Moody Augusta Makes for Muted Masters

The 2007 US Masters will be remembered not only for Zach Johnson’s surprise victory but also for an Augusta course that was unusually bitter and twisted towards its supposed subjugators, particularly during the first three rounds.

Normally Fine weather was replaced by wintry conditions and biting winds that added to the challenge of the extra 440 yards added in 2005 to combat big hitters.

The fact that not a single player finished under par for the tournament is testament to Augusta’s mood during the 71st Masters, and Johnson’s one-over 289 was the highest winning score ever.

Tiger Woods, who scored 18-under-par during his triumphant first pro visit to Augusta in 1997, was this year tamed by the hostile course.

He was quoted by Reuters as saying:

“Aggressive? On this golf course? Not in these conditions. No. You just go ahead and plod along and try to put the ball in the right spot if you can; and if you can’t, somehow just don’t have any wrecks out there.”

The keepers of the course defended the changes made to Augusta over the years, with chairman Billy Payne saying they would continue to make it as difficult as it needs to be to counteract equipment technology and player improvements.

However, one of the highlights of the Masters tournament is its ability to generate excitement on the final day. This was a stark contrast to Sunday when no one was able to make a decent charge and spectators were ho-humming.

As 2003 Masters champion Mike Weir said:

“I think this tournament is about excitement, the roars of the crowd. Fuzzy Zoeller said it well when he said it sounds like a morgue out here. You don’t hear any roars. All you hear is a little clapping for par putts.”

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