The first-round thoughts from this week's tournament will be from my personal observations at Augusta National. I haven't watched any of it on television yet.
- I've had the opportunity to go the Augusta National on several occasions and I'm always blown away by the slopes and blind shots. Walking across the eighth fairway today, I saw a sprinkler head that read 187 yards and you can't even come close to seeing the green from there. There are also very few holes where you can actually see the green from the tee box.
- I saw Justin Rose hit it on in two at the par-5 second and make an easy birdie to go 2-under through two. I was surprised that was where he ended up given how "easy" the course played.
- Luke Donald was efficient.
- I was 10 feet away from Lucas Glover when he approached his ball in the greenside bunker on one. I couldn't see it due to the depth of the bunker, but a dead magnolia leaf was in the bunker near where he would stand. Knowing he couldn't move a loose impediment, he called Bernhard Langer over to see if he would be penalized if the impediment moved when he took his stance. Both thought he would not be penalized, but were unsure. They called a rules official over and it was the most interesting interaction I've heard on a golf course. Glover said something along the lines of "I know I can't move a loose impediment, but what if the leaf moves when I'm taking my stance. Is it a penalty?" The official said (again, paraphrasing), "I don't think so, as long as you don't move the impediment." Lucas then said, "Well, the impediment will move when I step on it. Is that a penalty?" The official then changed course and said, "yes, I suppose it would." Langer, listening to all of this, spoke up and said "hold on. What if there were 10 leaves in the bunker instead of one? He has to be allowed a reasonable stance to play the shot." The official then changed his mind for seemingly the third time and said, "Yes, I guess you're right. It would not be a penalty." A completely confused Glover then said, "So to be clear, when I step on this leaf and it moves, I will not be penalized?" To which the answer was "Correct." Bernhard Langer talked a rules official out of his ruling. My buddy and I couldn't believe it. Perhaps more unbelieveable is that the rules official didn't seem to actually know what the correct ruling actually was.
- When betting on closest to the pin approaches on the par-3 16th, take the old past champions.
Mickelson in for Woods, Scott in for Westwood and D Johnson in for Donald. (Leaving Rose in.)