‘Couldn’t believe it was real’: Gordon Sargent talks special invite to Masters, upcoming spring season

Gordon Sargent met with the media on Tuesday morning to discuss his Masters invite, upcoming season and more.


Vanderbilt Athletics

Gordon Sargent addresses the media on January 18, 2023 (Vanderbilt Athletics).

Bryce Smith, Sports Editor

Vanderbilt sophomore golfer Gordon Sargent addressed the media on Tuesday afternoon to discuss his special invite to the Masters Tournament and his team’s upcoming spring season.

Sargent, who won the NCAA individual championship as a freshman in 2022, was invited to compete in the Masters on Jan. 5. He is the first amateur golfer to be invited to the prestigious tournament since 2000.

“I was told I couldn’t tell anybody,” Sargent said. “I don’t think he [head coach Scott Limbaugh] believed me for a couple of days. I was a little caught off guard by the call, but it’s really cool.”

Sargent mentioned that he didn’t recognize the phone number when the call from Augusta National came. After picking up the phone, he learned he would be granted a special exemption to compete in the tournament.

Gordon Sargent hits a tee shot as coach Scott Limbaugh watches. (Photo courtesy of Vanderbilt Athletics)

“It means a lot to be able to represent Vanderbilt and amateur golf at the Masters,” Sargent said. “Just to be able to have that opportunity to play is really special.”

The sophomore also mentioned that he has played the famed course once before, in eighth grade. Even still, Sargent expects nerves when he steps up the tee box in April.

“I won’t be as star-struck, since it’s not my first time,” Sargent said. “Obviously the Masters that week is going to be a little bit different — more surreal. Having not played it super recently, I’ll hopefully get a trip out there maybe beginning of spring break to try and get my eye on the course.”

Scott Limbaugh and the rest of the Vanderbilt team are planning to watch Sargent as he competes at Augusta. Sargent isn’t letting the selection distract him from his team’s season, however.

“My first tournament is two and a half weeks from now, so we’re all focused on that now,” Sargent told the media. “If we want to be where we want to be in the end, we’re going to have to play well in the spring, so just focusing on that and each and every day trying to get a little bit better.”

Sargent is the first Vanderbilt player to compete in the tournament since John Augenstein in 2020.

“You’re going there to try and play well, but you’re going to learn so much there,” Sargent said. “Especially with that experience and trying to figure out how to handle nerves — because you’re not going to have had any nerves like that: first day at the Masters.”

Vanderbilt Men’s Golf will kick off its season in just over two weeks on Feb. 5 at the John Hoyt Intercollegiate in Ponte Verda Beach, Florida. The Masters Tournament at Augusta National will take place from April 6-9.