You don’t have to be a golfer to appreciate the masters tournament. It’s one of the great sports traditions in our country. This year, the coronavirus delayed the 84th edition from April to November, but they played the first round yesterday and the weather cooperated.
Again this year, there’s a local connection. Austin Kaiser, the former Greyhound is caddying for his college friend Xander Schauffle. Bob Kaiser says his son has been obsessed with golf since he was a young child in Atascadero.
After Austin graduated from Atascadero high school, he was not offered any scholarships by division one schools, so he attended Alan Hancock in Santa Maria, and played golf there. After he placed second in the state junior college championship, he got a scholarship from San Diego state.
While playing golf with San Diego state, he became friends with Xander Schauffele, another player on the team. After Xander graduated, he turned pro, and he asked Austin to be his caddy. They played in “minor league” tournaments, and Xander played well. Austin improved as a caddy. And Xander improved as a golfer. At last year’s masters, Xander finished second to Tiger Woods. Xander was just one stroke behind tiger.
After the first round at the masters yesterday, Xander is tied for third place, two strokes behind the leader. Tiger Woods is one stroke behind Xander in a tie for seventh with seven other players including Lee Westwood, Bernard Langer and Justin Rose.
It’s still anyone’s tournament to win. If you watch it, keep an eye out for Austin Kaiser, the caddy for his college friend, Xander Schauffele. You may recognize Austin as a kid you once saw practicing his chipping and putting at Chalk Mountain golf course in Atascadero. He’s one of the few who made a career out of golf, and he’s doing quite well.