After a pause, however, Pohl tells the truth: "Of course, in the same breath you think, Damn! How many times do you get a chance to win the Masters?"
That was it for Pohl. He tied for eighth a year later but never contended again in five trips to Augusta. By the late 1980s his back was in full rebellion: He needed a five-hour operation to repair damage done by a chipped vertebra. By the time he left the game in 2009, he'd had 11 surgeries.
But as he ticks off the corporate outings and course design and business ventures that have come his way since he stopped competing—"I'm not changing my spots so much as I'm adding spots to my coat"—he sounds ... energized, vital, happy.
Three decades after the fact, Stadler is asked how winning a major—that major—changed his life. Befitting the face of ShankMeister.com he steers clear of anything that might be construed as profundity. "The phenomenal thing about it is, I can go back to play Augusta National whenever I want," he says. "It's a wonderful opportunity."
Sitting on the patio, he crunches some numbers in his head, then concludes that he has played the course around 150 times. At 58 he knows there will come a time when tournament officials will take away his Masters invitation. He hasn't made the cut since 2007, has been a stranger to the top 25 since 1992. But he'll be back again next week, teeing it up for the 36th time.
"And it's still incredibly cool," he says, "turning onto Magnolia Lane."