Taylor delights in his Masters return after lean times

Mon Apr 4, 2016 5:41pm EDT
 
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By Mark Lamport-Stokes

AUGUSTA, Georgia (Reuters) - A year ago, Augusta resident Vaughn Taylor attended the Masters as a fan with his wife and young son, not sure if he would ever return to the iconic venue as a player because of his poor form.

This week, however, the elated American journeyman is back to compete in his fourth Masters after ending a PGA Tour title drought of more than a decade with a one-shot victory over Phil Mickelson at the Pebble Beach National Pro-Am in February.

"It's been a great feeling," Taylor, 40, told reporters at a sun-splashed Augusta National on Monday. "I came out yesterday and just found myself in a really, really good mood, I was upbeat. Just feels great to be on the grounds.

"Still a little jittery, but it's good. I'm having fun and, you know, I just really, really appreciate being back."

Taylor produced an explosive finish with five birdies after the turn to clinch victory at Pebble Beach two months ago, earning a coveted spot at the Masters with his first PGA Tour win since the 2005 Reno-Tahoe Open.

He had not played a full season on the PGA tour since 2012 while bouncing between that and the satellite Web.com tour over the past three seasons, and his last Masters appearance was in 2008 when he missed the cut.

"It was one of those when-you-least-expect-it moments," Taylor said of his Pebble Beach breakthrough. "It seemed to take a long time to turn around.

"And it turned around quickly in one week (at Pebble Beach). Just tells me, never give up. Always believe, always believe in yourself, no matter what your game feels like or where you're at playing and what's going on.   Continued...

 
PGA golfer Vaughn Taylor reacts to making a birdie putt on the 16th hole to go 17 under par which resulted in being the winning putt during the final round of the AT&T Pebble Beach National Pro-Am at Pebble Beach Golf Links. Mandatory Credit: Brian Spurlock-USA TODAY Sports