Philip Reid’s Augusta Diary: Friday

Steve Williams still going strong, Tiger helps William McGirt and much more

Where once he was touted as the highest paid “sportsman” in New Zealand – something which truly irked those who actually were sportsmen, like the All Blacks – there is a longevity to Steve Williams’ career as a caddie that would make him the envy of those who actually do graft for their craft.

This is Williams' 30th time caddying at the Masters, something of a milestone among those bag-carrying peers who have watched him walk with four different champions. Of course, three of them were with his old employer Tiger Woods (in 2001, 2002 and 2005) and the fourth time was with Aussie Adam Scott, in 2013.

Yet, to this day, Williams takes most pride in getting Scott to slip into a green jacket. Why? Because his man took his advice on the curling putt at the second play-off hole of sudden-death to win out over Angel Cabrera.

“That putt might be, seriously, the highlight of my career because Adam called me over to read it. He said, ‘I’m not sure on this putt, it’s dark and I’m reading it one cup out to the right’. I said, ‘Adam, this putt breaks more than it looks. I guarantee it. It’s two cups out to the right. Trust me’.”

Augusta crack down on ticket use

A new ticketing policy has been introduced at the Masters, and it would seem there is method in the decision to stop unlimited entry and re-entry on tickets.

Now, “patron tickets will be limited to three entries a day,” according to Augusta National Golf Club policy where, in previous tournaments, those attending could come and go as often as they liked during the day.

The policy is aimed at halting a practice that apparently was too common, where patrons enter then sent their badges back out with someone to use to get others in; or, where a ticket was used by the same person for multiple entries simply to stockpile large quantities of merchandise.

Tiger helps McGirt the ‘idiot’

Tiger Woods told William McGirt to his face that he was “an idiot,” which the man on the receiving end took to be a piece of advice.

It came after McGirt told Woods that he was not a leaderboard watcher . . . but the 37-year-old American, playing in his first Masters, is a transformed player since keeping a closer eye on what’s going on around him and will keep a watching brief at Augusta National over the next two days.

McGirt – on the 142 mark at the midpoint and right in the heat of contention – remarked: “I don’t know if you could write this in a script and have it come out any better . . . there’s a lot of golf left and you got to put yourself in the position to make a run. And it is what it is.”

Quote of the day

"I'm not going to put too much pressure on myself, but I'd be lying to say it's not a great feeling and a great spot to be"– Charley Hoffman on reaching the midpoint in contention.

By the numbers

$325: The face value price of a four-day tournament ticket to the Masters, making it one of the best-value tickets in sport. If you can get one!