April 05, 2014
By Jeff Shain, PGATOUR.COM
- Adam Scott will attempt to become the first player to repeat since Tiger Woods did it in 2001-02. (Andy Lyons/Getty Images)
• COURSE: Augusta National Golf Club, 7,435 yards, par 72. Laid out in 1930 by Bobby Jones and co-designer Alistair Mackenzie, one of the world’s most visually breathtaking layouts also has provided the stage for some of the game’s most gripping Sunday drama. An expansion era that saw yardage added four times from 1999-2006 has given way to stability, allowing both players and club officials to understand the nuances of the revamped layout. The course’s signature magnolia trees and azaleas are holdovers from the Fruitlands nursery operation that previously occupied the site.
• FEDEXCUP: Winner receives 600 points.
• CHARITY: Masters Tournament Foundation, which earlier this year announced a $6 million gift to Georgia Regents University (formerly Augusta State) to build a cancer facility in the city. That’s on top of annual giving of some $3.5 million, the largest piece going to the Community Foundation of the Central Savannah River Area. Other gifts are given to the World Golf Foundation, PGA TOUR Charities, U.S. Golf Association, PGA Foundation, The First Tee and others.
• FIELD WATCH: Defending champion Adam Scott headlines a 96-man field that features 56 of the top 60 players in this week’s world rankings. Four-time champion Tiger Woods is the big absence, sidelined after back surgery last week. … One more slot is open for the winner of this week’s Shell Houston Open, if not already qualified. Valero Texas Open winner Steven Bowditch and Scotland’s Stephen Gallacher got in at last Monday’s almost-last cutoff for invitations. … An astounding 23 entrants will make their Masters debuts, including world No. 13 Jordan Spieth, No. 21 Victor Dubuisson and No. 22 Patrick Reed.
• 72-HOLE RECORD: 270, Tiger Woods (1997).
• 18-HOLE RECORD: 63, Nick Price (3rd round, 1986), Greg Norman (1st round, 1996).
• LAST YEAR: Adam Scott gave Australia its long-awaited first green jacket, outlasting Angel Cabrera in a playoff with a 12-foot birdie on the second extra hole. Scott finished off a 3-under-par 69 with three birdies in his final six holes, including an 18-footer at No. 18 to put the pressure on Cabrera in the final group. The 2009 Masters champ responded, though, with an approach to 3 feet to notch the tying birdie. After both parred a replay of the 18th to start the playoff, Cabrera’s 15-foot birdie try at No. 10 hung on the lip. Scott followed with his winning putt, erasing the demons of the previous year’s British Open when he blew a four-shot lead with four holes left.
• STORYLINES: With Woods out and Phil Mickelson (strained oblique) not 100 percent, this could be the most wide-open Masters pursuit in at least two decades. No one else in the top 30 of the world rankings owns more than one major title. … This year’s crop of first-timers could be the best in Masters history, with 10 players currently in the top 50 of the world rankings. Fuzzy Zoeller (1979) is the only man -- besides Horton Smith, who won the inaugural Masters in 1934 -- to finish his first Masters with a green jacket; Dan Pohl lost a 1982 playoff to Craig Stadler. … Scott will try to become just the fourth back-to-back Masters winner, joining Jack Nicklaus (1965-66), Nick Faldo (1989-90) and Woods (2001-02). … It’ll be a momentous father-son weekend for Stadler and son Kevin, whose victory in Phoenix set up the first such pair to play the Masters together. Craig Stadler says this will be his final Masters.
• SHORT CHIPS: Scott plans an Aussie theme for Tuesday night’s champions dinner, though he’s keeping specifics under wraps. He did disclose that dessert will be his mother’s recipe for pavlova, a meringue-based treat. … The famed “Eisenhower Tree” on the left side of the 17th fairway is no more, victim of a February ice storm. The loblolly pine was a frequent torment for former President Dwight D. Eisenhower, who asked many times to have the tree cut down. … Last year’s playoff was the 10th since the Masters went to a sudden-death format in 1976. None have lasted more than two holes.
• TELEVISION: Thursday-Friday, 3-7:30 p.m. ET (ESPN), highlights show 11:30-11:45 p.m. (CBS). Saturday, 3-7 p.m. (CBS). Sunday, 2-7 p.m. (CBS).
• RADIO: Thursday-Sunday, 2 p.m. ET-conclusion (SiriusXM PGA TOUR Radio).