Photo by © Rob Schumacher-USA TODAY Sports

Clemson's Doc Redman is living the dream at Augusta National

April 5, 2018
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CLEMSON – One year ago, Doc Redman sat at his home in Raleigh, North Carolina watching the Masters with his family and friends.

The thought of playing in Augusta National the very next year never crossed his mind.

Today, the sophomore is the eighth Clemson golfer in history to play on golf’s biggest stage as an amateur.

Today, the sophomore is the eighth Clemson golfer in history to play on golf’s biggest stage as an amateur.

Redman, who is one of Clemson golf’s premier players, possesses an incredible resume so far in his very young career. As a freshman, Redman started every tournament, and his score counted in all 39 rounds he played. He was named to the Walker Cup team, Clemson’s first selection to team in over ten years.

To get to play in this year’s Masters, he had to win the United States Amateur Championship back in August. No big deal.

How Redman won that title sums up how he is approaching this week.

The 19-year-old is a grinder and has been complimented as one of the best match-play golfers out there. To get to the amateur championship, he had to get past some of the best amateur golfers out there.

The championship match against University of Texas’ Doug Ghim in Los Angeles was like something out of a Hollywood movie.

The two went at it all day and played 37 holes to decide a champion. Redman found himself down two strokes with two holes to play. Ghim had a five-foot putt for birdie on the 17th hole to ice the match, while Redman eyed a 60-foot putt for eagle to keep himself alive.

The thought that this was for the championship, nonetheless for a spot in the 2018 Masters, never crossed his mind. He knew this was his moment.

Redman stepped up to the ball as calm as ever and confidently walked after the ball once he made his stroke until it found the bottom of the cup. Stone cold.

Redman went on to force a playoff and win on the first hole to claim his title. He finished four under in the last three holes in what has to be one of the gutsiest, remarkable finishes to a golfing event that a lot of people probably didn’t see.

His approach to the Masters this week is the same as when he stepped up to the eagle putt on the 17th hole eight months ago: calm.

This week’s PGA Tour experience won’t be the first of its kind for Redman. He’s coming off making the cut at the Arnold Palmer Invitational at Bay Hill, the first Clemson golfer to make a cut at a PGA Tour event since Chris Patton at the 1990 Masters.

© Rob Schumacher-USA TODAY Sports
Amateur Doc Redman and Patton Kizzire (right) discuss the green on the 2nd hole during a practice round for the Masters golf tournament at Augusta National.

The experience at Bay Hill was a much-needed step in the preparation process for the grind of Augusta National.

“I can see the excitement in his face every day but I think Bay Hill last week maybe knocked a little bit of the ginger off of it, and he got a good taste of (playing at a premier course),” Larry Penley, Clemson’s head golf coach, said.

Former Clemson golfer and PGA Tour professional Lucas Glover approached Redman at the Invitational and gave him some encouraging and reassuring words.

Bay Hill’s greens last week were as fast as any greens on the PGA Tour. Redman, who says the best part of his game is the mental part and favorite club is his putter, gained an awful lot of confidence after making the cut on those playing surfaces.

In fact, former Clemson golfer and PGA Tour professional Lucas Glover approached Redman at the Invitational and gave him some encouraging and reassuring words.

“This is an incredible preparation week for you for Augusta, because Augusta’s greens won’t be this fast until Sunday,” Glover told Redman in his first tournament on the PGA Tour.

Redman will be accompanied by his assistant coach Jordan Byrd, who will be his caddy and has been his right-hand man all week long. Byrd has caddied here before and said the week is an overhaul of emotions and activities, but nothing Redman can’t handle.

There’s an amateur dinner, practice rounds, the Par 3 contest, etc. So much activity to where a player can get so exhausted before the tournament is off to the races bright and early today.

Redman has met with Clemson sports psychologist Milt Lowder, who works with the football and basketball teams on campus, in preparation for his week to devise a schedule so he won’t get burnt out. The week is all about taking it one day at a time while also soaking in every possible bit of the once-in-a-lifetime experience.

“He does a great job of compartmentalizing things and just focusing on what’s in front of him,” Byrd said. “I think he’ll have a great week.”

On Tuesday afternoon, Redman was playing a normal 9-hole practice round at Augusta National and decided to keep going solo after his playing partners decided to pack it up. Just when he thought he was all by himself, he found Rickie Fowler who invited the 20-year-old to finish out the last two holes of the day together.

Redman went from playing in front of a few people to thousands who were following the No. 8 player in the world. That experience, much like Bay Hill, was the best tune-up possible before the circus begins on Thursday morning.

The tradition at the Masters is that the U.S. Amature champion is paired up with the Masters Champion from the year before. That happens to be Sergio Garcia. But Redman learned that the No. 2 player in the world, Justin Thomas, will be playing alongside them as well.

“That first tee Thursday is going to be one-of-a-kind,” Redman said. “I can’t do anything to prepare for that, I’ve just got to handle that as best I can."

That’s not all. Their group will be playing one group behind Tiger Woods, who is on the verge of one of sports greatest comeback stories. Everyone wants a peek.

So is Redman nervous for when his name will be called today at 10:53 A.M. at the first tee?

“That first tee Thursday is going to be one-of-a-kind,” Redman said. “I can’t do anything to prepare for that, I’ve just got to handle that as best I can… I know I can hang with those guys and I know what it’s like now ... I’m comfortable being around those guys now and I know how it works. I don’t have to be nervous about how things are going to go down.”

There are a few performance goals Redman will have in his mind as he gets things going on Thursday, but nothing outcome related. He wants to soak in the experience of golf’s greatest stage and not press too much about where he is on the leaderboard.

It won’t matter to Redman where he finishes or even if he makes the cut or not. That’s not on his mind. The Clemson golfer said this week would be a success no matter what.

He’s living the dream.

“It’s incredible because no matter how I play next week, it’s not going to change anything,” Redman added with a smile. “It’s going to be a success no matter what, whether I make the cut or I come in dead last. I’m just going to go out and enjoy myself and try to learn as much as possible.”

 
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