Former Masters champion looks forward to this years tournament - Cincinnati News, FOX19-WXIX TV

Former Masters champion looks forward to this years tournament

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AUGUSTA, GA (WFXG) -

Thousands of people crowded into the Augusta Common Monday evening for the 15th Annual Mayor's Reception.

Golf fans at the event strained to snap pictures and get the autograph of former Masters champion Craig Stadler.

The 1982 champion started off the biggest week in golf with city officials who honored him with a key to the city.

"I'm very honored and very lucky to be a part of this today," Stadler, said.

The course has changed quite a bit since Stadler won a green jacket 31 years ago.

"They added about 650 yards and all of us old guys are getting shorter, that's pretty good for starters. The greens are harder than they used to be; they don't hold as well," he said.

Stadler didn't say who he thinks will be this year's champion; but he says no matter who it is the Masters Tournament will be good.

"You're going to have your usual suspects up there, I guarantee it, maybe a couple others, but it will be good, always is," said Stadler.

Since everyone isn't able to see the players on the green, Stephanie Neal said,"It's a great event for those who can't make it inside the gate."

Neal says it's also a great opportunity to get that long-waited for signature and picture.

"I followed his career for many, many years," said fan Jim Thomson.

So for the fans and Stadler, this year's Masters Tournament is starting out on the right foot.

"Been a great week already and it hasn't even started," Stadler, said.

Stadler doesn't know if he will play in this year's Masters Tournament yet. He says his foot is injured so he will rest for several days and decide on Wednesday if he'll play.

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