It’s really happening, folks! For the first time in 725 days, an April Masters is underway.
An appetizer: Fred Couples told Rory McIlroy that the golf course is firm enough that “come Friday, Saturday, Sunday… honestly a 70 or 71 will be a heck of a score.”
Welcome to the Masters.
Augusta National chairman Fred Ridley sat down for his yearly press conference on Wednesday. Among the topics he discussed were Lee Elder’s first appearance as an honorary starter, the recent voting law enacted by the state of Georgia, the club’s stance on hitting distances in competitive golf, Augusta National’s partnership with EA Sports, and five-time Masters champion Tiger Woods’s absence this week.
Ridley’s full press conference can be found HERE, but these are the key sound bites:
On Lee Elder: “I cannot wait to have the honor of introducing Lee and celebrating his inspiring legacy with our patrons and viewers worldwide.”
On the voting legislation: “I believe, as does everyone in our organization, that the right to vote is fundamental in our democratic society. No one should be disadvantaged in exercising that right, and it is critical that all citizens have confidence in the electoral process. This is fundamental to who we are as a people.”
On distance: “As I have stated in the past, each year we look at every hole of our golf course. Fortunately, we do have the ability to make any number of changes to protect the integrity of the course. At the same time, we hope there will not come a day when the Masters or any golf championship will have to be played at 8,000 yards to achieve that objective. This is an important crossroads, so we will continue to urge the governing bodies and all interested parties to put forward thoughtful solutions as soon as possible.”
On the course conditions: “This is probably the first year in the last—probably going back to 2013, I think—when we actually came into the week with the golf course playing firm and fast as it is right now. Our intention would be to maintain that throughout the week.”
The Latest from The Fried Egg
ICYMI… a recap of our Masters preview content:
Five Things about the Masters with Shane Bacon—The Golf Channel host and Andy Johnson run through five things they’re looking forward to seeing at Augusta National this week.
The Lost Masters with Curt Sampson—The prolific author joins Garrett Morrison to discuss the bizarre fiasco that was the 1968 Masters and to ruminate on the role of professional sports in times of national and global disorder.
Geoff Ogilvy’s Notes on Augusta National—We felt that Geoff Ogilvy’s analysis of Augusta National on our podcast was so insightful that it warranted a written version. Have this handy as you watch the coverage this weekend!
2021 Masters: The Fried Egg Draft—The Fried Egg “brain” trust (Andy, Garrett, Meg, Will) congregated in a Slack channel for a snake draft of the top 40 players—or at least, you know, 40 players—in the 2021 Masters. Among other important matters, they discussed Rahm’s New Dad Perspective, Bryson’s crowded Twitter bio, Reed’s future sponsorship prospects, and Will’s bitter rivalry with No Laying Up’s Tron Carter.
Shotgun Start: Adam Scott’s running form, Favorite tee times, and Phil demands respect
Andy gets up off the mat after a sick day for this late night amuse bouche of an episode as the Masters tees off on Thursday. He and Brendan begin with a Masters fact of the day on the honorary starters just continuing to play a round in carts after the pomp at the first tee. Then they get to their one-and-done picks to have those in under the wire. Some of their favorite tee times are highlighted for these first two days, the nominees for adding to your My Group shot-by-shot (or baton twirl by twirl) feature, and picks for the Chuck Hoffman Memorial first round leader. Some spicy quotes are reviewed—like Rory potentially having to face impeachment as President of the PAC, Phil saying the golf course has not had to be respected due to softness, and Bryson on the onerous task of having to read greens with… your eyes, imagine that. There’s also the topic of his frisbee warm-up. This week has become a Masters SGS tradition and it is brought to you by the Shotgun Start blend of Bixby coffee—subscribe here and you will be able to join a live virtual and interactive happy hour during Friday’s round of the Masters. Listen on iTunes, Stitcher, and Spotify.
Tiger Woods was driving in excess of 80 miles per hour at the time of his February car crash in Los Angeles. The L.A. County Sheriff’s department finished its investigation and concluded that excessive speed was the cause of the accident. Full Story from the L.A. Times
Bryson DeChambeau did not play a round of ball golf at Augusta National on Tuesday, opting instead for a leisurely round of disc golf.
New dad Jon Rahm arrived at Augusta National on Wednesday for a quick look at the course ahead of the event.