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Friday, November 27, 2020

Masters: Tiger Woods knows it will be a different Masters without the Augusta patrons

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The Indian Telegraphhttps://theindiantelegraph.com.au/
Established in 2007, The Indian Telegraph is a multi award winning digital media company based in Australia.

When Tiger Woods has to line up his approach to the seventh green at Augusta National this week, he’s not sure what he’s going to use to aim at.

A November Masters, a long way removed from its normal April timeslot, is going to throw more than one new challenge at the defending champion and every other player teeing it up this year.

The weather is an unknown, although the predictors have suggested a wet week in Georgia with mild temperatures hovering in the low to mid 20s.

But the absence of the Augusta “patrons”, the spectators, will create a whole new dynamic, and one not lost on the four-time champion Woods.

He’s played the course without people there, practice rounds, rounds for fun, taking advantage of his place as a multiple Masters winner to regularly get on the course so many golfers regard as heaven.

But lining up his approach to the elevated seventh green, or the 17th, on a Thursday, or a Sunday, in tournament play is going to be more difficult this year.

“The one component that is going to be just I think so odd for all of us who have played there and who have been there is have no spectators,” Woods said recently.

“You know, I was having lunch with a couple guys and we were talking about some of the shots. On the 7th you aim at one spectator and you‘re going to cut it to another, which will leave you, you know, either left of this flag or right of that flag. That’s what you — that’s what I’ve done in the past.

“But there‘s going to be no background.

“The fact that we have no spectators is going to be very different optically for a lot of us.”

Then there’s the roars. There’s nothing like a Sunday roar at Augusta, a golf course that rises and falls, built like an amphitheatre, so that noise can carry from its deepest corners all the way to the clubhouse.

Anyone holing out on the ninth can have their ears pricked by an almighty noise from behind them. It could be someone going close on the par three 16th, or even further in to the course, on the majestic 12th in the middle of Amen Corner.

Fans pack the hill next to the 16th green watching Tiger Woods at Augusta in 2019 (Photo by Andrew Redington/Getty Images)
media_cameraFans pack the hill next to the 16th green watching Tiger Woods at Augusta in 2019 (Photo by Andrew Redington/Getty Images)

The roar comes minutes before the main scoreboard, sitting next to the 18th fairway, slowly turns to reveal which player earned the cheers.

There’s no digital screens anywhere on “the property” at Augusta, only old-school scoreboards which, when coupled with those roars, creates a sense of theatre this year’s Masters won’t have.

“Sometimes we‘ve been on the putting green there before we tee off and you hear roars down there 12 and 13, they reverberate all the way up to the clubhouse, and there’s going to be nothing,” Woods said.

“Davis (Love) and I were paired together the final round of ‘98 and Jack (Nicklaus) made a run. We were the group head. We knew it was Jack behind us, but the roars were so much louder than – those were Nicklaus roars.

“And there‘s no other place like it. It echoes there, it travels. When you know the pairings, you know where certain players would be at that particular time and you can figure out who’s doing what, and the roars for certain people are louder than others, and then you hear eagle roars and hole-outs on 16, or whatever it may be. It’s unlike any other place in the world.

“So that‘s one of the things that I’ve been thinking about for the last few weeks is what is that going to be like.

“So it‘s going to be odd in that sense, but it’s still the Masters. That’s still the best players in the world, you still have the traditions and it’s just we’re not going to have the roars.”

Originally published as Tiger time in November

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