Chatting in the Clubhouse after a brisk 9 holes last week, my playing partners commented favourably on my previous blog. I was pleasantly surprised that at least three people had actually read it! They enjoyed the facts and figures, so here are some more…
(Earlier this morning I thought an “A-Z” would be a good idea, but several hours later I’m not so sure!)
A Augusta National GC – the home of The Masters
B Bennett – 23 year-old Sam Bennett won the “Low Amateur” prize for being the best amateur, finishing in 16th= place overall. He earned his invitation to The Masters by winning the 2022 U.S. Amateur last summer. It’s back-to-school for Sam today as he’s playing 36 holes for his college, Texas A&M. If Sam hadn’t been an amateur he would have taken home $261,000 in prize money!
C Cut – the cut was 3 over par. Tiger Woods made his 23rd Consecutive cut at The Masters, joining Fred Couples and Gary Player as the players who have made the most consecutive cuts in this tournament.
D Dollars – Jon Rahm won $3,240,000. The total prize fund was a record-breaking £18 million!!!
E Eagle – if you card an eagle (two-under-par) you are given a pair of crystal highball glasses engraved with The Masters Logo, “Eagle” and your name.
F Food – the pimento cheese is known as the official Masters sandwich because golf patrons purchase it more than any others served. It’s been this way for over 40 years.
G Green – everything at Augusta is green… the folding chairs, the bins, the coolers at the tees, the sandwich wrappers… they even have green sand to fill divots!
H Honorary starters – former champions Jack Nicklaus, Gary Player and Tom Watson served as honorary starters to open the tournament, teeing off at 7.45am on Thursday.
I Ice – if an early spring comes, grounds crew will put ice under the azaleas to slow down their blossoming. They want everything in full colour come Masters week.
J Jeans – don’t turn up wearing denim because you’ll not be allowed in to spectate! Denim is banned. So are flip flops!
K Koepka – Eventual runner-up Brooks Koepka was involved in a rules issue on Thursday. On the par-five 15th hole, it appeared as though after his iron shot, his caddie, Ricky Elliott, mouthed “Five” seemingly toward Gary Woodland’s caddy, informing him that Koepka had used a five iron. If that were the case, Koepka should have been assessed a two-shot penalty for sharing club information with another competitor.
“Following the completion of Brooks Koepka’s round, the Committee questioned his caddie and others in the group about a possible incident on No. 15,” the Masters Committee said in a statement. “All involved were adamant that no advice was given or requested. Consequently, the Committee determined that there was no breach of the Rules.”
L LIV golfers Brooks Koepka and Phil Mickelson were joint second and Patrick Reed was joint fourth, disproving the notion that LIV golfers can’t play golf for four consecutive days!
M Most – Jack Nicklaus has won The Masters the most times – six, in 1963, 1965, 1966, 1972, 1975 and 1986 with a massive 23-year gap between his first and final victory. Tiger Woods is a close second, having won the event five times.
N Norwegian golfer Viktor Hovland got fed up with slow-playing Patrick Cantlay on several occasions yesterday, most noticeably at the 13th when the Norwegian played “ready golf” by chipping onto the green before the American had even crossed the bridge.
Viktor definitely sending Cantlay a message at this stage of the round. pic.twitter.com/Y70kfAi73K
— TweeterAlliss (Parody) (by Jove) (@TweeterAlliss) April 9, 2023
O Optometrist – 29-year-old amateur golfer from Matt McClean from Belfast gained his invitation to The Masters by virtue of winning the US Mid-Amateur Championship last year. He is a practising optometrist.
Photo credit: Instagram/ @mattmcclean93
P Provisional – Jon Rahm, winner of The Masters, hit a provisional off the 18th tee! His original had hit a tree and bounced onto the fairway, however those standing on the tee were unaware of this good fortune and feared that his ball was lost.
Q Quiet – Despite the press hyping up the possible awkwardness between LIV golfers and the others at the Champions’ Dinner, everything went smoothly. Phil Mickelson had skipped the tournament last year due to his high profile controversy around comments relating to the PGA Tour and Saudi Arabia and many expected him to rock the boat this year, however 1979 Masters champion Fuzzy Zoeller reported “We’re just 33 past champions in a room, all trying to get along,”. “Nobody said a word about it. Phil sat near the end of the table and kept to himself. He didn’t speak at all.” Phil Mickelson was quiet!
R Running is forbidden – Patrons (spectators) are told not to run on the grounds of Augusta National GC.
S Spectators – they’re called “Patrons” at Augusta. The attendance per day was estimated to be in the area of 40,000 patrons per tournament day – and even more in preparation days on Monday, Tuesday and Wednesday, which had the Par-3 Contest.
T Toilet –Jon Rahm and Brooks Koepka were playing behind the notoriously slow Patrick Cantlay on the final day, and they were kept waiting on every tee. Koepka said “The group in front of us was brutally slow. Jon went to the bathroom like seven times during the round, and we were still waiting.”
U Underwater – on Saturday torrential rain caused play to be suspended. The two greens that were worst affected were the 7th and the 12th – large puddles formed, so technically parts of the course were “underwater” (I know this is a stretch, but it’s the best “u” I could think of!)
V Volunteers – 700 volunteers are needed to help with course set up (setting up and dismantling stands etc), marshalling, registration, security, concessions, hospitality, merchandise etc, and whilst they don’t get paid, many have the chance to meet the players, see some of the action and even play the course on “appreciation day”.
W Woods Withdrew – hobbling his way around his third round, Tiger was obviously in pain. Posting on Twitter, he said, “I am disappointed to have to WD this morning due to reaggravating my plantar fasciitis. Thank you to the fans and to @TheMasters who have shown me so much love and support. Good luck to the players today!”
X Xander Schauffele finished in tenth place, alongside Scottie Scheffler, Matthew Fitzpatrick and Collin Morikawa. They each took home $432,000. (It’s very hard to think of suitable words beginning with X!)
Y Youngest winner – Tiger Woods blew away the field in 1997 to win by 12 shots over Tom Kite, aged just 21 years, three months and 14 days.
Z Zalatoris – According to an official Masters press release, Will Zalatoris withdrew from the 2023 Masters due to injury shortly before his tee time on Thursday. His coach, Josh Gregory, revealed that Will woke up with tightness which never improved. When asked if he was OK, Will said, “No, I’m actually not.”
At last, we’ve made it to Z, with just a few tenuous links!