Like the poets of yore often opined: when the leaves turn, the holidays are on our doorstep, and college football is in full swing, a young man’s thoughts turn to... the Masters?!? An annual rite of Spring is now right before Thanksgiving.
It’s Masters Week here at Dawg Sports. Don’t worry, just because your Georgia Bulldogs have two conference losses and little chance of making the SEC Championship doesn’t mean we will turn into a golf blog. I mean, at least not for a little while yet. So without further ado:
Tournament: The Masters Tournament, 84th edition, November 12-15, 2021
Course: Augusta National Golf Club, Augusta, GA. 7,475 yards, par 72
Purse: We don’t know yet. They might announce it, they might not. But we do know that the 2019 Masters purse was $11.5 million, and the winner (Tiger Woods) received $2,070,000. Even the guys who missed the cut received $10,000.
Defending Champ: Eldrick Tiger Woods captured his 5th Masters Green Jacket, his 15th major title, and his 81st PGA Tour victory. I was told this was covered by sports media outlets.
Fun Fact: ESPN’s College Game Day will be broadcast from Augusta National Golf Club this Saturday, 11/14 from 9:00 until noon ET. It’s been said they will set up on the par 3 course (closed this year), which is on the south side of the property, to the left of the clubhouse. It has some nice backdrops but I would think they will be near #9 green which will show the pond and is a high vantage point.
How to Watch: Thursday and Friday 1:00-5:30 on ESPN. Saturday will be 1:00-5:00 on CBS, and Sunday will be 10:00 until the conclusion, but somewhere mid-afternoon, also on CBS. There is free streaming available on the Masters app and Masters.com. They have featured group coverage, Amen Corner coverage, #15-16 coverage (par 5 and par 3, both with water), and apparently you can actually see every shot from every golfer. And all is free.
‘Dawgs in the field: 3. Kevin Kisner, Brendon Todd, and Bubba Watson.
Due to concerns over COVID-19, in March the Tournament Committee announced that the April 2020 Masters was postponed until, well, now. So we’ve got the Masters being played in football season for the first time ever. And if you don’t think there are college football fans amongst the ANGC membership, then I have got a bridge over the Augusta Canal that just came on the market.
What will be different, you might ask? The short answer is, most everything. The course will be the same at ground level, and the greens are as consistent and fast as ever. There might be some more warm season bermuda in the fairways and around the greens that hasn’t completely gone dormant, and there won’t be the blooms you’re used to seeing, but that’s about it on the ag front.
The weather is comparable to April - it can be wet, it can be cool, it can be hot. The forecast is for highs near 80 but the remnants of Eta will be pumping a lot of moisture that way, and there is a chance for rain and thunderstorms every day. Daylight will also be a factor, and they will be starting players on both #1 and #10 for the first time in order to ensure everyone completes their first two rounds before darkness.
There will be no fans. No patrons on the grounds at all. I’m sure we’ll see members, and plenty of media roaming around, but the TV shots will be very different than what we’re used to seeing. For all the talk about the pine trees, Augusta National has some really wide open areas. Number 1 and 10 tees are sitting up top and out there for the world to see. 18 green is usually surrounded 30 deep, but without spectators, now they don’t have to use cranes and can put cameras wherever they want. Amen Corner will not be affected much, since patrons are only allowed on one side of those holes anyway, so it will look mostly the same.
There is no Par 3 Tournament, there is no merchandise (kinda, ask me in the comments if you’re curious), and I guess there are no concession stands. Which means no pimento cheese if you’re a visitor from up north and have no idea what this is. Which means no “domestic”, no “light” and no “import” beer for ridiculously cheap prices. No roars coming up through the pines, no stampede to be the first to put your chair in a prime spot on #16; only the players, their caddies, a few others, and the most perfectly manicured golf course you will ever see.
There are still storylines, and we will get to those in the coming days. Right now, let’s focus on who you really want to root for:
Kevin Kisner, a member of the Georgia Men’s Golf 2005 National Championship team, is playing in his fifth straight Masters. He’s made the cut every year, but hasn’t really scared the top of the leaderboard. His top finish is 21st last year
Brendon Todd was a teammate of Kisner on that natty team in 2005, and is now playing in his 2nd Masters, five years after his first invite. Todd gets in via his wins in the fall of 2019, and has enjoyed a career resurgence.
Bubba Watson didn’t win a national championship while at UGA, but he did win 2 Masters - the only Georgia product to capture a golf major. He has 10 other PGA Tour titles, a hovercraft, a minor league baseball team, and an ice cream and candy shop in Pensacola. He’s... unique. He hasn’t really recaptured that major form, but somehow he’s ranked 2nd on Tour in strokes gained tee to green since the PGA Championship in August. (Some might say ANGC is a “second shot” golf course).
There is a LOT more to digest about the Masters, but let’s dispense with the pleasantries and watch millionaires 3 putt from 12 feet, shall we? And as always...