Player Confidential: What would keep a pro from playing at the Masters?

AP Photo/Charlie Riedel

Every golfer dreams of what it would be like to play at the Masters. We've all heard the stories of what pros feel when that envelope shows up in their mailbox on a fall afternoon. But what would it take for a player not to go to Augusta National?

In this special Masters edition of Player Confidential, we thought we'd have a little fun, so I asked that exact question: What would Augusta National Golf Club have to do for you not to play in the Masters?

Some players were contemplative, and others had no choice but to resort to humor; but either way, the expressions on some of their faces as they pondered the question were even better than their answers.

Here we go:

  • "I've done three full interviews today and that's the best question I got all day."

  • "Not give me an invitation. Other than that? They would have to talk bad about my mom. ... Yeah, just say something bad about my mom and we're done. You're dead to me."

  • "Nothing. I'm going no matter what. Maybe if they stopped playing it at Augusta National?"

  • "Not have a purse."

  • "Would there still be FedEx Cup points? [Response from Collins: Sure, yes.] Then, yeah, if they covered my expenses, I'd still play, because it's the Masters! And because what you'd get would be above and beyond the $1.8 million you could have won."

  • "I'm going to go out on a limb here ... make a standardized golf ball."

  • "It's the Masters! I'm mean, seriously. If they told me the only way that I could play was to wear a pink tutu? Fit my fat a-- up for one!"

  • "Maybe if they punched holes in the greens the Friday before? I'd probably still play. They couldn't do anything. It's Augusta! You have got to go, don't ya?! I mean, I golf maybe three times a year away from tournaments and I think one of them would be there."

  • "Geez, I don't know. I'll definitely play for free. They're not going to screw up the golf course, that's impossible. Have you been there? That question doesn't even ... if I have to crawl 18 holes, I'll play."

  • "[Hurt] my dog. That'd be about it. [Golfer pauses.] I think I'd still play."

  • "If they designed their own golf ball? They don't get to decide that. ... Here's the tricky thing with all these majors. They make a ton of money off the players and we have no say in anything, so I'm not going to give them more power all of the sudden. I don't care about the money, it's the fact that they're going to make $150 million dollars off all of us and give us nothing in return [if there was no purse]? That's not how this works. ... If it's a charity event and I still get a green jacket, I got no problem!"

  • "Um, it would have to be probably be something highly offensive in some sort of racial or discriminatory fashion, or something pretty extreme to where being associated with the event would kind of make you a party to that. I would have to be something along those lines."

  • "I wouldn't play if they decided to make their own rules compared to what we play every day out on tour. I wouldn't play if there was no purse. Everyone is enamored with Augusta, I'm not one of those kind of guys. I think Augusta is cool, I think it's a cool course, but there are certain things I just don't like about Augusta. It's a little too "uppity." I feel like I'm walking on eggshells there and it's not anything mean and I don't think they try to make it like that. I just come from a different kind of background. Not that I'm going to be disrespectful, I'm not trying to be disrespectful to the game at all. People ask me all time, 'Have you gone up and played Augusta?' and I said, 'No.' Then they're like, 'You going to go and practice?' I said, 'No. Honestly, I don't want to go there to practice. The vibe is different for me."

  • "Give me a sec to think about it ... that's a ridiculously tough question! All right, I would say, not much. There's really almost nothing you can do to make me not want play in the Masters. But if there was one thing, it would be somewhat of standardizing clubs and making them all the same. Like you said with the golf ball. I think that would be a big deterrent of uniqueness and playability in the nature of the competitive spirit of the game. ... I'd be like, 'Look, everybody is unique and different in their own way and that's what makes golf the game it is today.' I would have a tough time with that. But let's be honest I probably still would play." [Busts out laughing.]

  • "Raise the price of a chicken sandwich to $5." [Response from Collins: I don't believe you.] "C'mon, man, it's $1.50 -- that's the best thing about the place! Get rid of the Sonic out on Washington Road?"

  • "Within reason, there's nothing they could do to prevent me from playing. That's a silly question, man. That's a silly question! ... Politically, there's nothing. Socially, there's nothing. There's nothing. I'm shameless. You know, politically, just because I'm playing in a tournament, their views would not be my views. ... If it just was an exhibition, I'd still play. And I take a PGA Tour event off to do it. Take the green jacket away. That's how special that place is."

  • "Can we say there's no possible way they could do anything that wouldn't allow us?"