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Augusta, and the Passage of Time

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By D.C. Fasciglione

GolfWRX Contributor

Spring. The reawakening of yet another year, a celebration of life and living. There are few places in my mind that symbolize this renewal more so than at the Augusta National Golf Club, Augusta, Ga., the site of the year’s first major, The Masters.

For people who are less familiar with golf and its history one tournament may not seem so different from any other. Week to week they may see sprawling green fairways, beach white bunkers, and smartly dressed athletes plying their skills in a contest of strategy, endurance and talent.

Those who are a bit more knowledgeable about the game of golf know each tournament takes on a character of its own. The vista changes, the turf, the sand, the people. The courses themselves have a personality. And then there are the majors.

Of the four majors, the Masters, the British Open, the U.S. Open, and the PGA Championship, only Augusta National, the course of the Masters, is the perennial. The effect of this is significant. Golf fans the world over have come to know the course itself, not just the tournament. The sweeping carpet-like fairways bordered by reddish pine straw. The cavernous white sand bunkers, sharply edged and contrasting with meticulously trimmed grass.

The garden-like setting popping with azaleas and dogwoods.

Augusta’s history begins in 1930, linked to one of golf’s legendary figures, Bobby Jones. The origins of the course are well documented. When Jones retired from competition he joined with Clifford Roberts, an investment banker on Wall Street who helped Jones find a suitable property for his vision. Alister MacKenzie worked with Jones as the principle architect for the course.

Over the years the course has come to represent tradition itself; a hallmark of spring, of southern sensibilities and tradition, and of permanence. Iconic monikers such as “Amen Corner,” the “Eisenhower Tree,” and “Magnolia Lane” serve to perpetuate the sense of mystique and history about the place. Perhaps the most sentimental tradition is that of the Honorary Starters; this year Arnold Palmer, Jack Nicklaus, and Gary Player.

Legendary golfers are forever linked with the course; Gene Sarazen’s “Shot heard ’round the world,” the Hogan and Nelson bridges over Rae’s Creek. In more recent times we have witnessed the great Jack Nicklaus reclaim his youth and victory in a thunderous Sunday charge, while we have also been stunned and amazed at the collapse of Greg Norman’s seven-stroke lead on his way to loss, never to achieve the coveted Masters trophy.

And we have also seen the ascension of arguably the world’s greatest golfer ever, Tiger Woods, victorious at Augusta four times, only second to Nicklaus’s amazing six victories.

The year Tiger Woods was born, 1975, Jack Nicklaus won his fifth green jacket. Most remember back to the 16th green, and the “thunderbolt” 45-foot putt up the slope and into the heart of the cup. The Golden Bear was 35 years old and en route to setting a record that stands to this day. Johnny Miller famously stated that Jack “had left bear tracks on the 16th green.”

In 2005, the year Jack Nicklaus played in his final Masters tournament, Tiger Woods won his fourth trophy at Augusta. He was 30 years old. Once again the 16th hole, known as “Redbud,” was the scene of history in the making. Few have problems recalling the chip shot from off the green which hung on the lip, a virtual pose for the cameras, a frozen memory in Augusta’s storied history, before dropping to the bottom of the cup. Tiger would go on to defeat Chris DiMarco on the first sudden death playoff hole to capture victory.

It has been seven years since that victory. Some of that time has been spent recovering from devastating setbacks, both physical and psychological, many brought on by Tiger himself. Yet, perhaps time heals.

There is no way to divine what the future will bring. One thing we can rely upon, however, is that which returns year after year, the passage of Time, and the recognition that our place in time is marked by very special people and events. Yes, it is spring again. Let the Masters begin.

Click here for more discussion in the “Tour Talk” forum.

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Tour News

WATCH: Tiger Woods on Facebook Live with Bridgestone Golf

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Tiger Woods just appeared in a Bridgestone Golf Facebook Live video. While the audio isn’t the greatest (sounds like there’s some mowers rolling by), we’ve got to pass it along.

Check out the video below.

Woods initially discusses his wedges, before moving on to sharing some insights about how he hits his patented stinger–covering the ball, starting it farther right, and keeping his follow through short.

On his ball, the Bridgestone Tour B XS, which he presents as a softer ball well-suited to his swing, Woods says

“I need spin. I don’t spin the ball a lot. My swing has never produced a lot of spin. I’ve always been able to take spin off the golf ball–I grew up in an era where we played balata. What separated a lot of guys was the ability to take spin off the golf ball…to keep it below the tree line. There was a lot more movement in the golf ball.”

“My swing has naturally evolved. I’ve had different swings throughout the years, but each swing didn’t spin the ball a lot. So, when I get up to my long irons with a harder ball that most people would launch…I don’t. It falls out of the sky because it has so little spin.”

Woods mentioned that he hasn’t played Shinnecock since the course’s pre-U.S. Open makeover, but that he expects the course will be particularly difficult: an old-school U.S. Open with minimal graduated rough where it will be difficult to shoot under par.

Responding to comments, Woods sings Hazeltine’s praises and mentions he’d love to be able to wear shorts during PGA Tour events

“We play some of the hottest places on the planets and it would be nice to wear shorts…even with my little chicken legs,” Woods says.

Woods tells amateurs looking for more spin around the greens that they need a soft golf ball, mentioning that solid contact, maintaining loft, and allowing to club to do its job are key. Woods mentions that he has “a couple extra shots around the greens” thanks to the softness of his golf ball.”

We’ll next see the 14-time major champion in action at next week’s Memorial Tournament (which he discusses to wrap up the video).

 

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10 interesting photos from Tuesday at the Fort Worth Invitational

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GolfWRX is on the ground at Marvin Leonard’s famed pet project, Colonial Country Club, peeking into players bags and taking in the action on the driving range.

While you’ll want to take a trip through the buffet line, we’ve made you a plate of some of the tastiest morsels.

Absolutely savage new putter cover for Jon “Rahmbo” Rahm. Just killer.

Prettier than a new penny.

Spotted: Aldila Rogue Silver 130 MSI

Everything here is excellent. Just excellent.

More like Garsen Murray. Am I right?

If you were Aaron Wise standing over the winning putt at last week’s Byron Nelson, this is what it’d have looked like (of course, you’d have had a ball and the putter would be soled on the green, but you get the point…)

Abraham Ancer’s new Artisan wedges are simply incredible… All of this: Artisan star stellar stuff.

Rickie Fowler has gone grape.

You can’t fool me. You’re not Adam Hadwin, you’re a golf bag.

Is Patrick Cantlay considering a switch to a Cameron Napa?

Check out all our photos from the 2018 Forth Worth Invitational below.

Tuesday’s Photos

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Discussion: See what GolfWRX members are saying about the photos in our forums

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Tuesday’s Photos from the 2018 Fort Worth Invitational at Colonial

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GolfWRX is live this week from the 2018 Forth Worth Invitational at Colonial Country Club (par 70; 7,209 yards). The event has now been hosted here for 73 straight years.

Headlining the field this week are Jordan Spieth, who’s currently ranked No. 3 in the Official World Golf Rankings, Jon Rahm (No. 4), Justin Rose (No. 5) and Rickie Fowler (No. 6). Joining them are notables Webb Simpson, who’s coming off his win at The 2018 Players, as well as Wesley Bryan, Jason Dufner, Bryson DeChambeau, Jim Furyk, Zach Johnson, Matt Kuchar, Brooks Koepka, Louis Oosthuizen, Pat Perez, Adam Scott, Charl Schwartzel, Jimmy Walker, and last week’s champion, Aaron Wise.

Related

Last year, Kevin Kisner captured the second PGA Tour victory of his career after shooting a final-round, 4-under 66.

Check out our photos from the 2018 Forth Worth Invitational below.

Tuesday’s Photos

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Discussion: See what GolfWRX members are saying about the photos in our forums

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