There has been a lot of chat about the length of the rough at Augusta National
Is the rough longer than usual at The 2020 Masters?
The two statements read the same, word for word: ‘Our fairways are mowed at 3/8 inch, the second cut at 1 3/8 inch, the tees at 5/16 inch, the collars at 1/4 inch, and the greens at 1/8 inch. All mowings are subject to weather conditions and growth.”
The dates on the statements are Monday, April 8, 2019 and Monday, November 9, 2020.
But what we saw on day one looked very different to what we’ve seen in previous years. The official line is that Augusta National doesn’t do or even call it ‘rough’, the second cut will suffice here. It’s all about the angles and speed of the greens.
Bu surely this was a much juicier National than normal? At the 1st the ball would nestle down to the left of the fairway, the same to the right of the 5th.
How many times did we see the players hit approaches from the right of the 7th fairway, likewise the 11th? Tiger Woods pushed his drive slightly there and a whole load of cabbage came up as he tried, successfully, to feed the ball out of the second cut.
When have we ever seen such a shot like that?
We know the men of the Masters are prone to saying one thing and quietly doing another. Over the years tees have mysteriously moved back without any notable changes to the scorecard, trees have popped up and green complexes relaid.
After his round Tiger Woods explained that, yes, it is higher than ever and not just a figment of our imaginations but it’s more down to the recent poor weather than any grand plan.
“They haven't been able to put mowers on it, and yeah, it is high. The guys that drive the ball in the rough, if you have a down grain lie, yeah, you can get to the green, maybe even control it, but when the grain is sitting down, there's really no chance, so you're going to have to rely on short game and angles.”
One player who knows a thing or two about playing from rough is three-time champion Phil Mickelson. His take is that the lack of any patrons has had an effect and that it might play into the hands of those who are a bit wayward, not that the ball is running very far yet.
“I actually think that the lack of people will keep that first cut a little bit higher and prevent some of the balls running through into the trees that might have gone in in years past. But I don't think it's going to play much different.”
Or maybe the mind just plays tricks and there has been a bit more ‘second cut’ than we remember and the April date and beaming sunshine has dulled our memories a little?
Rory McIlroy told us this in April 2019: “Usually the ball comes spinning out of the rough, and just being that little bit longer, you get flyers, basically. I've had a few flyers this week. But you just don't have control of your ball and you’re sort of be guessing. To guess what distance your ball is going to go around here is never a good scenario.”
All being well we’ll get the weather to hopefully see some of those flyers.
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