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April 7, 2015

Ben Crenshaw


MODERATOR:テつ Ladies and gentlemen, today is a true honor to welcome a man whose legacy at Augusta National and the Masters Tournament will stand the test of time.テつ A member of the World Golf Hall of Fame, he's one of the true greats to play the game, both on and off the course.
Throughout his storied 42‑year career, he has recorded 19 PGA TOUR victories and been a member of four Ryder Cup teams, including captaining the victorious 1999 Americans.
His first two trips to Augusta National were as an amateur in 1972 and 1973, finishing as low amateur both years.テつ Returning as a professional, his performance at the Masters has been legendary, winning his first green jacket in 1994 and second in 1995.テつ This year marks his 44th and final Masters appearance, his 44th start to tie with Sam Snead for the fifth‑most in Masters Tournament history.
Ladies and gentlemen, Mr. Ben Crenshaw (applause).
BEN CRENSHAW:テつ I've probably stayed too long (laughter).テつ Let's start with that.テつ But you know, I've spoken to so many of you and I've known so many of you, and I know that you know how special this place is.テつ It's occupied a lot of my thoughts other than Aprils.テつ I think the world of this place.テつ I'm just a fellow lover of Augusta.
I love everything about it, always have, and to have won here twice is most meaning to my family back there, my family, Julie, my dear daughters Julie and Claire and Katherine, and the young one is on the way, Anna Riley, and my brother is here, Charlie, his wife, Julie, and Julie's mom and dad.
They have gotten to see me through trials and tribulations here, but it will always be that way.テつ This is my final appearance, and I'm happy.テつ I played today with Jimmy Walker and Tom Watson and I mean, it was just‑‑ and Jim Furyk.テつ I feel like I've played in the gutta‑percha era.テつ I've spent so much time here and been in the fight here, and that's what I'll always take away here.テつ So I'm very thankful.

Q.テつ You're such an emotional person.テつ How tough will it be to get through all of the things that are going to come along this week and hopefully through Sunday with those emotions that you always carry around?
BEN CRENSHAW:テつ You know, I don't know how to, I didn't know what to‑‑ I started thinking about it awhile back about this week.テつ I'm going to get through it the best way I can.テつ I'll just play and have fun, and the people have been great already.
You know, that's the wonderful thing about this place.テつ You come back, and you see members that you know and you see all of you that come and cover the tournament, and you see employees of the club and you see friends that you've made over the years; that's what we all feel as returning, one of the great things about the tournament, obviously, if you win, you get to come back the rest of your life.テつ And we will; Julie and I will come back the rest of our lives.テつ Don't know what we're going to do just yet.テつ Might just find a place in the grandstands on 15 and just sit there, I don't know.
I don't know how; it is going to be emotional for me.テつ But I can say to myself, it's emotional for every champion who decides to step down.テつ It's a tough decision.テつ It's probably easier for some, like me.テつ But I'm just going to try to take it in stride.テつ It's part of life.

Q.テつ I don't know if you saw the last Champions event where Lanny Wadkins and John Mahaffey did a tribute to you; one of the things Lanny talked about when he first played here, he played with Gene Sarazen and had the presence of mind to walk the Sarazen Bridge with him on 15.テつ What memories do you have of the golfing legends?
BEN CRENSHAW:テつ Well, I'll tell you this.テつ My first Masters in 1972, I watched the Honorary Starters that year and it was Jock Hutchison and Freddie McLeod.テつ Freddie McLeod won the 1908 U.S. Open, and I think Jock won the 1921 British Open and they were 88 and 86, respectively.テつ That was one of my dear memories.テつ And they hit it off and went down the hill.テつ So I remember that, no question.
I had a wonderful photo at home with Byron Nelson and Gene Sarazen, and me, I don't know what the heck I was doing in there with those two.テつ We have lots of photos at home.テつ We have lots of mementos.
I was lucky enough in a prior era to have made a couple of eagles, so I have a couple of goblets.テつ I have a couple of goblets.

Q.テつ I know Bobby Jones passed away before your first appearance; but you feel such a connection to him.テつ What is it you feel with Bobby Jones?
BEN CRENSHAW:テつ Just the more I studied about him, the more fascinated I became.テつ Just his life and not only his playing, obviously, was stupendous, well written about all around the globe; but his life I thought was fascinating and how he embraced his profession of the law.
I always thought that he had‑‑ I think he had a way about him that was very graceful and very unique.テつ Nobody was like him.テつ He had exceedingly rare taste in almost everything that he did.
And this place, to me, embodies such graceful things.テつ I mean, he knew‑‑ he and Dr.MacKenzie knew what they had, and they knew that‑‑ they had the great sense to leave things out of it rather than put in:テつ The architecture of the buildings, the way they have run this tournament.テつ It seems like less is more.テつ They made a beautiful statement in what they did and what they left behind.
All the guiding principles that Clifford Roberts; and the combination of Clifford Roberts and Bobby Jones and this place will never come anywhere close to anywhere else on the face of the earth.

Q.テつ When you talk about less is more, the work that you and Bill do with golf courses and architecture, do you guys overtly talk about leaving the game better than you found it?
BEN CRENSHAW:テつ Well, we try.テつ We try very hard to think about all golfers, and there's no better example than this place here.テつ It was one of their guiding principles that they wanted inexpert players to enjoy their golf; but with proper positioning, it could test the best players in the world.
You know, at the time, it was a real different idea in golf course architecture.テつ It propelled a lot of different ideas the way in which they depicted their endeavors here.テつ You know, I think that they had a dearth of bunkers to start with.テつ They still have a dearth of bunkers, but they all are meaningful.
You know, Jones simply said he wanted a rolling, inland course; and he wanted golfers to think, very much like St. Andrews, which was his love.テつ And there's no question that any student in the world of architecture knows that that is the most fascinating course in the world.テつ There's a million ways to play it, for everyone, and it still is a guiding principle for, I think, most architects.

Q.テつ Phil was in here earlier talking about how this is the tournament that the players want to win the most.テつ This is the tournament that sets the standard for all of golf.テつ When you think about it as a player, what are the things that the club does that make it just so‑‑ something that the players are just so passionate about, being here and winning?
BEN CRENSHAW:テつ There's no other tournament like it, Number one, everything about the tournament is unique.テつ You're treated accordingly.テつ There are, let's face it, dos and don'ts, but that's the way‑‑ they thought about that a long time ago, and they thought about things that they were presented properly.
There's a lot to play for, obviously.テつ When they put a lifetime on a win, it's exceedingly high.テつ You're required to do so much on this golf course.テつ You're required to think.テつ I've always thought, Geoff, that you cannot win this tournament playing safe.テつ You've got to take chances.テつ You have to take chances at the right times and you have to bring those off to buoy your confidence.
And you know, it's very easy for anyone to grasp the lore of this place.テつ So many different things have happened.テつ So many wild fluctuations have happened.テつ It's the nature of the architecture of the course.テつ And you've seen spectacular runs, finishes, and you've seen spectacular crashes, too.テつ We've all been on that side of the equation.
But you can't‑‑ to get ahead, you have to take chances at certain times.テつ You have to bring them off.テつ There's a little bit of luck involved, too.テつ You have this much undulation, and the greens being so fierce, absolutely, there has to be some good fortune on the way.

Q.テつ I know you love to ‑‑ before you come here, you sometimes read up and look back at your library.テつ Did you do anything this year, especially coming here, go back and do any reading of old Bobby Jones or Cliff Roberts or anything like that?
BEN CRENSHAW:テつ Well, I tell you, I'm still astounded by Clifford Roberts, the story about Augusta National because it's painstaking, the way he did most things.テつ And you can really get a feel about how much he thought; he thought about it all the time. テつIt was his life's work.テつ I mean, people rightly so said Augusta National was his mistress.テつ It was to the end.テつ He thought about it all the time and tried to hone it all he could.テつ He was the leader and carried out Jones' wishes as much as he possibly could.

Q.テつ When you look at your fellow younger Texan, Jordan Spieth, do you see a bit of yourself 40‑odd years ago, and what do you think of him?
BEN CRENSHAW:テつ I think the world of him.テつ I'm telling you, I know this, he's way more mature than what I was when I was 21.テつ He has things together.テつ I'm sure it has struck all of you that he's way mature beyond his years.テつ He has an innate ability to score.テつ He does things‑‑ he hits the ball definitely far enough.テつ He takes‑‑ I think one of the really wonderful things that I really do like about him, he's got competitive fire.テつ You can see it.テつ I think he carries that off in a great fashion.
He doesn't go out of hand, but he just seems to be moving forward in the game.テつ I just like‑‑ you know, when I first met him, I tell you, I'll never forget it.テつ I looked right at him and he looked at me and I thought I was looking at Wyatt Earp.テつ He just had that look about him, just wonderful.

Q.テつ You faced a lot of scrutiny when you were young, being the next great player, having that label.テつ When you look at the scrutiny that Tiger is under in his game with social media and of the 24/7 news cycle, can you even imagine that?テつ And do you think it would have cut into your affection for the profession at some point?
BEN CRENSHAW:テつ Well, all top players these days are under immense scrutiny.テつ I'm from a different era, but I can't even believe what is happening now.
Privacy is a tough thing these days for these guys.テつ They are my fellow brethren, and it has to be very difficult.テつ The scrutiny; there wasn't anything like it in my day.テつ I can't imagine how tough it is, for all of them, let alone Tiger.テつ I mean, Tiger, he came right out, and he was just under immense scrutiny.
I played with him his first year here, and I've never seen such a buzz when people were talking about him.テつ And that was before the things that he did, which are stupendous.テつ It is a completely different world now.

Q.テつ When you think back to '95, winning a week after Harvey died, was that almost a spiritual event when you think back to it?
BEN CRENSHAW:テつ It is, and it will always be a dear memory to Julie and I and all of us that went through it.テつ Harvey was like a second father, and a wonderful teacher and a great person.テつ To have played that well that week is beyond my comprehension.
I didn't harbor any thoughts about winning the tournament that week until I got into the tournament and started playing well, and my confidence got up.テつ But to have won my favorite tournament for his memory will always be my best moment.

Q.テつ You've talked about memorabilia and what this place means to you; can you grasp the concept of it not being in your life in the same way from now on, as it has been for these past few years, and if so, how are you going to deal with that?
BEN CRENSHAW:テつ John, that's a nice question.テつ I only have to, I can read up on other players and how they dealt with it.テつ I've been a competitive player a long time.テつ But it's very well time for me, John.
Fortunately, I have other things to do, which pleases me to no end.テつ To know, John, that I have made it a point to study, and it's been basically my thesis, golf architecture and golf history has been a great part of me for a long, long time.テつ And it makes me proud to know that I can use it, and hopefully use it in a good manner.
The golf library is probably as rich as any sporting past time in the world and has been‑‑

Q.テつ Except cricket‑‑
BEN CRENSHAW:テつ Okay, John (laughter).テつ That's good.テつ That's good, John.

Q.テつ You had a very unique relationship with Carl for many years here, and you continued using him, started as a local caddie for so long, even long after a lot of guys brought their own caddies here.テつ What made you do that and what made the relationship work so well, and are you surprised that more players didn't also do the same thing with the local knowledge of the local caddie?
BEN CRENSHAW:テつ Easiest decision I ever had.テつ We started in 1976, and the way that he treated me and the way that he communicated to me; and his possession of knowledge is unbelievable, unparalleled around here.テつ I knew I had the best.テつ There wasn't anyway‑‑ I wasn't even thinking about anything else after that.
I tried to listen to him really hard over the years.テつ We have made a really good team, and I made a lifelong friend a long time ago.

Q.テつ Are you surprised that more players don't‑‑ especially newcomers to the Masters, don't‑‑
BEN CRENSHAW:テつ I was surprised a long time ago, because there's no one, there's no group that knew more about the golf course than the Augusta caddies.テつ I mean, they could tell you things about greens and players would go, "What?"テつ If you just listened to them; they were tremendous.
MODERATOR:テつ Ladies and gentlemen, thank you very much.テつ Ben, thank you very much.テつ Carl, thank you very much.

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