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Masters diary: Wednesday – News – Irish Golf Desk


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Weather a threat to Masters start

Thunderstorms and winds gusting to 45 mph are threatening to turn today’s first round into a long and possibly disappointing start to the 88th Masters.

According to the weathermen, there’s a 90 pc chance of showers and thunderstorms before 1 pm local time.

That means that Rory McIlroy, Scottie Scheffler, and Xander Schauffele (who tee off at 10:42 am) may not get to finish their opening rounds, and Shane Lowry (12:24 pm) might not hit a shot.

“Six perfect days this week and one bad one,” said Paul McGinley, who is struggling with his voice due to illness.

“I just looked down there in the white right down at the bottom, gusts reaching for 30 to 45 miles an hour.

“Well, that’s unplayable if those winds come in on the Thursday, never mind the rain that will stop play if it comes in.

“How much is going to come? And will it change the playability of the golf course when it softens it up? We know that a softer golf course can be an easy golf course for players of this standard.”

Don’t touch the 12th

It’s called Golden Bell and it’s been a graveyard for many a Masters dream over the years.

Who can forget 2019 when the 155-yard 12th caused such carnage that Brooks Koepka, Tony Finau and Francesco Molinari found Rae’s Creek on Sunday and Tiger Woods took advantage and went on to win his fifth green jacket.

Woods would go on to make a 10 there in 2020 but while Vijay Singh suggested this week the hole is now too shot, two-time Masters champion José María Olazábal begs to differ.

“Just leave it like it is,” the Basque said. “I think it’s a fantastic hole, great hole. It’s a short hole. But it’s a devilish hole. It’s very hard to hit the green.

“The green is at an angle. It’s not very deep. It’s only like 10 yards in the middle, about what, 14 on the left and 12 on the right.

“You know, I don’t think we need to do anything about that hole. I think it’s a fantastic hole. When the wind blows, it’s a nightmare of a hole.”

Champions dinner a celebration of Seve and camaraderie

Jon Rahm’s move to LIV Golf might be a hot-button topic in the game, but it didn’t mar Tuesday’s Champions Dinner.

Celebrating what would have been Seve Ballesteros’ 67th birthday, the gathering of 33 Masters champions was a celebration of fraternity, Rahm and the swashbuckling Spaniard that came before him.

“It was a great night; an emotional night,” 1987 champion Larry Mize told the Augusta Chronicle. “Ben (Crenshaw) made sure that tonight was all about Jon, Seve and (1956 winner) Jackie Burke (who passed away on January 19, ten days before his 101st birthday).”

Crenshaw welcomed Rahm to the Masters Club and gifted him an inscribed gold locket in the form of the Club emblem.

Then there were Seve stories with Bernhard Langer recounting the tale of Ballesteros hitting a 230-yard three-wood from a fairway bunker to the green in the 1983 Ryder Cup at Palm Beach Gardens.

Langer told the table that from the lie Seve had, no golfer — aside from Ballesteros — would’ve cleared the lip with anything less than a six iron.

The Chronicle reported that “according to multiple past winners, similar to last year, Phil Mickelson remained quiet and, despite being close to Rahm, elected not to give a toast.”

Langer to play final Masters in 2025

Two-time Masters champion Bernhard Langer will make his final appearance in the tournament next year.
The 1985 and 1993 champion (66), who had announced that 2024 would be his last competitive appearance, tore his Achilles tendon in February.

“I plan to play next year,” Langer said. “That’ll be my last.”

Three-time winner Nick Faldo believes the German has made the correct decision to call it quits.

“Bernhard’s done an incredible job staying on top,” said Faldo, who realised his time was up in 2006 when he didn’t get down the hill with his drive on the ninth in 2006 and had a three-iron into the wind for his approach.

“But as time goes on, we start to lose touch, and you can’t play Augusta without touch.”

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