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Apr. 7—Aiken native Kevin Kisner is playing in his sixth straight Masters tournament this week and shared some insights and background during a virtual Aiken Chamber of Commerce event Wednesday.
In a pre-recorded interview, Kisner spoke about growing up in Aiken and the experience of playing at Augusta National Golf Course.
Kisner's parents moved into Woodside on the 7th tee when he was young.
"So, right in my backyard was a golf course, kind of my playground," Kisner said.
Kisner said he and his friends spent their summers out on the golf course and enjoying the other amenities in the community, including swimming and playing tennis.
During his high school golf career at South Aiken High, Kisner had a great senior season and said he received numerous offers to play Division 1 golf, before ultimately choosing to play at the University of Georgia.
At UGA, Kisner said he had great freshman and sophomore seasons, before seeing his play decline during his last two years.
"When I finished my senior year, I wasn't (in) the condition to go straight to competing on the PGA Tour," Kisner said. "I actually came back to Aiken and worked a couple months for my dad in the construction business."
Kisner said he quickly realized that the construction business wasn't for him, and got back into golf. He did some mini tours and was "off and running" from there.
Talking about the Masters, Kisner had nothing but praise for the tournament.
"It was very surreal, especially being able to do it in front of so many friends and family," Kisner said. "It was just a great, great experience that I'll never forget.
"I haven't had the most success in the world over there," Kisner continued. "It's a very difficult golf course for me, but it's still a treat to get to go back."
The 2020 edition of the Masters was different than prior years, as there were no patrons allowed at the event and the tournament was held in November. Kisner described the atmosphere as "eerie" and said he's glad fans will be allowed this year.
At the conclusion of the interview, Kisner was asked which course he would play and with whom if he could pick anything and anyone. Kisner's course choice was Augusta National because of "how near and dear it is to what my whole life has been about, growing up in the CSRA."
His choice of person, however, was a bit unexpected.
"I'd probably pick Jesus Christ, ask him all kinds of questions on how to pull off those shots that I have no idea how to do," Kisner said. "I think if anybody can do it, he can."