In his first official practice round at Augusta National, Graham DeLaet got in a great cram session, playing 18 holes alongside Mike Weir.
As they walked off the first tee, Weir opened his book of course knowledge to his fellow Canadian, telling him to ask him about anything and everything.
For the next four hours, the two talked about the humps and bumps and hills and swales of the famed course, with DeLaet trying to drink in as much information as he could ahead of Thursday's opening round.
"It was nice to have Mike kind of showing me around," said DeLaet. "He was giving me guidance on a few things that other players had given him, guys like Jack (Nicklaus) and Freddy (Couples) and stuff along the way. That's one of the cool things out here that guys kind of pass things along. You go to a regular tournament and guys kind of keep things secretive. But for whatever reason, out here you just kind of pass the torch along. Any time I asked, he was more than happy to point out a few things along the way I wouldn't have known about."
And few people know the course better than Mike Weir, who is making his 15th start here this week. However, the 2003 champion cautioned DeLaet that many of his references were specific for his game, not the long-bombing power style that the Weyburn, Sask., native plays.
"I wasn't overloading him because our games are so different," said Weir, who thrilled fans by jarring in his tee shot on the 16th hole during the round. "He has more power, hitting shorter irons into greens, while I'm probably playing more for position. He can be more aggressive. I told him to be mindful of that. I'm telling him out how I play it because I'm back there hitting a four-iron."
For DeLaet, the chance to play at Augusta National with Weir was more than an exercise in local knowledge, it was also the chance to play with one of his golfing idols. In 2007, when he teed it up in the Canadian Open for the first time, DeLaet managed to get his picture taken with the lefthanded star. It's a picture he keeps hanging on his wall at home to this day.
"He was the guy I looked to when I was a kid," admitted DeLaet. "Now I call him my friend. Going around here, the respect he gets from the crowd – and rightfully so – is pretty cool."
Now DeLaet has to take all the information and put it to use. His caddy, Julien Trudeau – who also raved about the details Weir passed on – said he and his boss will sit down and formulate a game plan for their opening round.
That game plan will also try to take into account the butterflies that will undoubtedly be in DeLaet's stomach when he gets set to start his first Masters.
"I know that I'm going to be nervous, I'm nervous at the Byron Nelson tournament," he stated. "I do have a couple of majors under my belt now which is going to help a little bit but I don't know exactly what I'm going to feel like on (the first tee) on Thursday but I'm looking forward to it."