Architect Tom Fazio gets asked so often if he misses the roars. He confidently predicted theyll be heard on the weekend.
Tiger compared it to a U.S. Open, which is like saying you put on weight. No one wants to hear it.
After Mark OMeara channeled those positive 10-year anniversary vibes into a surprising 71, he told me that anyone 3 under come Sunday will be in the mix.
Word circulating is that one patron spent $36,000 at a merchandise shop. Tiger and Bubba arent the only heavy hitters in town.
If theres a prettier view in the sport than back of 12 tee Id love to see it.
Im blaming my editor for allowing me to write Wednesday that Zach Johnson couldnt win the Masters. My faulty thinking wouldnt register the disciplined Iowan in the same sentence as back-to-back Masters winners Jack and Tiger and Nick.
Fuzzy looked over at me as he began the torturous climb up 18 and cracked, Im kind of looking for my cart because this is a young mans golf course!
OMeara certainly enjoyed the view at Amen Corner. He birdied 11, 12 and 13.
Justin Rose put himself through strenuous two-a-days in the gym during the offseason so he could go four days at Augusta.
Freddies bid to break Players consecutive cuts made streak after opening in 76 will be a Friday story to follow closely.
Trevor Immelman came off the same superstar assembly line that produced handsome, robo-swinging types like Adam Scott and Aaron Baddely and yes, Justin Rose. They look good and behave nicely. Its time to get nasty.
Sandy Lyle channeled those positive 20-year anniversary vibes into a shocking round. By the way, his bunker shot at 18 in 88 may not be Mize memorable or Jack hair-raising, but it is unquestionably one of the greatest shots in tournament history.
Plenty of medium and shorter hitters populate the leaderboard. Accuracy now matters here. And touch always wins.
Were not suggesting yet that theyve Tiger-proofed Augusta, but he is only one for his last five here.
Were in the era now of mid-single digit winning scores ' 4 to 8 under depending on conditions.
The competition committee will likely orchestrate more raucous music with easier hole locations on Friday. The hunch is theyll separate the pretenders from the contenders with tougher ones again on Saturday and then deliver the usual Sunday punch with the traditional, juice inducing spots.
Spotted Cal Ripken, Jr. under the oak tree near the clubhouse. What was his Augusta, Fenway or Yankee Stadium?
Speaking of Fenway, you can understand the concern over the expansion here at Augusta National by considering the reaction in Boston were they to move the green monster back another 100 feet.
Words for Thought:
Historically, decisions at the Masters were never made at town hall meetings. But under Billy Payne, the Olympian power broker who resembles Hootie but manages like some new age, Google generation CEO, the Masters, with an online suggestion box, actually wants to know what you think. Before you say, Sure and the price of gas is $1.25 a gallon, keep in mind that the Masters, like the rest of America, is on a bit of a self improvement, health kick.
Take the press center, once a four alarm, unfiltered gathering of old school scribes, now smoke-free for the first time with fresh vegetables and fruit added to a menu that used to feature mostly tasty staples from a bygone artery clogging era.
Kids are now welcomed free with a badge holding adult patron, Augusta mindful not so much of creating future Tigers, but a future for a stagnant game.
The chairman assured me, though, that signature Augusta elements wont be touched.
Youll see the green monster removed from Fenway before electronic scoreboards here replace the manual variety that leave you breathless at Amen Corner when a number that matters is painstakingly posted on Sunday.
Youll see the Yankees without pinstripes before the caddies shed the white jumpsuits and McDonalds without burgers before $10 sashimi rolls bump the $1.50 pimento cheese sandwiches from the menu here.
Yet of all the quirky and wonderful traditions, the golf course itself remains the most cherished.
Even after the morning fog lifted a placid stillness, warm and pleasant, hung just as heavily into the afternoon. And while it would be hard to dampen anyones spirits in the company of such staggering beauty there was concern that like last year this long, strong spectacular layout was squeezing the life out of the field, in a vice-like U.S. Open grip with too few roars rippling across the grounds.
Ultimately, though, they arrived late in the long and satisfying day ' Poulters ace, Tigers eagle, and Roses run the highlights.
Still, when Mr. Payne checks that online suggestion box, its a good bet hell find a few politely asking him to not lose sight of the soaring eagle spirit which makes this the very best of all the tournaments. That hes listening should be signal to us all, rest easy. He understands that his mission is to challenge the modern player while preserving your love affair with the Masters.