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Winds befuddle players; scores balloon Friday

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AUGUSTA, Ga. – Only at Augusta National do winds that peaked at about 15 mph on Friday cause so much trouble.

Following Day 1 at the Masters when the scoring average was 73.79 with relatively calm conditions, Friday’s average ballooned to more than 75 strokes for the field. All because the pines started to sway, but that’s the way it works at Augusta National.

“There's a lot of holes like 13, 14, 15, for example. [No.] 14 should be dead off the right, and 15 should be dead off the left,” Rory McIlory said. “But if there's a tiny variance in the wind either way, that's a massive difference. That's a 20‑yard difference.”

McIlroy also explained that the towering pine trees and hills of Augusta National have a tendency to funnel the wind in odd directions, which makes club selection – particularly around Nos. 11, 12 and 13 – so difficult.

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“If it goes a tiny bit this way or a tiny bit that way, it makes you look stupid. I hit 6‑iron on 15 today that went 25 yards over the green just because I got a tiny little bit of this, because I was playing for it to be straight across,” McIlroy said. “Small fractions make a big difference.”

Saturday’s forecast probably won’t help, with rain expected later in the day and gusts to 30 mph.