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 RICHARD SIMMONS
 Editor
 Golf International

Welcome to our Masters Review

Packed though it is with some of the finest photography a stretched credit facility will buy you (courtesy of David Cannon, Andy Redington and the crew at getty images), our Masters review section fails to do justice to the scale, the majesty and the sheer magnificence of Augusta National in full tournament fettle. From the moment you arrive at the front of the clubhouse you are struck by the scale of the place; by the unbelievable movement in the course, the sweeping fall and rise in elevation that characterises Alistair McKenzie's masterpiece as it twists through avenues of pine - pictures are hamstrung in their ability to convey quite what an unforgiving shot-making challenge the course represents.

High Definition TV may have sharpened the contrast as cameras followed the players down Magnolia Drive and revealed in crystal vision the details of the way in which every blade of grass at Augusta is manicured to the legal limits of human resource. But until you venture onto the course and stand, say, on the tee at the par-three 6th to gaze down on a crumpled green some 60 feet below can you even begin to realise just how tough a one-shotter this is. At the 9th, from the downslope of the fairway (at the corner of the dogleg, where a good drive gets you), the elevation up to the three-tiered green is breathtaking. Having clipped the trees with his drive on Friday, Tiger's raked shot around the corner to hold the green with a long iron was one of the shots of the week.

From behind the 10th tee you meet with perhaps the most staggering of Augusta's vistas - "looks more like a ski slope than a golf hole," declared a friend making his Masters debut. Poor old Michael Campbell quick-hooked one here on Friday, his ball rattling off the trees before coming to rest at the steps to one of the cabins, barely 100 yards from the tee. Now, from there, it really is a tough four.

Golf International May 2010 issue

And so it goes on. There is no let up and margins are acute. Bunkers are vast, and deeper than you ever could imagine, while the slopes and drop-off areas around the greens - never mind the contour and speed of the greens themselves - elevates short-game skills to the        

Our Open Championship may have the heritage as the game's oldest major, but as anyone lucky enough to have been at this year's Masters will tell you, this is the greatest golf show on earth. Such is the way they do things at Augusta, it's also - and by some margin - the most spectator-friendly event in the fixture list. While the R&A persist in allowing a phalanx of journalists, recorders, scoreboard carriers and photographers to walk inside the ropes, generally getting in the way and impeding the view for the paying spectator, the policy at Augusta is players and caddies only. It's not rocket science, is it Mr Dawson?

Was there any kind of blip during the week? Well, maybe. And at the worst possible moment: why did Lee Westwood play first in the final twosome Sunday? He was a shot up on Mickelson and surely, as leader, should have teed off last? With the honour, he turned over his drive into the trees up the left, whereupon Mickelson pulled a 3-wood and split the fairway. What if it had been the other way around?

Enjoy our Masters review section and all of the other great features and instruction within what we hope you'll agree is a cracking issue. As ever, any comments or opinions you may have can be emailed direct to me at the magazine - richard@golfinternationalmag.com

As for the Masters, whatever it takes, make it a lifelong quest to go.

May 2010

Reproduced with kind permission of Golf International Magazine

 






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