The 2017 Masters is underway, and we’re excited to give you a unique preview ahead of this year’s event. To begin, we’re going to highlight some of the fascinating historical photos of Augusta National Golf Club and continue to share interesting facts as the week goes on. Finally we’ll conclude by taking a look at favorites to win this year and other headlines to watch for.
Let’s start with a photo of the 9th green on opening day in 1934. Although in black and white, its evident that conditions were pristine given the era. In the backdroup, this photo gives a great look at the first hole (on the right side), which is now much more narrow with the grown up trees.
Here’s another amazing picture that shows how big of a scale Augusta National was built on. At the bottom of the photo is the par-5 13th hole, above that the 14th and the 15th and 17th running parallel. On the left side is the 16th, 3rd, and 8th holes. At the top you can see the first and the 9th holes along with the 18th green top right. What sticks out most to us is the lack of bunkering compared to what it is today. Notice the large V shaped bunker on the 9th green.
2017 Tournament Preview
It appears as though weather will be a real factor in the first two rounds this year. Rain and wind will make the course longer and will put a premium on par-3 scoring. The weekend looks to be dry and sunny so with the course drying out scoring should improve. We predict a tight leaderboard heading into the weekend. Veterans will have an advantage, as they’ve faced difficult conditions many times at The Masters before. Here’s who we like as potential winners this year:
Sergio is long overdue for a major, and he seems to be in a good place both on and off the golf course. He’s a wiley veteran at Augusta National and with the tough conditions he should be able to use that to his advantage on Thursday and Friday. The biggest challenge will be closing the door if he’s in contention on the weekend.
Phil has had a great start to 2017 and his game seems as good as ever. He’ll be looking to take advantage of playing at such a high level and will want to redeem himself for a MC at the Masters in 2016. If Phil can get hot with the flat stick, we like his chances.
Rickie missed the cut at the 2016 Masters, which should motivate him to get off to a good start this week. His impressive start to the 2017 season including a win at the Honda Classic and a T3 last week at the Shell Houston Open should give him a leg up over the rest of the field this week.
One of the best ball strikers on tour, Justin Rose has to be on your list of potential winners. He’s healthy after being injured for in 2016 and has had 3 top-5 finishes so far in 2017.
It has been nearly 10 years since Sneds was paired in the final group on Sunday at The Masters where he shot a final round 77. He’s had a lot of experience at Augusta National and his short game and strategy should give him and advantage over the field this week. We like his chance this year.
With such a small field size (77 players if you don’t count amateurs or past champions not currently playing on tour) the Masters is a unique event that is anyone’s game once play gets underway on Thursday. We’re looking forward to a memorable week, and hope the weather doesn’t affect play too severely the first two rounds. Stay with ROP all week long for updates and insight.