Book Excerpt: Two Roads To Augusta
Two Roads To Augusta, by Ben Crenshaw and Carl Jackson with Melanie Hauser, focuses on the friendship of Crenshaw and his caddie, who came from different backgrounds but became best friends and ultimately teamed up to win two Masters titles. Here is an excerpt from the book, published by The American Golfer, which focuses on Crenshaw’s second Masters win in 1995 after the death of his mentor Harvey Penick.
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By Melanie Hauser
That Sunday afternoon, Harvey sent Ben to the garage to poke around for an old Gene Sarazen putter he kept in his bag, then watched Ben stroke a few imaginary putts next to Harvey’s bed. Those hands had a magic to them anytime they gripped a putter – no pair of hands looked better.
He watched Ben swing and reminded him about feel. Harvey knew all Ben had to do was trust, and he reinforced that for about 30 minutes.
When Ben got up to leave, Harvey didn’t hold out his hand. Instead, Ben put his hand on Harvey’s and kissed him on the forehead.
“I love you Harvey,” Ben said.
Harvey struggled to look up.
“I love you too, Ben.”
The following Sunday night [April 2, 1995], Ben and Julie were in the Trophy Room at Augusta National, having dinner with Jack Stephens and Pat Summerall, when Club Maitre d’ Arthur Williams handed Julie a note that said “Call Tom or Christy Kite.”
She knew before she ever dialed Christy’s number. She could feel it. Harvey was gone.
“I wasn’t going to let Ben hear it on the phone,” Julie said. “I called Christy and got the details, then I went in and pulled him aside.
“We went out on the porch and I told him. We stood there and cried. It was really bad for about 15 minutes, but then we regained our composure and went back in.”
“I think all of us (who knew Harvey),” Ben said, “whenever we left Austin, we knew it could happen, and we hated the thought that we might be away.”
It helped to have friends there who let Ben talk about how much Harvey had meant to his family and his game, how much he’d be missed. It may have helped, too, that he wasn’t in Austin because he was away from the emotions there and was able to deal with his feelings by himself.
Everyone wondered how Ben and Tom would deal with Harvey’s death. While they were making travel arrangements to Austin Wednesday morning to attend the funeral, those who knew them assumed Kite might be the one who handled it best; Ben, they thought, would get swept up in his emotions.
It was just the opposite.
Tom missed the cut. And Ben? He honored the man who guided his career with an unbelievable week and a Masters win from his heart.
Ben’s Sunday tee time wasn’t until 2:41 p.m., and when Charlie pulled into the rental house driveway, Team Crenshaw was having a pine-cone chipping contest. The first thing Charlie noticed was how calm his little brother was.
“He just looked at me with a smile and said, ‘Let’s go see what happens.’ He just got in that zone.”
They were all talking when suddenly Ben stopped in mid-sentence and walked down the driveway. He stood there alone for 40 minutes.
Ben thought about the day that was in front of him. He thought about Harvey. He allowed himself to be still and silent, to let that peace he’d been feeling all week wash over him.
“I said a silent prayer,” he said, looking back on that day. “I prayed for strength, no matter what the outcome.”
His voice cracked as he tried to finish the thought and he paused to wipe away the tears. Seventeen years later, his emotions were about to get the best of him again.
“I prayed to accept whatever the day would bring.”
He struggled with the words, then excused himself and walked away to regain his composure. Ben had thought about that moment so many times over the years, but this was the first time in a very long while he allowed himself to feel it.
That Sunday, Harvey was on his mind too. Ben had the feeling he was with him. By late that afternoon, he was convinced his old friend and mentor was his 15th club.