Saturday 24 March 2018

Augusta Diary: Silence is not golden when cheats prosper

Henrik Stenson chats with his caddie Gareth Bryn Lord during Wednesday practice rounds for the 2017 Masters. Photo: REUTERS/Brian Snyder
Henrik Stenson chats with his caddie Gareth Bryn Lord during Wednesday practice rounds for the 2017 Masters. Photo: REUTERS/Brian Snyder
Liam Kelly

Liam Kelly

Henrik Stenson highlighted a classic dilemma that can happen to any golfer, be they a humble high handicap amateur or a Major champion.

When asked if he had ever seen a Rules violation by a fellow pro where he had said nothing, Stenson fudged the issue.

"I think there's been times where you've seen something that, yeah, you kind of question, was that right or was it not?

"And then, yeah, it's always that, should you step forward or should you not?"

I'm betting the answer has been, is, and will be in the negative for Stenson.

The problem is that when it comes down to the wire, it's one man's - or woman's - word against another. At least in the pro game there's a chance of accessing TV evidence but at club level, it's very difficult to prove.

Patient patrons

The bad weather forecast did not deter patrons who had Wednesday admission passes.

They knew their day's enjoyment would most likely be curtailed but stayed optimistic.

I spoke with a group who had started out at 3.0am from Morganton, North Carolina, arriving just in time for the gates to open at 7.0.

Randy Morgan, Dustin Epley, Jamie Silvers and Herman Lafevres were unanimous that it was worth the trip.

Honorary starter Gary Player. Photo: PA
Honorary starter Gary Player. Photo: PA

They were among the patrons who had to leave the course due to weather warnings around 10.20 local time.

They got back in when gates re-opened at 12.30 for the start of the Par 3 contest, but their outing ended prematurely when the play was finally suspended for the day at 1.25.

The fire still burns

Honorary starters Jack Nicklaus (77) and Gary Player (81) retain enough competitive fire to want to outdrive each other in today's ceremonial opening to the Masters.

Player relies on his renowned fitness, while Nicklaus hopes that the driver Rory McIlroy tweaked for him when they met at The Bears Club will give him the edge.

"I told him, if he hits it longer than Gary, I want a mention because I adjusted the weight in his driver," said McIlroy.

No flies on Dustin

Masters favourite Dustin Johnson doesn't do deep introspection - or if he does, he keeps it to himself.

Asked about his thought process before hitting a shot, he replied: "It's not too much. I get my number and kind of where I want to hit it and try to picture the shot going in."

If only golf were that simple for the rest of us.

Weather watch

Early morning showers were due to end by 4.0am and sunny and windy conditions were expected. The winds will be strong at 20-30mph with gusts of between 30-40mph.

Quote of the day

"I tapped it in Arnie-style. It was about that far (indicating a foot). I turned to the crowd and said, 'I really could have used that one about 12 months ago' to some significant laughter."

Jordan Spieth makes a joke in practice at the infamous 12th hole where he made a quadruple bogey in last year's final round.

Number of the day

6 Rounds Shane Lowry has played in two appearances at the Masters

Irish Independent

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