The Sunday before the Masters is a members’ day at Augusta National Golf Club, the last members’ day until the 77th Masters champion is fitted for a Green Jacket.
Most Sundays are sleepy at Augusta National, but this one was not typical.
Condoleezza Rice, a member since August, when she was invited to be one of the two initial women’s members of Augusta National, teed it up on the first tee with three-time Masters champion Phil Mickelson.
Member Ron Townsend, former president of Gannett Television Group, went off next with a group of members.
And following Townsend’s group was Adam Scott and Martin Kaymer, along with another member.
Keegan Bradley, Jason Dufner, Francesco Molinari and Matteo Manassero teed off on the 10th hole, as 1973 champion Tommy Aaron teed it up with a friend off the first.
“The course is spot on,” Scott said of the conditions of Augusta National before teeing it up.
Scott played on Saturday, as well, and believes that Augusta National is in the best shape he’s ever seen it.
“You always have the false sense of security of chipping around the greens,” Scott said of the conditions before the tournament starts. “And then they cut the green surrounds down and your putting instead.”
Michael Thompson, who gained an invitation thanks to his victory at the Honda Classic last month, hadn’t been back to play in the Masters since he played in 2008 as the runner-up at the US Amateur.
That trip was two and done, with a 73-78 and an early exit, but that was then and Thompson learned from that week.
“By Friday, I was done,” Thompson said of 2008, when he played 18 holes for four consecutive days before teeing it up in Thursday’s first round.
This year will be different. Thompson played the back nine on Saturday and plans to play his only 18-hole practice round Sunday with 2007 champion Zach Johnson. The rest of the week will be limited to nine holes on the front nine Monday and nine holes on the back Tuesday.
Wednesday will be a little practice and then the Par-3 contest where Thompson is looking for a little crystal.
“I was a half-inch from getting crystal on the eighth hole in,” Thompson said of losing out to K.J. Choi in 2008.
Thompson said the only changes he’d seen from 2008 were the changes to the 14th and 16th holes, but one big change not course related for Thompson, “My game’s better.”