It was a weird feeling there being no patrons at The Masters in 2020

How much did the Masters miss the patrons?

Unless you are the NFL or the MLB commissioner or a future Hall of Fame quarterback or the other half of a player, then you weren’t getting into the grounds of Augusta National this year for The Masters.

The very golf tournament, away from the Ryder Cup, that relies on the roars and oohs and aahs when leaderboards slowly turn over was basically played to a backdrop of silence and, to add to the overall weirdness, in mid November.

So no flowering shrubs and no noise. Players talked about being held up by waiting for other groups on different holes and the 1st and 10th tee shots had to be played alternately so as not to get in each other’s way. Now they could see across to other parts of the course and the funnel-like feel to each hole had gone.

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On Monday Justin Thomas didn’t bother skipping balls at the 16th as there didn’t seem much need to without anyone there to goad them on – “Tiger and Fred (Couples) didn’t really want to and I kind of do whatever they say around this place.”

Dustin Johnson did the same the following day. Imagine the noise that might have greeted Jon Rahm’s hole-in-one after his Barnes Wallis heroics.

Away from the really big noises it’s the little ones that help make the Masters what it is. The smattering of applause to welcome the players to the 12th tee helps build the anticipation ahead of one of the key shots of your day or even career – this year the players were hitting from a bare piece of land.

We’ve known this was coming but it still couldn’t prepare us for the strangeness of it all. When Bryson DeChambeau pitched out from the undergrowth at the 11th on Thursday and almost hit a couple of other halves it looked more like a club match where a couple of kindly members had come out to show a bit of support.

DeChambeau thought that it might play into his hands as his extraordinary lines off the tee meant that he would be hitting into where the patrons were – in the end that didn’t seem to be a factor.

But, while nobody, particularly the local bars, restaurants, hotels and touts, will likely want this to be repeated it did mean that Phil Mickelson could get to spend a bit more time with his wife Amy.

“To be able to see her out here and have her on holes that she’s never been able to see before, like 12 and 13, is an experience of a lifetime for both of us,” explained the three-time champion.

Phil Mickelson and Amy Mickelson

 Phil Mickelson of the United States and wife Amy Mickelson walk together during the first round of the Masters at Augusta National Golf Club on November 12, 2020 in Augusta, Georgia. (Photo by Rob Carr/Getty Images)

One of the year’s defining images is of the new champion raising his hands on the 18th tee to a backdrop of elated faces, this year we had Johnson not even putting out last before the briefest of hugs with his brother.

Maybe we got the perfect winner in that, if anyone on the planet won’t be too bothered about missing out on that special moment it is Johnson. Good on him.

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