Storylines from Augusta National
April 01, 2016
By Jeff Shain, PGATOUR.COM Contributor
- April 01, 2016
- Next week ... (David Cannon/Getty Images)
• COURSE: Augusta National Golf Club, 7,435 yards, par 72. Opened in 1933, Bobby Jones and co-designer Alistair Mackenzie transformed the former tree nursery into not only one of golf’s most visually pleasing layouts but a stage for some of the game’s most memorable drama. Though tweaks are made every year, Augusta National is now a decade past an expansion era that saw yardage added four times from 1999-2006, as players and club officials better understand the nuances of the revamped layout. The club’s signature magnolia trees and azaleas are holdovers from the Fruitlands nursery operation that once occupied the site.
• FEDEXCUP: Winner receives 600 points.
• CHARITY: Masters Tournament Foundation, which produces some $3.5 million in annual giving for local projects and larger golf initiatives. The Community Foundation of the Central Savannah River Area receives the largest sum, with additional gifts to the World Golf Foundation, The First Tee, PGA TOUR Charities, the PGA Foundation and U.S. Golf Association.
• FIELD WATCH: World No.1 Jason Day and Adam Scott, each with two wins in the past six weeks, and defending champion Jordan Spieth headline perhaps the deepest field in recent times. The expected roster stands at just 89, though, smallest since 2002. … One more slot is open for the winner of this week’s Shell Houston Open, if not already qualified. Spain’s Rafael Cabrera Bello, third at last week’s WGC Dell Match Play, used that finish to land a berth via last Monday’s final cutoff for the Official World Golf Ranking’s top 50. … Four-time winner Tiger Woods has been mum on his Augusta plans as he recovers from two back surgeries last fall. He hasn’t struck a competitive shot since the Wyndham Championship last August.
• 72-HOLE RECORD: 270, Tiger Woods (1997), Jordan Spieth (2015).
• 18-HOLE RECORD: 63, Nick Price (3rd round, 1986), Greg Norman (1st round, 1996).
• LAST YEAR: Spieth placed his name alongside Woods in the Masters record book, delivering a second “win for the ages” at an age just five months older than when Woods won his first. Spieth actually had a chance to hold the scoring record by himself, but missed a 5-foot par attempt at the 72nd hole to stand on 18-under 270. It did little to dispel the 21-year-old Texan’s dominance, never letting anyone closer than three shots after his opening 64. Only Craig Wood (1941) had done that before. Spieth set scoring records for 36 holes and 54 holes, and his 28 birdies were the most at any Masters. Phil Mickelson and Justin Rose were four shots back in second, with Mickelson finishing runner-up in a major for the 10th time in his career.
• STORYLINES: Day, back at No.1 after winning the Arnold Palmer Invitational presented by MasterCard and WGC-Dell Match Play, hopes the magic lasts one more week on the game’s biggest stage. Tiger Woods (2001) is the last to make the Masters his third straight win. … Scott seeks a second green jacket for his collection, having earned his first in 2013. He won the first two legs of the Florida Swing at The Honda Classic and WGC Cadillac Championship. … Rory McIlroy tries again to complete a career Grand Slam, which would make him just the sixth in history to accomplish that feat. … Bubba Watson seeks to extend the hold he has on even-numbered Masters years. He won his first green jacket in 2012, then again two years ago.
• SHORT CHIPS: This marks the final Masters for two-time champion Tom Watson, 35 years after the last of his green jackets. Watson will stop at 43 Masters, ninth on the all-time list. … This also marks the first time since 2007 that Arnold Palmer won’t hit a ceremonial tee shot on Thursday. Palmer, 86, said he might still head out to watch Nicklaus and Gary Player do it. … Eighteen of this year’s entrants will make their Masters debuts, following a 20-man rookie class last year. Among this year’s debutants: World No.22 Kevin Kisner, who grew up 20 minutes away in Aiken, S.C., and U.S. Amateur and NCAA champion Bryson DeChambeau. … Spieth has selected Texas barbeque for Tuesday night’s champions dinner, though there’s been debate about whose recipe might be the basis for Augusta National’s kitchen staff.
• 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).
• PGA TOUR LIVE: None.
• RADIO: Thursday-Sunday 2-7 p.m. ET (Westwood One and SiriusXM).