Miller finds minor trouble in Masters paradise
AUGUSTA, Ga. (AP) U.S. skier Bode Miller and wife Morgan Beck have a story to tell about the Masters.
According to the Augusta Chronicle, Miller and Beck were stopped on their way to the course Thursday and told to get rid of a quesadilla they had hoped to snack on during the first round.
”If you pay $7,500, you ought to be able to bring out a quesadilla,” Miller said.
The couple was eating at Berckmans Place, a posh hospitality venue tucked behind trees alongside the fifth fairway. The facility, which opened last year, is available to club members, tournament sponsors and select others. The tent has three main restaurants, walls of Masters history, areas to watch the tournament and a practice putting area that’s a replica of three Augusta National greens.
– Mark Long, https://twitter.com/APMarkLong
TALL TASK: John Isner should be able to find his friends fairly easily at crowded Augusta National.
The 6-foot-10 tennis player, who is ranked ninth in the latest ATP standings, arrived at the Masters on Friday and started searching for his fellow Georgia Bulldogs.
There are a bunch of them in the field.
”It’s very cool,” Isner said. ”It’s crazy, really. Not to mention there’s probably five or six others that have their (tour) card as well. A lot of Bulldogs, and we are in Georgia, so these guys are going to get a lot of support.”
Bubba Watson, Chris Kirk, Harris English, Russell Henley played at Georgia, and Patrick Reed started his college career at Georgia before transferring to Augusta State.
Isner won’t have much trouble spotting them. After all, when you’re the tallest guy on the grounds, you don’t have jockey for a clear view.
– Mark Long
CROWD NOISE: The first tee at Augusta National is a social place. The clubhouse is nearby, along with the big oak tree that has become THE gathering spot during the Masters.
So everyone crowds around the opening tee, making it an entertaining spot to listen to spectator chatter.
Here are a few examples from Friday when Angel Cabrera, Ian Poulter and Gary Woodland were teeing off.
One observer on Cabrera, an Argentinian who’s modestly listed at 210 pounds: ”He looks just like me. He has no neck.”
Another one on Poulter, a Brit who’s known as much for his colorful outfits as his golf: ”Oh my God. He’s wearing sherbet-lime-green shoes that perfectly match his shirt and pants. I love those shoes!”
Woodland, an American who’s considered one of the biggest hitters on tour, was also fair game: ”Watch him hit a feather cut up the hill about 325.”
Hard to argue with those assessments.
– Mark Long
TIGER FACTOR: Television already is feeling the effects of not having Tiger Woods at the Masters.
In a release, ESPN said its live telecast of the opening round Thursday had a 1.5 rating with an average audience of 2 million viewers. That’s down from a 2.0 rating and 2.8 million viewers from a year ago.
– Doug Ferguson, https://twitter.com/dougferguson405
SENIOR WARMUP: Seven golfers at the Masters will have a short trip to their next event: They’ll be playing at a Champions Tour event in suburban Atlanta.
Fifty-four-year-old Fred Couples is the latest senior to commit to the Greater Gwinnett Championship, which will be held next weekend at the TPC Sugarloaf in suburban Atlanta.
That setup is mighty convenient. The Sugarloaf course, which once hosted a PGA Tour event, is about a 2 1/2-hour drive from Augusta National.
Also going straight from the Masters to the Greater Gwinnett Championship are Ben Crenshaw, Bernhard Langer, Sandy Lyle, Larry Mize, Mark O’Meara and Miguel Angel Jimenez, who will make his Champions Tour debut at Sugarloaf. The Spaniard turned 50 on Jan. 5.
Of course, all seven have their minds on more important matters at the moment. Especially Jimenez, Couples and Langer, who are actually in contention after the opening round of the Masters.
Jimenez and Couples opened with 1-under-par 71s and Langer shot 72, leaving them all within four shots of leader Bill Haas.
– Paul Newberry, https://twitter.com/pnewberry1963
LONG LINE: Getting a photo at the Masters takes patience – maybe because it’s free.
Spectators aren’t allowed to bring cameras or cellphones onto the hallowed grounds during the four-day tournament, so they have few chances to get precious pics on the pristine course.
And if you want to get one in front of the famed clubhouse, get in line – a long line.
More than a hundred people were waiting for their shot Friday morning, hanging out in the warm sun for a couple quick clicks. The photos are free – quite the deal at a place where weekly passes can go for thousands of dollars on the open market.
”It’s a free gig,” a security guard told those in line.
He also had a word of caution: ”If you lose your card, you lose your photo.”
– Mark Long
Masters Watch follows golf’s first major of the year and all the activities surrounding the big event in Augusta, Ga., as seen by journalists from The Associated Press. It will be updated throughout the day.