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Masters Mysteries

AUGUSTA, Ga. -- Theres simply no truth to the rumor that Augusta employs thousands of elves underground to suck the water from its lush and emerald fairways. So mysterious is the Masters to some that it leads people to wonder.
Yes, it is wet here. Very wet. But its a sophisticated subterranean system and a dry weekend forecast which will have Jones cathedral ready and rolling, not minions of the miniature. And while there may be much we dont know about the inner workings of the private mens club, the aim is so much more simplistic than so many would have you believe.
They want to stage the best golf tournament in the world. And in the eyes of many, they succeed.
Its the history, said John Cook. You drive in the gates and you know whats happened here in the '30s and '40s and '50s, who won and who lost and how they did it.
Its awesome, marveled three- time Masters champ Gary Player, referring to the springtime splendor. Beautys a thing of joy forever.
Unfortunately, the azaleas have been shrouded in a gray, soupy sky. For the first time since 1983, the Monday practice round was cancelled. Long term, the consensus is that the softer the golf course is, the shorter the list of contenders becomes.
They already shortened the field by lengthening the course, reasoned Davis Love III.
I played it Sunday and its playing long.
Its very evident that you need to be able to hit the ball long, said Phil Mickelson.
So realistically, only Love, Els, Singh, Mickelson and a perhaps a few others have a chance to derail Tiger from yet another appointment with destiny.
I think it certainly favors someone who is hitting the ball high and long and straight, agreed Tiger.
Will he do it? Well, most every time we throw out the phrase, Nobodys ever, and then fill in the blank, or Not since, and fill in the blank, Tiger does what? He takes care of business the way Warren Buffet takes care of business.
If it happens, its just one more accomplishment which not even the great Jack Nicklaus can lay claim to. And that list is growing for Tiger.
Tiger captured three straight U.S. Amateurs. Jack won two but not in successive years. Tiger ripped off four consecutive professional major titles. Jacks high is three straight. Tiger conquered three majors in one calendar season, compared to two for Jack. Tiger at one point reeled off six straight PGA Tour victories, while Jacks high was three. In the debate as to whos the best ever, Tigers gaining ground. Quickly.
Jack, of course, slipped on the green jacket a record six times, and expects Tiger to surpass the mark someday.
Its a place that I feel very familiar with, Tiger said to a standing room only gathering of reporters. I feel as if I have a pretty good understanding of how to play each and every hole.
Woods also has given some thought as to how to play around the swirling gender controversy.
Asked if he was still passionate about breaking down barriers in the sport, Tiger replied rather succinctly, I am.
The reporter shot back, Its not been very evident.
Probably thats just your opinion, said Tiger.
Phil Mickelson declined to comment on the issue. Others, like Rich Beem, didnt hold back at all.
Hootie Johnsons position is right on, said the PGA champion.
On the subject of Hootie Johnson, the chairman rescinded the policy denying past champions a lifetime exemption.
Thats in the spirit of what Bob Jones and Cliff Roberts wanted, said Gary Player. But the player must use discretion.
Player first came to Augusta in 1957, and remembers seeing Hogan and Snead and Nelson. Jonathon Byrd arrived at his first Masters this year, and will someday tell his kids that he teed it up with Jack and Arnie and Gary. Thats tThe Masters.
Bob Jones tournament has been battered by the press over the last year. But it remains the favorite golf competition of so many players'those teeing it up this week, and those of you at home.
Elves or no elves, theres really no mystery in that.
Related Links:
  • 2003 Masters Tournament Mini-Site
  • Tournament Coverage
  • The Augusta National Membership Debate: A Chronology