PGA Tour Rookie of the Year for 2022, Cameron Young went against everything you’d ever have thought and after only playing two rounds in his first Masters last year, did less preparation this time out and then went and put himself into T4 place (at time of writing) after day one of the 87th Masters.
Young, who as recently as the Dell Match Play, hired one of the Tour’s most experienced caddies, Paul Tesori and is obviously delighted with the new dynamic. Tesori of course caddied for Webb Simpson since 2011 in all seven of his PGA Tour victories including the US Open and the Players Championship. He also caddied for Vijay Singh and Jerry Kelly before that and was briefly a PGA Tour player before turning caddy – so he has some pedigree.
“I think he brings a lot to the table. I think it’s helped me personally let go of the bad stuff that happens out there. He’s just so positive and energetic.
“It’s hard for me to think about lingering on something that — or dwelling on something that’s happened. It’s really easy just to move on, and I think that’s something that’s really helpful out here.
“I’ve been around him a ton. It’s just very comfortable. We talked a lot this last week, just kind of as I practiced at home. Then there’s a lot of prep once we got here.
“It’s been good. We’ve kept busy. I think just the more time we spend around each other, the better we communicate and kind of the more efficient we are.”
And as for lessons from 2022 or the practice plan leading to the tournament? Young admits that he’s adopted a less is more style of strategy to The Masters this year and it’s clearly paying dividends.
“I did way less. Way less this year than last year. I was here Sunday midday last year. This year I came in Monday about 3:00, played — I don’t even remember how many holes we played. Maybe nine or five. I think we played like five holes on Monday. Then 13 or 14 on Tuesday, and then nine on Wednesday.
“I did a lot less practice onsite. I kind of did my work at home and came here really just to hit some putts and chip around the greens a little bit and get comfortable with the tee shots. But I didn’t do anywhere near as much as I did last year.
“Last year I feel like that kind of bled into all the other majors last year. This was the only one that I really like tried harder, and it went really poorly. So I decided not to do that again.”
And who can blame him after opening with three birdies before a bogey at the par-3 sixth. He birdied the 10th, went bogey-birdie on 12 and 13 before back-to-back birdies on 15 and 16 got him to -5 (67). And Young attributed his good start to being more comfortable around the property and not being afraid of it as he was in 2022.
“I think comfort level is like the main thing. I was afraid to go hit the first tee shot last year, and this year it wasn’t at all the same. I’m just a lot more comfortable.
“Last year I didn’t understand how anybody made a birdie out here. This year I kind of just got off to obviously a nice start and was really comfortable the whole day.
“Your first one, it’s hard not to (be reverent). You’re standing on the 1st tee at the Masters, it’s a different kind of thing than any other tournament. But the more you can approach it like it’s not different, I think, is a good thing. I’ve been able to do that pretty well.”
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