Masters Diary: DeChambeau’s appliance of science stymied at Augusta
Thunder threat . . . Reed makes room for dinner . . . Fowler looking to bounce back
Bryson DeChambeau and his caddie Tim Tucker will be restricted in what aids they can use during practice at Augusta National Golf Club ahead of the Masters. Photograph: Warren Little/Getty Images
Ironic, isn’t it? Bryson DeChambeau’s scientific mind has set him apart from the crowd but the golfer, branded with the moniker of the “Mad Scientist” for his singularity, has identified the impact of the weather here as the one equation that’s out of his control.
With the course softened by the heavy rainfall of late, DeChambeau remarked: “If you give me firm conditions out there, I’ll have a very good chance. Soft conditions, we’re still working on. We haven’t figured that out just yet.”
DeChambeau – and caddie Tim Tucker – have been stymied by being unable to use their usual paraphernalia of books and gadgets to formulate a playing strategy. In regular tournaments, players and their bagmen are allowed use radars and green reading books in practice . . . but not here, where it is very much every man for himself in deciphering the route to success.
Thunder threat could lead to Monday finish
The chances are of this year’s Masters tournament avoiding any rain delay are slim to none, with forecast thunderstorms – which have already disrupted the practice days – anticipated to hit the Augusta area for Friday’s second round and again for Sunday’s final round.
The more serious of the weather fronts is due to arrive for Sunday’s closing round, with a 91 per cent chance of thunderstorms. The storms are expected to roll in during the afternoon and to last for up to two hours.
Such weather disruptions at this time of the year are common place. Indeed, rain has been experienced during 43 of the 82 tournaments. The last Monday finish due to weather occurred in 1983, when there was a 40-minute storm delay on Thursday’s first round and then the start was delayed to Saturday’s third round and further disrupted later in the afternoon due by a 35-minute stoppage. The fourth round was played on Monday, when Seve Ballesteros claimed his second green jacket.
Reed makes a little room for Champions Dinner
Patrick Reed isn’t the same man as he was a year ago . . . at least not physically! The defending champion has shed almost a stone in weight since he was fitted out with the green jacket for claiming the title.
“The reason why I lost [the weight] is because I knew what kind of menu I was putting out there [for the Champions dinner], so I needed to leave a little room to be able to fit back into [the jacket],” quipped Reed, displaying a rare witty side. The centrepiece of his Champions Dinner menu, as it turned out, would be a Prime Bone-In Cowboy Ribeye, with Tiramisu for dessert.
More seriously, Reed outlined the planned loss in weight – estimated to be 12lbs – was for a desire to “get into better shape and just keep on getting stronger because the seasons seem to get longer and longer, especially playing on both tours.”
Reed is that rare being, an American is has membership of both the PGA Tour and the European Tour.
By the numbers: 9
Nine players have bounced back from runner-up finishes to win the following year. The mantle of making it No 10 falls on the shoulders of Rickie Fowler, who finished behind Patrick Reed last year. The last player to demonstrate bouncebackability was Jordan Spieth in 2015.
Word of Mouth
“I’m not really a goal-setter. I don’t really set goals because I think goals and expectations are kind of like stepbrothers” – former British Open champion Stewart Cink on returning to the Masters field for the first time since 2014.