AUGUSTA, Ga. — Steven Fox leaned up against the green railing by the practice putting green and yawned.
He needed to relax for the rest of the afternoon in preparation for today -- one of the biggest days of his life, certainly in his golfing life.
The University of Tennessee at Chattanooga senior will strike his first tee shot of the Master tournament at 10:34 along side defending champion Bubba Watson. Four-time champion Tiger Woods will be polishing his putting a few yards away and preparing for his 10:45 tee time.
"It's 85 degrees out here and the sun gets to you and I've been here since 8 in the morning," Fox said. "But I'm ready. This is the best my game has been in a while. I'm hitting it great, putting it great and chipping it good. I'm looking forward to it."
And Fox, the reigning U.S. Amateur champion, has a little more knowledge than he did entering the weekend.
Jack Nicklaus, a six-time Masters champion, spent about 30 minutes with Fox on Tuesday evening discussing topics ranging from Fox's current classes to his future professional career, and of course, the Masters.
"I asked what his favorite hole is out here, and he said, 'The hole I'm playing,'" Fox said. "I thought that was pretty good. Then I asked what's his favorite club, and he said, 'The one I'm using.'"
Fox spent the morning practicing on the range then played the back nine with fellow Augusta first-time Ted Potter Jr.
Then he spun around the par-3 course with two of the top five players in the world -- No. 4 Luke Donald and No. 5 Brandt Snedeker. Fox shot 1 under with birdies on Nos. 6 and 9 with a three-putt bogey on No. 3.
"The fans were awesome," Fox said. "They love us. Not me so much, but Brandt and Luke -- they're absolutely in love with them.
"Just during the par 3, I probably signed 300 autographs. I've probably signed close to 1,000 this week."
His Sharpie needed a rest too.
Contact David Uchiyama at email@example.com or at 423-757-6484. Follow him on Twitter at twitter.com/UchiyamaCTFP.
David Uchiyama is a sports writer at the Chattanooga Times Free Press who began his tenure here in May 2001. His primary beats are UTC athletics — specifically men’s basketball and athletic department administration — and golf, which includes coverage from the PGA Tour to youth events. He also covers other high school sports, outdoor adventures, and contributes to other sections of the newspaper when necessary. David grew up in Salinas, Calif., and began working ...