JUNO BEACH, FLORIDA | A couple of days prior to the Masters, Nathan Smith had trouble keeping up with the calls and messages. Scores of family and friends reached out with photos of themselves at Augusta National or questions about which player Smith fancied to win the green jacket.
Some of them, bless their ignorance, wondered why Smith chose not to play this year.
“I tell them, ‘Oh no, I would rather be working this week,’ ” Smith joked. “You know it is bad when you have family members in the past who have said, ‘Well, we can’t watch you play at Augusta this year but we will go next year.’ What are you talking about? Getting there is hard.”
Smith has these conversations because, having won the U.S. Mid-Amateur a record four times – including three in four years from 2009-12 – the 40-year-old from Pittsburgh earned four Masters invitations, making his trips down Magnolia Lane seem like a common occurrence. He made a difficult accomplishment look easy, spoiling those around him.
He may have spoiled himself, too.
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