Welcome to The 2019 Masters

Came up a hair short on the approach to No. 9. Easy bogey.

About six or seven years ago, my wife and I came to Augusta National for a Monday practice round. The day was ideal. Two nights before we’d been to a smoking Neil Young solo show at the Fox Theater in Atlanta. As we walked the grounds, she told me she understood why I loved this place so much, calling it a Disney World for golfers. We sat under the pine trees in Amen Corner and enjoyed a sandwich and a drink as the breeze whispered above, sharing a peaceful moment in a spot unlike any other. This place is special. It’s not perfect and scars linger from past injustices, but the powers that be are moving in the right direction. The par-3 Contest is one of the things that sets Augusta apart.

The time has come to lengthen the 13th hole, the par-5 which requires only a mid-to-short iron second shot for the game’s longest hitters. Pushing the tee back 30 yards would prohibit players from carrying the trees on the left corner, and would restore the integrity and original intention to the hole.

Last year, I was one of the lucky ones, winning the media golf lottery and playing Augusta National the Monday after the Masters. Here are my thoughts a year later.

My colleague Doug Stutsman and I caught up with Masters champions on Wednesday and asked them about Tuesday night’s dinner. Apparently, the 90-year-old Bob Goalby, 1968 champion, held court with great tales about the legendary Ben Hogan.

Doesn’t matter how many times a man has driven down Magnolia Lane, the feeling remains the same. Fuzzy Zoeller, who has been here for the last 40 years since he won as a Masters rookie in 1979, still gets the chills.

Caught up with three-time Masters champion Nick Faldo, the CBS Analyst on Wednesday at the par-3 contest. Here are his thoughts on the tournament. He feels the softer conditions give more players a chance to claim the green jacket.

I think it’s opened up the field, more guys have a chance particularly guys who don’t have a lot of years under their belt here. Traditionally when it’s firm and fast you really have to know where to land it. You have to be really smart, you have to know where your misses are going. Just cause you’ve got a wedge in your hand, you can’t get carried away. You hit it six feet right of the flag, it’s a good shot, but it’s the wrong six feet. You can miss the green. You’ve got to know where to go left, right, short and long. With it being soft, as we’ve seen in the past, you can just aim and fire. And just go for everything for a while. It will be treacherous by the weekend.