What to Watch For: The Masters
It is here.
An event that just a few months ago we did not know if we would see happen in 2020 – The Masters.
While there will be no patrons, this Masters Tournament has as many storylines as any in history.
Between Tiger’s title defense, Bryson’s dominance and the event being played in November as opposed to April.
Here are five things to watch for:
5 Things to Watch For:
5. No Patrons
As has been the case for many of the tournaments this season, there are no fans – and there will be no fans or patrons at The Masters.
The obvious thing is that it will kill the atmosphere. Players will have to create their own energy, and perhaps look at the scoreboards a little more.
“I mean, I look at the leaderboards, anyway. It’s hard to miss them out there, to be honest. I don’t mind glancing up at leaderboards. You’d be almost kidding yourself in normal circumstances if you didn’t know what was happening around you here, because if you heard a roar, you can kind of put two and two together. Yeah, I think the only time it’s really important to know is down the stretch, and so I’ve always kind of looked at leaderboards and not really tried to hide and kid myself whether I’m in front or behind,” said Adam Scott during his press conference on Monday.
Along with no fans, there are also no ropes and obviously no grand stands. This means that players could be hitting shots from places that no one has ever seen before, which could be interesting.
Tiger Woods added, “This year is going to be very different. It’s going to be stark in what we see, our sights into the greens, the energy that you hear from different roars, from different parts of the golf course.”
4. Jordan Spieth
We are going with Jordan Spieth as our number four thing to watch at this week’s Masters Tournament.
Does Spieth have a chance to win this week? It would not seem like it as he still can not find his game.
But, consider this.
Spieth has led or co led more rounds (9) than anyone else in Masters history.
He has shown some flashes this year, but has not been able to put it all together. If there is one place that he can get it together – it could be The Masters.
3. Tiger Woods
Tiger Woods enters the Masters as the defending champion.
He is seeking his 16th major and 83rd career win.
However, Woods has not been on form this season. His best finish is a tie for ninth and that was before the restart. Since then, he really has not been competitive at all.
“I haven’t put all the pieces together, and hopefully that will be this week,” Woods said during his press conference on Tuesday.
He added, “My body is feeling better than I did last year, so it was a little bit easier to hit those shots. Hopefully this year, I’ll be as consistent as I was last year. Last year, I was able to hit a lot of really good iron shots and I putted great. I had a great feel of the greens.”
One thing that Tiger does have going for him is his experience at Augusta.
He has played The Masters 23 times and missed the cut just once. He obviously has five Masters wins, a couple of runner-ups and 14 top tens.
Woods tees off at 7:55 a.m. on Thursday.
2. Augusta National
One of the big questions, maybe the biggest question, going into this week is how will Augusta National play, what will it look like?
One of those answers, we have gotten. The place looks amazing.
“Well, if you’re wondering what Augusta National looks like in November… it looks just like it does in April, to be honest,” said Poulter in a short Instagram video.
Now, for the question of how will it play? That could get tricky.
It is supposed to rain most of the week, in part due to Hurricane Eta that is near the coast of Florida. However, the Hurricane appears to be heading away from Augusta, so that is good.
Lots of rain means the course will play soft, but longer. The rough could also be gnarly.
On a Callaway Golf podcast, former Masters champ Phil Mickelson offered this as to how the course will play.
“At about 6 o’clock at night, when the wind dies and you’re going through Amen Corner, without any wind, you can be much more aggressive and not have as big a fear of the wind swirling and pulling the ball into the water on 12, and 13, and 15 and so forth. And so you have much better playing conditions the later you tee off in April,” Mickelson said.
He added, “But because it’s going to be dark by 5 o’clock, and I think we’re set for a 3 o’clock finish, that may not be the case. Because the leaders are going to be going through the back nine with swirling winds just like the rest of the field. And I think that you might see the winner come from the group that is three or four groups ahead of the final pairing this year.”
- Bryson DeChambeau
Will Bryson DeChambeau tear apart Augusta National?
DeChambeau, who might still end up with a 48-inch driver, according to Golf channel, has been dominating golf courses with his distance off the tee – and really everywhere.
“I think people are starting to see that no matter what it is, whether I do this or that or face-on putting, it’s always to try to get better, no matter what I do. There’s going to be times of failure and there’s going to be times of success,” said DeChambeau.
Earlier this week, it was reported that DeChambeau would not be using the extended driver. Apparently, it is now a game time decision.
DeChambeau is coming off a U.S. Open win in which he dominated Winged Foot, which historically has been the toughest course in the Open rotation.
“What he’s done in the gym has been incredible and what he’s done on the range and what he’s done with his entire team to be able to optimize that one club and transform his game and the ability to hit the ball as far as he has and in as short a span as he has — it’s never been done before,” said Tiger Woods.
However, it should be noted that DeChambeau has played 12 rounds in The Masters and has broken 70 just once.
That one time was last year when he shot 66 in the first round.
Now, DeChambeau has played practice rounds at Augusta recently, including on Monday with Tiger Woods and prior to that with Sandy Lyle.
According to Lyle, DeChambeau’s second shots were the following:
Hole 1. (Par 4, 445 yards): Sand wedge
Hole 2. (Par 5, 575 yards): 8-iron
Hole 3. (Par 4, 350 yards): Over green with 3-wood off tee
Hole 8. (Par 5, 570 yards): 7-iron
Hole 9. (Par 4, 460 yards): Sand wedge
Hole 10. (Par 4, 495 yards): Pitching wedge
Hole 11. (Par 4, 505 yards): 9-iron
Hole 13. (Par 5, 510 yards): 7-iron (3-wood off tee)
Hole 15. (Par 5, 530 yards): 9-iron
Hole 17. (Par 4, 440 yards): Sand wedge