Augusta, and some of its famous holes, looked strange on day one of the 2020 Masters
What Hole Looks Strangest Without Patrons At Augusta?
Tiger Woods has spent his entire career playing in front of thousands. When he exits a 1st tee the one guarantee of the day is that he will take bundles of fans with him.
These days, though, are very different and, while there might have been a few friends, family and special guests to share his first-round experience, it was just plain weird.
“It feels like you’re out here preparing for a Masters, not really playing in a Masters,” explained Kevin Kisner.
This year we have a two-tee start which means players having to wait for the other group to play away before they can get going.
Jon Rahm explained that he had to wait to play a chip to the 7th green as there were players on the 2nd green and 3rd tee and, if anything, there were more distractions without the patrons.
Woods put together his first bogey-free first round (68) at Augusta ever but it was all done under very different circumstances.
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“It's so different. Shane Lowry was telling me that it was pretty exciting last week to have the energy level of 200 people out there following his group.
We haven't had that this entire year. This world that we live in is not what we've had the last throughout my career, and that's something we're going to have to get used to for some time.”
One of the nice traditions of the week are the players being welcomed to the 12th tee to a smattering of polite applause, the banks halfway down the par-3 6th are usually full and the par-5 15th is normally a pure amphitheatre of drama and moving parts of players and balls dribbling back into the creek.
It’s also part of a very special corner on the property where plenty will head for. From the bank to the left of 16 you get to see the approaches to 15 as well as aspects of half a dozen other holes.
This is the atmosphere hotbed of the Masters, both on the Tuesday where players are teased into skimming balls across the water – Dustin Johnson said he didn’t bother this year as there were no fans yelling at him.
This is the perfect place to grab a beer and drink in the thrills and spills of the one of the most dramatic par 3s on the planet.
This is Tiger making the most straightforward of birdies...
Imagine how different this would have been with a packed bank of patrons? Imagine the explosion of noise that would have greeted Jon Rahm’s skimmed hole-in-one earlier in the week?
The 16th divides opinion for many. On Sunday it can play as a big plug hole but it’s electric and it’s been the stage for some incredible shots - think Jack Nicklaus’ putt in 1975 and, 30 years later, Tiger’s chip. Bobby Jones laid out Augusta with natural vantage points and this might well be the best.
For this year at least it won’t be the same but it’s still Augusta and, as we’ve been constantly reminded so far this week, a Green Jacket is still going to be handed out on Sunday night.
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