The azaleas must be blooming. Are you ready for plenty of Condoleezza sightings and to hear "A tradition unlike any other" about a ka-zillion times this week? It will all be worth it come Sunday and the most famous back nine in all of golf.
The weather this week in Augusta looks good after Monday. With a little luck we might get treated to a hard and fast Augusta National, which is almost always to most exciting setup. We'll be watching coverage all week, and DVRing the Par Three Contest and opening rounds. Cannot wait!
But first, let's hit the links.
Hole #1: Thompson Wins First Major
The first major title of the year goes to Lexi Thompson, who might just be coming into her prime as a professional player. She won the Kraft Nabisco Sunday by three shots over Michelle Wie. [Link]
Hole #2: Matt Wins!
Kuchar had a two-stroke lead when he reached the 18th tee, but it was down to one before he hit his tee shot. Aussie Matt Jones had just dropped a 46-foot double-breaking putt for an improbable birdie to get to -15. After splitting the fairway with his drive, Kuchar rinsed a hybrid from the middle of the fairway on the 72nd hole. Kuch saved his bogie to get in the playoff, but on the first extra hole (the 18th again), Matt Jones holed a 42-yard pitch for birdie from short right of the green to punch his ticket for Augusta. [Link]
Hole #3: Best Masters Memories
Without a doubt, my favorite Masters memory is watching on TV as Jack Nicklaus won his sixth Masters at age 46. But Mickelson's jump-ette for joy was also epic. [Link]
Hole #4: Tiger's Surgery a Smart Move
Tiger has a history of playing hurt. His last major victory at the 2008 U.S. Open being the most profitable example. But is it wise for Woods to play hurt? [Link]
Hole #5: Augusta National, Hole by Hole
We all know White Dogwood, Golden Bell, and Azalea by heart (even if we don't know that those are the names given to the holes that make up Amen Corner), but here's your guide to Flowering Peach, Juniper, Chinese Fir, and other Masters' holes that you may not be quite as familiar with. [Link]
Hole #6: Drive, Chip, and Putt Shines
The National Drive, Chip, and Putt competition took place at Augusta National Sunday with Golf Channel coverage and tour pros dropping in to give encouragement to the youngsters. Boys and girls ages 7 to 15 gained entrance to the competition on the hallowed grounds of Augusta National's new practice facility and 18th green by winning local and regional competitions. [Link]
Hole #7: Fallon Gets in Deep
Here's a video of Jimmy Fallon playing a bunker shot at Bayonne Golf Club in New Jersey. It's a very nice shot and an awesome reaction. [Link]
Hole #8: Golf Poetry
On a week when Augusta National is sure to inspire some words and phrases rarely used to describe golf courses, here's a story about the games' poets. [Link]
Hole #9: LPGA Not Happy with Golf Digest Cover
Several LPGA players took exception to a cover of Golf Digest featuring a scantily clad Paulina Gretzky. The pros feel that the cover of a major periodical devoted to golf should promote golfers rather than the girlfriend of a golfer. [Link]