Masters 2022: Korn Ferry Tour star Ryan McCormick on Tiger Woods' inspirational journey, mystique of Augusta

Korn Ferry Tour star Ryan McCormick is sure he’ll be on the same course some day playing against the likes of Tiger Woods, Jon Rahm, Scottie Scheffler and Justin Thomas instead of watching as a spectator. 

McCormick is 18th in the most recent Korn Ferry Tour points standings after recently missing the cut at the Club Car Championship at The Landings Club. But like most golf fans this week, he’s keeping an eye on the Masters in hopes of one day playing the course.

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The 30-year-old New Jersey native, who was a star on the high school scene before attending St. John’s University, told Fox News Digital in a recent interview it’s exciting knowing Woods is about to play in a high-level competition for the first time since 2020. There’s something about Augusta that’s indescribable, he added.

Ryan McCormick of the United States prepares to play a shot on the 6th hole during the final round of the Astara Golf Championship at Country Club de Bogota Feb. 13, 2022, in Bogotá, Colombia.

Ryan McCormick of the United States prepares to play a shot on the 6th hole during the final round of the Astara Golf Championship at Country Club de Bogota Feb. 13, 2022, in Bogotá, Colombia. (Buda Mendes/Getty Images)

“I’ve been down to Augusta to watch it, and it’s one of the weeks out of the year I think anybody who plays golf even a little bit is tuned in. It’s just kind of a magical place to see, and it’s an awesome event,” McCormick said. “I’ll watch this week, of course, and would love to play there in the future.”

Woods will be playing the Masters after suffering devastating leg injuries in a February 2021 car crash. McCormick said Woods’ influence goes beyond what most see on TV.

“I think what he’s doing is inspiring to anybody. The guy is amazing, man. I think all of the players there are amazed at him,” McCormick told Fox News Digital. “I’m at the age where basically all these guys, and even younger than me, have grown up watching Tiger their whole life, and he’s inspired this whole generation of players that are playing now on the PGA Tour and professionally.

“It’s amazing to see even over the course of my career how the game has changed, and I think everybody who plays professionally owes a great deal to Tiger, the exposure that he’s put into the game and the amount of money and people on TV and media that’s involved now. It’s completely different than 25 years ago when he won the Masters in ’97. That’s because of him.

Tiger Woods tees off at the 18th hole during a practice round for the Masters golf tournament Wednesday, April 6, 2022, in Augusta, Ga.

Tiger Woods tees off at the 18th hole during a practice round for the Masters golf tournament Wednesday, April 6, 2022, in Augusta, Ga. (AP Photo/David J. Phillip)

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“Everything that I’m working for to play the PGA Tour and everything – those opportunities wouldn’t be there. They wouldn’t be the way that they are now if not for him. He’s just like one of the most inspiring people of all time and what he’s doing right now is just unbelievable.”

Tiger Woods walks on the 15th fairway during a practice round for the Masters golf tournament Wednesday, April 6, 2022, in Augusta, Ga.

Tiger Woods walks on the 15th fairway during a practice round for the Masters golf tournament Wednesday, April 6, 2022, in Augusta, Ga. (AP Photo/Robert F. Bukaty)

The eighth-year golf pro also shed some light on what it’s like being at Augusta – even as a spectator.

“It’s just one of those places that … it’s hard to explain,” he told Fox News Digital. “I would say the first thing, like on TV, you can’t see or appreciate the amount of slope that is there. Watching the telecast, it’s hard to appreciate how up and down and hilly that place is. That’s one of the impressive things about Tiger playing this week as well is that place is the hardest walk all year for any professional.

“It just has this aura about it. You walk around, and you feel like it’s just like being at Disneyland for golf. There’s just kind of like a mystique about the place. It’s beautiful. It’s literally just walking around in a picture. It’s that beautiful there. It’s just one of those places that walking around there is just so cool. It doesn’t even matter who you see or what golf you even watch. It’s just an unbelievable place to be.”

A general view of the leader board next to the first fairway during a practice round prior to the Masters at Augusta National Golf Club April 4, 2022, in Augusta, Ga.

A general view of the leader board next to the first fairway during a practice round prior to the Masters at Augusta National Golf Club April 4, 2022, in Augusta, Ga. (Andrew Redington/Getty Images)

The Masters starts Thursday and continues into Sunday. The first group with Jose Maria Olazabal and J.J. Spaun is set to tee off at 8 a.m. ET.

Driving toward the PGA

The Korn Ferry Tour serves as a developmental tour for the PGA Tour and gives young golfers a chance to break into the highest level of the sport. Those who finish in the top 25 on the Korn Ferry Tour earn PGA Tour cards with more golfers being able to qualify during the Korn Ferry Tour finals at the end of the season.

McCormick was close to getting the card last season until COVID derailed his chance. He told Fox News Digital he’s optimistic about this year’s run.

“Last season, I was able to make it to the finals. I was like 65th on the regular-season points list, so I was able to get to the finals, and I was 26th going into the last finals event and I got COVID,” he said. “I was about a week away from I would say probably a top 25 finish from getting one of the PGA Tour cards. All of that happened like August, September. That was the last week of the season.”

Despite having an up-and-down last few weeks, McCormick believes he’s capable of reaching his dream of playing on the PGA Tour and competing at the highest level.

Ryan McCormick reacts during the second round of the Lake Charles Championship at Country Club at Golden Nugget March 25, 2022, in Lake Charles, La.

Ryan McCormick reacts during the second round of the Lake Charles Championship at Country Club at Golden Nugget March 25, 2022, in Lake Charles, La. (Jonathan Bachman/Getty Images)

“For me, I kind of know that my game is plenty good enough to compete at the highest level, and I just kind of need to stay the course and just get a little bit better every day. I feel good about my chances.”

The next event on the Korn Ferry Tour is the Veritex Bank Championship April 13-16 at the Texas Rangers Golf Club in Arlington.

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