Friday, April 6, 2012

2012 Masters golf tournament - The 'Green' Masters

Feeling fortunate to be at The 2012 Masters

            Early spring in Augusta, Georgia brings the world-renowned Masters Tournament. This week signifies the PGA Tour’s first major championship of the year, but it also brings a glimpse of a more genteel competition. Southern hospitality is shared for one week by the Masters patrons who are invited onto the hallowed grounds of Augusta National, setting up a memorable ending on Easter Sunday.
            The Augusta National golf course is set on what used to be a garden nursery. Bobby Jones said this ground was a golf course waiting to happen, and the lay out continues to be awe-inspiring today. The hilly terrain allows for difficult shots such as elevated tee shots to sloping greens. Seeing the golf balls roll on the greens is like watching a slippery eel moving across the dock.
            The Thursday and Friday rounds are played with the entire field of invitees. After two days of competition the players will be paired down by half with those who make the cut allowed to play over the weekend. Saturday is billed as moving day, the day that a potential winner may try to seize the lead. However, most years it is evident that the Masters begins on the back nine holes on Sunday.
A depiction of Amen Corner
            The Masters is well known for having the most knowledgeable gallery in golf. The towering pines and hillsides tend to amplify the oohs and aahhs that accompany stellar golf play, and it is impressive that these loud gasps can be followed with utter silence as the next player prepares to putt.
            Remember, that seven live video channels will also be available on the Internet at “We take great pride in our efforts to grow the game’s visibility,” said Billy Payne, Chairman of Augusta National.
            The Masters has a trademark series of holes known as Amen Corner, which is just one of the accents that keep this tournament known as the best in the world. The South is fortunate to have this beacon of golfing excellence in her backyard and for that we should all say Amen.

Report from Augusta National for Friday, April 6, 2012:

Masters peanuts and 2012 guide for patrons

2012 Honorary Staters - photo courtesy The Masters
            A remarkably cool 55-degree morning greeted Masters patrons in Augusta on Friday, with blustery winds and a heavy overcast sky. The threat of rain did not materialize for Friday's round of golf, but the weather did affect the gallery - since NO sundresses were spotted! Also, the famous azalea and dogwood landscape at Augusta National was completely absent, save for a few dried up pink blossoms - as the spring green up in 2012 did not wait for the Masters tournament to arrive. Staking out a spot in the bleachers next to the 4th green, which was out of the wind, I witnessed half of the player field test themselves against this par-three hole and maybe saw two birdies in two hours! In that same time period the clouds parted, the sun came out and the earth warmed up nicely. Switching over to Hole No. 16 to watch the field play through, I found the green to be very receptive and witnessed a bundle of birdies. Things got a bit more interesting as Tiger's group approached the 16th green when Lutilda Woods sat down next to me in the side gallery area. Woods' tee shot on 16 found the front bunker - which was a miscue since the green was so receptive - and his mother never flinched. She stayed to watch Tiger put and collect a bogey at the par-three hole, and I wanted to tell her that Tiger's chip-in on No. 16 in 2005 was the single most electric moment I have witnessed at the Masters. The day finished up without any major drama, but the groundwork for the weekend of golf ahead had been layed shot by shot by the players. The patrons lucky enough to be on the grounds Saturday and Easter Sunday are in for a real treat in what I am calling 'The Green Masters' since the usual spring flowers were already wearing a 'green jacket.'

To view past blog entries about The Masters click here.

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