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Poor weather and lull in proceedings can do nothing to quell excitement


No go: Matt Fitzpatrick packs up after play was suspended at Augusta
No go: Matt Fitzpatrick packs up after play was suspended at Augusta
Adam McKendry

By Adam McKendry

Having barely stepped through the door of the new press building at Augusta, I was greeted by a colleague who quipped, 'Are you ready for the longest two days of your life?'

He's not wrong.

Awaiting the beginning of the Masters is not too dissimilar to a child readying themselves for Christmas, or waiting for your delivery to arrive as soon as you've hit the order button - you know it's coming, you just can't wait.

Problem is, for all the excitement and hubbub around Augusta, so far the Masters has been a damp squib - literally.

That's not an affront on what I still consider to be the greatest golf tournament on the calendar, far from it.

But staring out of the wall-long window at the end of the press building yesterday morning and seeing an empty driving range that is usually hiving with activity was rather deflating to say the least.

When I arrived into Charlotte on Monday night - following a brief and unplanned redirection to Norfolk, Virginia - I was faced with a two-and-a-half-hour drive to Augusta in driving rain and buffeting winds, and when the weather conditions were no different come yesterday, it came as no surprise that play was suspended.

For a tournament the size of the Masters, it will survive a bit of inclement weather, it's not your run-of-the-mill average Tour event that requires glorious sunshine Wednesday to Sunday to get the fans flocking through the gates.

That there were people queuing at the gates in ponchos to return to the course when it reopened at 12.45pm proves it.

But to this point there has been very little to write home about. Amongst the throngs of gathered media personnel, there's been a considerable lull. True, this is all just a prelude to the main event, but usually at this time in the week there's at least something that has happened to capture our attention, as Tiger Woods' and Phil Mickelson's practice round this time last year did.

But all that lull does is whet the appetite for the real thing.

There's a charm about the Par Three Contest, of course, and it is enjoyable to watch as a light-hearted pre-cursor to the first Major of the year, but Monday and Tuesday can really drag in, particularly given the lack of ground-breaking statements from the main competitors.

So by the time we reach Thursday and the golf actually gets under way - when Andrew Landry has the honour of the first tee shot - there'll be a buzz about Augusta that will overcome whatever weather is forecast. Be it rain, hail, hurricane or typhoon, those golfing faithful will line the fairways in their droves in eager reception of the first Major of the year.

So, yes, things may be quiet now. That just ensures there'll be a bigger bang tomorrow.

Belfast Telegraph


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