Masters: Peter McEvoy remains the only British amateur to make the cut, and he wants it to stay that way
‘I’m the only British amateur to make it to the Masters … I want it to stay that way!’: Peter McEvoy hopes his long-lasting 1978 record stays intact as rookie Joe Long prepares for his Augusta bow
- Peter McEvoy dominated the amateur scene in the late 1970s and early 1980s
- McEvoy played all four rounds at Augusta National in 1978 after making the cut
- He is still the only UK amateur to have gotten to the halfway point of Augusta
- And McEvoy hopes his record will remain intact for the foreseeable future
Only one UK amateur has ever made it halfway through the Masters and Peter McEvoy, with a disarming sense of sincerity, is more likely to hope it stays that way.
Fortunately, he pleads guilty to the charge of a grumpy old golfer. “No one can blame me for being honest,” says the Midlander, who dominated the amateur scene in the late 1970s and early 1980s, playing all four rounds at Augusta in 1978.
Every year, McEvoy takes a keen interest in the amateur championship winner and his significant benefit from a trip to Augusta in April. “Very often it is an international player who wins the amateur and then I can relax,” says the 68-year-old rude.
Peter McEvoy is still the only UK amateur to make it to the halfway point of Augusta
McEvoy (right, in 2015) dominated the amateur scene in the late 1970s and early 1980s
‘When it’s a really good British player competing like Matt Fitzpatrick who won the US Amateur, it’s a nightmare – especially these days when you can watch every shot.
‘I remember he was last out in 2014 and had to play the last three in one under par to make it. So he played a chip on the 16th and then put a 7.5 meter putt for par. He threw his second into a bunker on the 17th, duffed his third to 35 feet and then put it for par.
“On the 18th he hit two fantastic shots up to 15 feet and I thought,” That’s it, he’ll never miss again “.
On Sky Sports, Ewen Murray said, “Come on Matt, everyone in Britain wants you this hole,” and I thought to myself, “Uh, not quite!”
Matt Fitzpatrick was painfully close to the midway point of the 2014 Masters
Worse, as McEvoy readily agrees, came when Northern Irishman played Michael Hoey in 2002. “He was on the winning Walker Cup team that I captained in 2001,” recalls McEvoy.
‘I chose him and I was going to be his mentor. Then he had a six-foot putt on the 18th to make the cut at Augusta and when it leaked out I have to admit I jumped up and bumped into the air. Which isn’t exactly what you should be doing, right?
‘Of course I felt terrible about it afterwards. It’s about the only record I have left. I’d like to keep it. ‘
McEvoy played with defending champion Tom Watson in the opening round in 1978. He matched him stroke by stroke, both with a 73rd card, before fading over the weekend to finish 53rd.
“I was there a week early next to the US Walker Cup team and it was just fantastic,” he recalls. ‘We had the place to ourselves for 10 days. I must have played 15 practice rounds. It was like living in a fantasy world. ‘
Michael Hoey also came close to shutting down his progression for the weekend in 2002
Never turning professional, McEvoy set up his own successful consulting and design company, and continued to be a huge influence in the amateur game.
He admits that he is surprised that no one has followed in his footsteps with Augusta.
“It was so difficult at first to get out of a British winter to play at the Masters,” he said. ‘I remember qualifying to play again in 1979 and I got there after I just finished my law degree. My warm up was the monthly medal at my home club, Copt Heath.
“Of course it has all changed with the top amateurs traveling so much, and there is no doubt someone should have done it by now.”
What about this year’s contestant Joe Long from Bristol? Does he have a good luck message for the personal 23-year-old?
“I’ll be sure to watch,” McEvoy chuckles.
Bristol-based amateur Joe Long hopes to make a name for himself at Augusta this week