By Bonnie Heater, Fort Gordon Public AffairsApril 12, 2012
FORT GORDON, Ga - (April 2, 2012) The first day of the 2012 Masters Golf Tournament kicked off with a day of practice for players at the Augusta National Golf Tournament. Professional golfer and 1982 Masters Champion Craig Stadler, spent most of the day April 2 in a sand bunker not at the Augusta National Golf Course in Augusta. Instead he spent it at Hole 9 on Pine at the Gordon Lakes Golf Club, which happens to be rated fourth in the best golf courses in the Army and is open to the public.
Stadler, known as the Walrus, because of his bushy mustache and somewhat rotund build, hosted the free Masters Monday Clinic at the post. During the early part of the morning he posed for photos and signed autographs for Wounded Warriors, Purple Heart recipients and other servicemembers.
Bill Fumai, the Gordon Lakes Golf Club director, said he was the best sand player on tour. Stadler had undergone a total left-hip-replacement surgery in Los Angeles, Calif., in Sept. 15, 2010, which limits his playing on the Champions Tour. Prior to coming to this year's tournament he injured his back. "I made the mistake of lifting too much and I hurt my 0-4 (vertebra)," he said, "but I still plan to play in the Par 3." The Par 3 Contest is part of the Masters, which took place Wednesday, April 4 at the Augusta National Golf Club.)
"Golf is an interesting game," he told the group attending the clinic. "You hit the ball and spending the rest of the time trying to find it."
The 13 time winner on the Professional Golf Association tour including the 1982 Masters spent most of the afternoon fielding golf questions and demonstrating how to successfully hit a ball over a sand bunker and how to negotiate your way out of a sand trap.
While in the sand bunker with the temperature reaching 89 degrees [Fahrenheit] Stadler showed his playful side. He jokingly dug his feet deep in the sand at shoulder width apart then looked up and said, "This is how Gary Player would play his way out of a bunker." Gary Player, a South African player, won the PGA Tour Lifetime Achievement award this year.
After the demonstration Stadler expressed his appreciation to the military members for their service. "Being here [at Fort Gordon] is more important than spending the day at practice at this year's Masters," said Stadler. "I wanted to come out and make a difference,"
"It was important to me to make the clinic fun and informative," he added. "I hope they [servicemembers and their Families] had a good time."