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Canadian Nick Taylor receives a master's degree after his first experiment was contaminated with Covid-19

Canadian Nick Taylor receives a master's degree after his first experiment was contaminated with Covid-19

Nick Taylor is delighted to have a mulligan in his first Masters appearance. The Abbotsford, British Columbia, native made his debut at Augusta National Golf Club in 2020.

Nick Taylor is delighted to have a mulligan in his first Masters appearance.

The Abbotsford, British Columbia, native made his first and only appearance at Augusta National Golf Club in 2020. Due to the COVID-19 pandemic, the Masters was held in November of that year, there were no fans and players could only have one person on the course in the bubble with them. In the course.

Taylor will participate in his first major championship of the men's golf season on Thursday, but this time, his entire family will be there and he will be able to enjoy the “real” Augusta experience.

“A lot of my early experiences watching golf, like Mike Weir winning the Masters in 2003, I watched that with my dad and brother in the basement,” Taylor said from his home in Arizona. “The Masters always felt like the start of the golf year back home in Canada.

“So to have everyone at the Masters is going to be very special.”

Taylor was especially excited for his children to participate in the Par 3, a Masters tradition where golfers play the short course with their families and their children wear Augusta's signature all-white aprons. His four-year-old son Charlie and 11-month-old daughter Harper had already been groomed for them.

“I think the whole experience of the week, being there and having a regular Masters tournament, is going to be something I've obviously been looking forward to since I started playing golf,” Taylor said. “After 2020, it was one of those experiences that I wish wasn't my only experience, but obviously you never know, so to be able to say I had two completely different experiences at the Masters would be pretty cool.”

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One of the highlights of the Masters experience was playing alongside Weir, from Brights Grove, Ont., the only Canadian to win the Masters or any men's major.

They were grouped together in 2020 and played a practice round with Corey Conners from Listowel, Ont., and Adam Hadwin, also from Abbotsford. PGA Tour players in Canada often practice together before events, and as usual, it's an East versus East matchup. West happened on Tuesday.

Weir reported that the Ontario duo of himself and Conners beat the Abbotsford boys.

“We had a great time,” said Weir, who captained the international team in this year's Presidents Cup. “It's always fun for me to catch up with the guys. I only get to see them twice a year.” “I'll be seeing them a little more now because I'll be traveling to some other events, but yeah, it's always fun.”

Another thing that has changed since Taylor's last Masters appearance is Taylor's ranking in the FedEx Cup. He qualified in 2020 after winning the AT&T Pebble Beach Pro-Am in February of that year, but moved up the rankings thanks to wins at the RBC Canadian Open in June and the WM Phoenix Open in February.

He is now the highest-ranked Canadian on the PGA Tour, sitting 13th in the FedEx Cup standings.

“I would say early in 2020, my form was in really good shape, after the win over Pebble and gaining some confidence,” Taylor said. “It's easy to see that years later, but you know, the COVID stretch where I was in quarantine a little bit in Canada, bouncing back and forth, my game kind of deteriorated over that time and it took a while to work my way back up.

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“I feel better now than ever. I feel like a different player than I did three and a half years ago when I was there.”

This report by The Canadian Press was first published April 10, 2024.

John Chidley-Hill, The Canadian Press

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