A Guy to Root for at the Masters


I have been rooting for the same guy to win the Masters every year since 1997.  You guessed it, I have been rooting for Tiger Woods ever since he won his first green jacket 17 years ago.  However, even if Tiger had not had back surgery I would be rooting for someone else this year.  This is a guy you can root for too.  Steven Bowditch.

In many ways Steven is the antithesis of Tiger.  Where as we all knew Tiger would be great from the time he was on the Mike Douglas show, 849372-steven-bowditch-571x321Steven toiled in anonymity on the Troppo Tour in Northern Australia.  Twelve years ago, this 30-year-old pro was sleeping in a tent at tour stops on the Troppo because he couldn’t afford hotels.

Where as Tiger has always been up tight, intense and unapproachable, Steven is laid back, affable and funny.

Steven kept grinding and earned enough money in his homeland to give the PGA tour a try.  He came to the States and settled in Addison.  It was there that his life changed forever.  In the parking lot of his condominium complex he met Amanda Yarussi.  She is a long time friend of mine and a great producer at Fox.

When they met Steven was battling depression, his game was a mess and his finances were even worse.  There is an old saying that goes something like this, “Behind every successful man there is a great woman.”  Amanda is definitely that for Steve.  After a long courtship they married almost 3 years ago and since then his career has done a steady climb.

It may seem like I am giving too much credit to my friend and producer who has made me look good on TV for all these years but Steven gives her tons of credit too.  He has told me over a few beers (imagine that an Aussie and an Irish guy tipping a few) that Amanda has been great for his career.   Also, as he walked up 18 toward his only PGA Tour victory in San Antonio two weeks ago, NBC’s Dan Hicks went on and on about Amanda.  Hicks would not have known about her if Steven hadn’t told him.

Yes he won the last tournament you can win and still qualify for the Masters this year.  What a whirlwind the last two weeks have been.  Steven got his official invite to the Masters and it was as nice as any wedding invitation you have ever seen.  He went to Houston and missed the cut, not as demoralizing when you won a million bucks the week before.   Now it is Masters weekend.  He had never played Augusta National before this week. He shot 74 yesterday that leaves him tied for 39th with, among others, Jim Furyk and Sergio Garcia.

Steven is not a native Texan but like a lot of us he got here as quick as he could, and he has put down roots in North Texas.  So if you are looking for someone to root for this weekend, how about this local boy made good?  How about Steven Bowditch?

As for me, sorry Tiger I will never root for you to win again.  I’ll be rooting for Steven.  

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John Rhadigan has called Texas home for nearly 25 years, having spent 11 years at NBC 5 as a sports reporter/anchor and 13 years as an anchor at Fox Sports SW. Rhadigan is the recipient of more than a dozen Emmy Awards for sports reporting and anchoring.