The old and the new. Pádraig Harrington is back at the Masters for the first time since 2015 (a missed cut if you must know!) and, bringing the momentum of a runner-up finish in the Rapiscan Championship on the Champions Tour with him, is determined to make an impact.
"I'm not going there to make up the numbers. With my head, I'm going there to play my best golf and compete and try and win, to get my head in the right place. Physically I can do it, so it really is just getting your head in the right place," said Harrington, who will be making his 16th career appearance at Augusta National.
And the Dubliner is also expecting Séamus Power, making a first appearance, to impress: “Séamus is a great player. The last year has been great for him. He’s believed in himself more, turned that corner, he’s now very comfortable out there [on tour] and contending regularly.
“I think it will be a lot to ask in his first Major, certainly his first Masters, to win it; but he has got to think like he can do that. He’s got a good game. It’s just believing you belong.”
Talor Gooch gets shorts shrift at Augusta
First-time Masters participant Talor Gooch clearly hadn’t got the memo vis a vis the dress code at Augusta National, after getting to the course early – on Saturday – to get acquainted.
Where shorts are permitted on the PGA Tour through practice days, a different policy is en vogue at the home of the Masters where players are required to wear long trousers.
So it was that Gooch – who has risen to number 34 in the world, an upward trend sparked by his breakthrough win in the RSM Classic last November – was putting away on the practice area close to the driving range, blissfully unaware of the regulations, until approached by one of the club’s co-head professionals JJ Weaver who informed him of his clothing breach.
Gooch rectified the situation by donning waterproofs.
Word of Mouth
"I've got to figure out a stroke that gets me comfortable everywhere. It was the worst I've ever putted in a professional event" – Jordan Spieth lamenting his poor putting performance at the Valero Texas Open, hardly what he wanted heading into the Masters.
By the Numbers: 6
Scottie Scheffler has held the world number one position in the rankings for the grand total of one week, but he faces a battle at the Masters to stay there. In fact, no fewer than six players have the opportunity to finish the tournament on top of the world: Scheffler, Jon Rahm, Collin Morikawa, Viktor Hovland, Patrick Cantlay and Cameron Smith.
On this day: April 5th, 1959
At the start of the final round to the 23rd edition of the Masters, few if any had their eyes on Art Wall Junior. He lay outside the top-10 on the leaderboard, in 13th place, six shots adrift of co-leaders Arnold Palmer and Stan Leonard and with other big name players on their heels.
But a triple-bogey six on the 12th hole knocked Palmer off course and, instead, it was Wall who produced a stunning round of 66 for a total of four-under-par 284 to claim a one-stroke winning margin over Cary Middlecoff with Palmer in third.
For Wall, a remarkable finishing burst – of five birdies in his closing six holes – propelled him to victory for his one and only Major title and a pay day of $15,000. Wall, indeed, became the only player apart from the celebrated trio of Jack Nicklaus, Gary Player and Palmer to claim the Green Jacket from 1958 to 1966.
Wall’s birdie run started on the 13th, where he two-putted after finding the green in two, and rolled in a 20-footer on the 14th. Another two-putt birdie on the par-five 15th was followed by a par on the 16th, a 15-footer for birdie on the 17th and an 11-footer on the 18th. “When it was a foot from the hole, I knew it was in the cup,” said Wall, who was unable to defend his title in 1969 due to health issues.
So it looks like @TigerWoods is playing. I just want to say let's all appreciate this guy because we're so lucky to be able to watch one of the greatest possibly the greatest sportsman in our lifetime. Just incredible – Andrew "Beef" Johnston on the GOAT.
Next week, might be the greatest week of my 23 year old life . . . #Masters – Min Woo Lee living the dream. If he were to win, the Australian would become the fifth youngest winner of the title after Tiger Woods – who was 21 years 3 months and 14 days when he won in 1997 – Jordan Spieth, Seve Ballesteros and Jack Nicklaus.
A huge thank you to @valerotxopen & all the staff for this week's event. To all of you Texans for the unbelievable support over the past 2 weeks. Sadly a week too late for my top 50 quest. But feels great to finally get in the top 50 #muchlove – Richard Bland after breaking into the world's top 50 (in 48th position), a week too late for a Masters exemption.
In the Bag: JJ Spaun (Valero Texas Open)
Driver: Ping G425 LST (9 degrees)
3-wood: Taylor Made SIM (15 degrees)
5-wood: Callaway Mavrik (18 degrees)
Irons: Srixon Zx7 (4-PW)
Wedges: Cleveland RTX ZipCore (50, 54 and 60 degrees)
Putter: Scotty Cameron for Titleist Newport 2 GSS prototype
Ball: Srixon Z-Star Diamond
Rules at the Masters
"What a stupid I am," were the words that escaped Roberto De Vicenzo's lips after his mind went wandering and he signed for a wrong score after the final round of the 1968 Masters tournament.
His marker, Tommy Aaron, gave the Argentinian a four on the 17th rather than the birdie three which De Vicenzo had actually managed. De Vicenzo failed to spot it, signed for a wrong score – one more than he had achieved – and that mistake meant he missed out on a playoff with Bob Goalby.
At the time, De Vicenzo was the reigning British Open champion. And his gaffe, would you believe, befell him on his 45th birthday.