- AJC Staff
It’s Masters Week at Augusta National Golf Club and the AJC has a team of reporters on hand to cover it all week.
Here’s what’s going on Monday:
Around noon, the horns sounded delaying practice rounds and forcing patrons to seek shelter. By 12:50 p.m., lightning, thunder and heavy rain hit the course.
By 2 p.m., patrons were filing back into what’s left of the afternoon’s practice rounds and the driving range was lined with pros getting in practice as skies changed back to gray but without rain.
But at 2:25 p.m., the announcement came: Play will be suspended for the day as of 2:30 p.m. based on impending weather.
UPDATE: Fowler not a fan of random calls about rules
Rickie Fowler said there’s not a player on the PGA Tour that doesn’t think the practice of called-in rules violations should be banned in the wake of Lexi Thompson losing a major this past weekend because a TV spectator reported an infraction they spotted while watching the LPGA event.
“Now if there’s an official always monitoring any video or anyone on camera, that’s fine, and I have no problem with that, if that’s an official,” Fowler said on Monday in an interview ahead of this week’s Masters at Augusta National. “You look at other sports, they go to someone in the video booth and there’s an official in there that can look over stuff, great.
“There shouldn’t be any outside contact, whether it’s e‑mail or phone calls whatsoever.”
Thompson had placed her ball in the incorrect place – by perhaps an inch – on the 17th hole in the third round of the ANA Inspiration, one of the LPGA’s majors.
Someone emailed the LPGA about the possible violation Sunday afternoon. Thompson was told of the four-shot penalty as she was walking off the 12th green in the fourth round. She eventually lost in a playoff.
Fowler said he thinks the various tours should eliminate the practice of allowing anyone to call in potential infractions.
“I mean, I’m sure there’s already been some sort of push, just from yesterday,” he said. “I think it’s been an ongoing problem. It’s been talked about for years. I’m still surprised that it’s around or hasn’t been changed.”
UPDATE: Hall of Fame inductions brings Woosnam back to Augusta
When last we were in Augusta, Ian Woosnam, the 1991 champion, was saying he would no longer compete here. Health, age (58) and the length of the course was taking its toll. The Masters was his sole major victory.
Then Woosnam changed his mind after he was inducted into the World Golf’s Hall of Fame last October.
“This has given me a bit more enthusiasm to play,” Woosnam told the BBC last fall. “I’m going to play for another couple of years at least. As long as I don’t embarrass myself too much and the other players I’m going to have another couple of goes.”
Woosnam plays on the Champions Tour but has yet to commit to next week’s Mitsubishi Electric Classic in Duluth.
UPDATE: Henley thrilled with last-minute Masters qualification
You can’t say he’s the most surprised golfer to be in the 2017 Masters field, but Russell Henley, the former University of Georgia golfer, certainly is among the most excited to be here.
He shot an exquisite 7-under 65 on Sunday, including 10 birdies, to win the Shell Houston Open and qualify to be here. And he was obviously thrilled on Sunday after the victory:
“Gives me chills [to be in the Masters]. I’ve been trying not to think about it today, but obviously it went through my head a lot. But I feel like I belong out here. I feel like I’ve played well at every level. College and on the Web.com Tour, I played well. Out here, I’ve won a couple of times, so I am starting to believe that I belong. It feels good to just compete and I felt really excited the whole week to play.”
We’ll update today if Henley makes it to the course for an interview.
Here are a foursome of things to know about Monday at the Masters:
1. Bad weather. Rain is expected by lunchtime Monday, with strong winds and possibly hail and the rain should continue through the afternoon and night. Get the WSB-TV five-day forecast here. Tuesday is expected to be perfect. But then Wednesday brings another day of thunderstorms and rain. The forecast for the tournament days: cooler but without much rain, if any. By 8 a.m. Monday, the skies were threatening, with a light mist.
2. Tiger Woods. Woods, the four-time winner who claimed his first green jacket 20 years ago this week, will make a Tuesday appearance for the Champions Dinner that evening and is tentatively scheduled for a 1 p.m. news conference to discuss the state of his … back. He announced last Friday that he would not be ready to play this year in Augusta because of his ongoing rehabilitation from back surgery. Get golf writer and AJC ‘Further Review’ blogger Steve Hummer’s take on Tiger here.
3. Odds are… There are three and then all the rest. Dustin Johnson, who already has won three times in his past three PGA Tour appearances, is at 5-1, according to OddsShark.com. Johnson is tentatively set to follow Woods for Tuesday’s news conferences. Jordan Spieth , a winner here two years ago and one year removed from a meltdown a year ago that cost him back-to-back titles, is 7-1. Rory McIlroy, who needs only a Green Jacket for a career grand slam, is 15-2. Past winners include 46-year-old Phil Mickelson (25-1), Adam Scott (28-1) and a newly slimmed up Bubba Watson (40-1). Last year’s champ Danny Willett is 100-1.
4. The King: This will be the first Masters in 63 years without Arnold Palmer on the premises. The King died last September. Read Steve Hummer’s take on the eternal bond between Palmer and the tournament. The Masters and Tournament Chairman Billy Payne always find a way to honor these moments and it will be interesting to see what they have in mind coming Thursday morning when former champions Jack Nicklaus and Gary Player do the ceremonial first tee shots without the King.