Blairgowrie teenager intends to claim the Silver Cup when he makes his Masters debut
BRADLEY NEIL admits that playing in this year’s Masters will be the completion of a lifelong dream - but insists he won’t be happy unless he wins the low amateur honours.
The Blairgowrie teen earned his place in the opening major of the season at Augusta National by virtue of winning last year’s Amateur Championship and, whilst the likes of Rory McIlroy and Adam Scott will be out to win the coveted Green Jacket, Neil’s aim is to outdo ‘the best amateurs in the world’ and win the Silver Cup.
“This is the one tournament that they get together the most elite amateurs, the best amateurs in the world, and there’s not many can argue that’s the best six amateurs at the time,” the 19-year-old told the latest issue of bunkered.
“Obviously, the world rankings will show some disagreement but, in terms of the championship winners, they’ve gained entry into the field by winning one of the six best amateur tournaments in the world.
“You know if you’re top of that, then you’ve played well that week. At least one amateur seems to make the cut each year. So finishing as low amateur is an aim of mine.”
The likes of Jack Nicklaus, Tiger Woods, Phil Mickelson and Sergio Garcia have all won the low amateur spoils at Augusta in the past and Neil is determined to emulate them. To give himself the best chance of doing so, he has been picking the brains of some of the game’s top players.
He added: “I’ve had advice from Scott Jamieson, who went to university out there and has played the course a few times. His caddie Richie Blair told me a few things as well so I’m getting as much advice as I can.
“I’ve spoken to Stevie Gallacher and he said to give him a call closer to the time and I spoke to a few other top players, like Rory McIlroy and Justin Rose during Ryder Cup week, so guys have been feeding me little bits of knowledge.
“Their take on things is world-class. They’ve got everything noted down to a tee. For them to pass on little bits of knowledge, it’s very kind of them.”
Neil also told bunkered that he is hopeful of getting to play a practice round in the company of four-time Masters champion and 14-time major winner Tiger Woods, assuming the former world No.1 is fit enough to take his place in the field.
“I was supposed to play nine holes with him but that was set up through his old coach, Sean Foley, so I don’t know where that sits now,” he added. “That would be pretty cool because he’s an idol of mine. He was my hero growing up and he still is now.”
Neil will become the first Scottish amateur to play in the Masters since Richie Ramsay featured in 2007 after winning the US Amateur Championship the year prior. It’s an opportunity he is clearly determined to make the most of, too.
He intends to stay in the famous Crow’s Nest cupola that sits on top of the clubhouse ‘at least one of the nights’ and has a packed schedule of other activities lined-up throughout the week.
“They’ve got a load of nights for all of the amateurs who are playing,” he said. “Most of them are dinners, I think, but on top of that there’s also the champion’s night and the past champion’s dinner.
“There’s everything in the golf club as well, like the trophy room. It’s just going to be really cool to see it and it’s something I never thought I’d get to see up close.”