Senden after Masters glory
HE GOES about his business in a quiet, unassuming way but John Senden could make plenty of noise this week at the US Masters.
The 40-year-old Brisbane native will tee up at Augusta for the third time tomorrow morning (AEST) and long-time coach Ian Triggs, who is also the club pro at Brookwater Golf Course, believes his student's game is as good as ever.
Triggs travelled to the United States last week to help prepare Senden for the event and after spending the week with him at the Shell Houston Open, Triggs is convinced his charge is ready to shine on the world stage.
"His whole game is in very good order and he's ready to play well," Triggs told the Queensland Times from his hotel room in Augusta.
"He played exceptionally well at times last week and is in solid form with both his ball striking and putting."
When asked whether Senden was a realistic chance to become the first Australian to win the famous green jacket, Triggs responded with quiet confidence.
"I don't think it's far away, actually I think he's very close. It could easy happen this coming week," Triggs said.
"He just needs to go round like it is any other tournament which is pretty difficult to do. But he's developed a lot of trust in his ability over the last 18 months."
Senden's best finish in a major tournament was a tie for fourth a the US PGA in 2007 won by Tiger Woods, but he has found a new level of consistency this year which has yielded five top-25 finishes on the US PGA Tour from just seven events.
The veteran coach believes something special is just around the corner so he has been careful not to tinker too much with Senden's game, preferring instead to draw on their 27-year relationship to keep him grounded before the event.
"I think it's very dangerous turning up at majors as a coach," Triggs said.
"The tendency is often to go too technical rather than basically help prepare the athlete mentally.
"All the technical work has been refined in the last 7-8 days in Houston.
"There is no way we'll be heading down that track anymore.
"It's now about getting a great feel for his shots and having a lot of fun with the ball.
"Our main aim is to try and get away from trying and just let the information come to you and be free-wheeling."
The trio of Senden, Triggs and nine-year caddie Josh Tassle have carefully planned 2012 to peak at the Masters.
With the caddie/golfer relationship needing to be in perfect sync for success Triggs said his role is now off the course.
"My aim was always to go into Houston and do some refinements and have him ready to play here," Triggs said.
"John's plan and my plan was to keep this preparation as low key as possible.
"This is the only tournament I can't walk the course during his preparation so my job has been on the range and off the course."
Triggs admitted he and Senden were overawed during their first two trips to Augusta but that won't be an issue this year.
"It's very different this time round," he said.
"I think the first few times all of us were pretty blown away by it all.
"This time it doesn't feel like that, we've all been here before.
"John's always had the talent to be competitive but this is the first time in his life he's starting to really believe he can do it.
"He's been on the leaderboard many, many times this year.
"He's really started to fit into that top 20-30 bracket most weeks that he plays.
"It's a matter of being in the right place at the right time and taking your chances when they come."
If Senden does manage to do what no other Australian before him has managed it will be far more than just another tournament win.
The likable Queenslander will write himself into Australian golfing folklaw and, according to Triggs, "it couldn't happen to a nicer bloke".
'I don't think it's far away, actually I think he's very close. It could easy happen this coming week'