What a Masters Could Look Like No Other

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He glanced at the scoreboard and saw it was true, Jordan Spieth's meltdown on the 12th hole meant that Willett had a lifelong dream. grab. Later that night, Spieth helped Willett in the coveted green jacket.

Fans play a huge role in any major sporting event, but at Augusta they can help define the whole experience.

When Larry Mize competed to defeat Greg Norman in the 1987 playoffs, the roar was so deafening it made his son cry.

As Tiger Woods headed for an extraordinary fifth title in 2019, an exciting wave caused a guard to rush to help Woods. He slipped and nearly swept away the world's most famous golfer.

When the 2020 Masters tournament starts in Augusta, it will all feel very different; the drama takes place on one of the world's most sacred sports grounds and all you hear is the whisper of the wind in the trees.

The coronavirus pandemic means the 84th Masters will be played without the admiring customers along the fairways.

It's hard to believe that when Woods returns to Augusta this month, he will be the defending champion. So much has happened in the world since he put on his fifth green coat in April 2019.

But the 15-time big winner, who must have thought he saw everything, will experience something new. ; the first major golf tournament of the year is now the last – a Masters in November.

When Bobby Jones and Clifford Roberts carved out their little slice of heaven in northeast Georgia, they created the "Augusta National Invitational." That was in 1934 and five years later it became known as "The Masters".

They soon realized that in order to grow a new and prestigious golf tournament, they would need the media to experience its majesty and spread the news – hence the April box on the calendar.

In an era long before the Internet and jet set travel took place, the tournament organizers believed the best way to attract the country's top sports writers would be to hold them while they were traveling back from training camps Florida to their New York offices.

So far the tournament has only been played twice in a month outside of April.

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A Different Look

A A November event, with or without customers, will inevitably look different. One would assume that the iconic Amen Corner, with its striking shores of azaleas in full bloom, will appear a bit more muted in November.

Perhaps it would be too hopeful to expect that even the Encore variety of the shrub will have plenty of color in the march towards winter. That said, if there is anywhere on earth that can get the best out of horticulture, it is the former nursery on Washington Road.

The speed and ease with which plants and trees appear to grow on the property makes you wonder if their supplier is the same one that sold Jack his beanstalk beans.

However, the background could be even more spectacular with a tournament in November. Georgia's fall colors can be majestic, with many leaves still hanging from the trees, so the course can be bathed in every warm shade from sienna to merlot.

Anyone looking at The Masters for landscaping should have enough to get them excited. There might still be some color on the Camellia on the 10th hole and the high definition cameras might just pick out the red berries of the Nandina on 17.

For the players, customers and television viewers at home , there is a strong sense of familiarity with The Masters.

It is the only men's golf major played on the same course every year – even & # 39; the home of golf & # 39; St Andrews is only allowed to host The Open twice a year. decade – and as the roars roar through Augusta & # 39; s grounds on Sunday afternoon, they become easy to identify.

You can see where the action is and often feel the difference between cheers for a bird and an eagle; even a forest roar seems to have its own sound.

READ: Rory McIlroy offers to join golf greats with career grand slam at Masters

Making Adjustments

Nothing like this in 2020 and on a course famous for the Spartan use of scoreboards, it will be interesting to see players navigate the emotional dynamics of one of the most difficult tests in golf.

There will certainly be fewer expectations of them. For the second time since its debut in 1960, there will be no par 3 competition on Wednesday – it was canceled due to bad weather in 2017.

And during the practice rounds on 16, the players will skip their balls over the water on the green? What would be the point without customers prompting them?

With 96 players driving to Magnolia Lane, this will be the largest field in a while at Augusta, but the oddity of the schedule means one of the world's best players might not be there. to be.

Daniel Berger has made a handful of top five since February, pushing the American to 13th in the world rankings.

That would normally qualify everyone for an invite to Augusta, but because this tournament is played as it would have been in April, when Berger wasn't even in the top 100 when the rankings were last published before closing in mid-March, he was unable to qualify.

He'll be left out in the cold, but if it's any consolation, he'll only have to wait five months for the next Masters in April 2021.

And the players who are doing it in November it might not be as cold as you might think.

Forecasters expect Augusta temperatures to be 10 or even 20 degrees above average for November, with mercury possibly dropping as much as 80 degrees. Anyone on the premises who can close their eyes and block their ears can at least feel like the Masters are in April.

However, this is not to say that it will be sultry at all times of the day and the reduction in daylight hours means that the track will have to be busier; for the first two rounds, groups of three players reject on both the first and 10th holes.

They will all lack the passion and energy of the clients, but for the lucky few with access to the course – the members of Augusta National and selected media – the 2020 Masters tournament will be an exclusive experience , & # 39; the world's best golfers, playing one of the most respected courses in the world and what feels like a private show.

Visit CNN.com/sport for more news, features, and videos

That's something money can never buy.

The Masters are known as "a tradition like no other" and whatever happens this year will surely be a master like no other.

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