Stewart Cink.

“It was great to play with Stewart ... He is a great guy and a super player,” Mize said. “We are all connected out here because we’re all playing golf and you’re kinda in the family of pro golfers — we have more because we are in Georgia and he went to Georgia Tech. It is a very nice connection.”

Cink said the pairs’ connection runs even deeper.

“We are both similar in our faith. That is our main connection,” Cink said. “He is probably my favorite player to play with over the years.”

Mize often adds a Bible verse to autographs he signs and wears a “WWJD” bracelet around his wrist.

“We are created to be in community with each other,” Cink said. “It is instant community and that is what me and Larry Mize have.”

Cink said Mize’s way of playing the game typically rubs off on him when the two get paired together.

“I’ve had some of my best rounds when I’ve played with Larry. I think just seeing his tempo and just watching his smoothness just kind of leaks into my game,” he said. “I’ve just had a really good time over the years playing with him. So I was happy tee it up with him.”

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