Kisner hoping to create some weekend magic at Masters
It’s one of the most recognizable sounds in sports.
The roars that come from the cheering patrons on the back nine at Augusta National Golf Club can be heard any day throughout the week-long spectacle.
However, there’s something different about the ones that are induced by thrilling shots on the weekend. They mean a bit more to everyone involved.
Nobody knows that better than Aiken’s Kevin Kisner, who grew up in Aiken and was a regular at the Masters when he was younger. Participating in what’s considered one of the most prestigous golf tournaments in the world was always one of his goals.
Now he’s been there, done that, made the cut twice and he’s even got a few pairs of highball crystal glasses – the award given out for carding an eagle during a round at the Masters – to show for it.
For Kisner, this year’s Masters is about taking the next step. He’s hoping that includes being a part of one of those iconic roars from the back nine on the weekend.
“I always grew up going to the Masters and hearing those big roars on Sunday on the back nine, and I think it’d be really cool to be a part of one of those,” Kisner said. “Hopefully I can be out there late on the weekend on the back nine and do something cool to electrify the crowd.”
With a strong showing recently in the WGC Match Play Championship, and a putting stroke that has long been one of his best assets, Kisner could be poised to make a run at the year’s first major. The x-factor this week could be the time he’s devoted to another part of his game.
“I’ve worked really hard on my short game in the offseason and the beginning of this year,” Kisner said. “I think if I can get that to go to the next level it’ll help me compete in the majors even more.
“Obviously I’m not the longest hitter, so I need to be able to get up and down more consistently than these guys that hit it further than I do. That’s kind of been the main area of focus heading into Augusta”
Competing in the majors even more this year would mean another banner season for Kisner, who’s currently 25th in the World Golf Ranking. The last major he played in was his best finish in a major of his career. He held at least a share of the lead after the first three rounds of the PGA Championship last year. He finished that tournament tied for seventh, and Justin Thomas took home the Wanamaker Trophy.
At Augusta National, he hasn’t quite experience the kind of early round success he did at Quail Hollow last year. That’s a big part of the equation he’s hoping to change.
“Just making the cut and not playing well is not that fun,” Kisner said. “I’ve been fortunate to make the cut in both appearances, but I’m hoping to get off to a better start this year on Thursday and Friday so I can have a later tee time on the weekend and have a chance.”
What more could a Masters formula that includes a late weekend tee time, and roar-inducing, back-nine magic need?
Well, Kisner isn’t immune to the Tiger Woods hype. He actually wouldn’t mind being a part of it.
“I think Tiger back for our game is a great thing. I’m a big Tiger fan,” he said. “I hope he and I get to battle a few times coming down the weekend, and hopefully it’s at Augusta.”
Never the one to shy away from any challenge, Kisner wouldn’t be too caught up in the moment if he and Woods were to be paired together and near the top of the leaderboard.
“Heck no,′ he said. “I’d be loving that.”