Not a dream – or video game; J.J. Spaun gets first look at Augusta National

Not a dream – or video game; J.J. Spaun gets first look at Augusta National
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AUGUSTA, Ga. – While the masses were out following Tiger Woods’ every step on Monday afternoon at Augusta National, J.J. Spaun quietly strolled to the first tee.

He had to pinch himself.

“First time ever in real life,” he said. “I’ve been here in like virtual life, like video games and stuff. But yeah, no, definitely not in person.”

If it still felt like a dream, it’s hard to fault Spaun, the last man into this Masters field and less than 24 hours removed from his maiden PGA Tour victory at the Valero Texas Open.

Spaun had the option to leave for Augusta on Sunday night, but after his post-win obligations pushed dinner back to 8:30 p.m. CT and with an 18-month-old in tow, Spaun opted to delay his departure until Monday morning. He then hopped on a private jet provided to him by Valero and arrived at Augusta National just after lunch, registering as the tournament’s 90th and final competitor.

Full-field tee times from the 86th Masters Tournament

“I’m still going through so much excitement and emotion that like even when I was registering, I was like, is this really happening? Is this a dream? I know it’s so cliche for people to say that, but it really was. It was like, am I here?” Spaun said. “It’s happened so fast. It’s not like I won a couple months ago and I’ve been kind of mentally getting ready for this week. You kind of go from one step of, OK, winning a golf tournament and now it’s like, oh, wait, now you’re going to Augusta tomorrow, and you’ve got to find a house and you’ve got to find plans and all that stuff. They’re all good problems to have.

“To get the opportunity to be here, I mean, I don’t care if it happened the day of the tournament. I’ll be here.”

After squeezing in just eight holes and fulfilling a quick media session on Monday evening, Spaun disappeared between the pro shop and scoring building. While he was surely off to get some more rest, one could argue that Spaun, a 31-year-old San Diego State product who recently rediscovered his game after overcoming a diabetes misdiagnosis, still hasn’t woken up.

The dream will, in fact, continue into Tuesday.

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