Masters Sunday: DCP, Tiger Arrives And Merch Review
The Drive, Chip and Putt is aging well. Tiger turns up for a late stroll. Crenshaw is ready for the Champions Dinner and an extensive review of Masters merchandise.
On Augusta National Sunday’s are as relaxed as this one, a first time visitor taking in the Drive, Chip and Putt might assume the national competition is a decades long Masters tradition. Now ten years removed from the initial fears the competition might interfere with the tournament or the kids might not perform in a way befitting this place, the DCP fits seamlessly into the festivities but provides the perfect way to ease into a week where tension builds each day until Sunday’s back nine.
Parents bring their kids.
Kids bring their parents.
Older folks wanting some Masters vibe without battling larger crowds come for have a sandwich in the shade while marveling at the grounds and young performers hitting drives, chips and putts. Plenty of locals use the day get a glimpse of Augusta National before turning the place over to the visitors. If they venture up to the first tee, they might even see some former champions.
Oh, and how could I forget? Grown men use the day to hoard garden gnomes.
These eBay flippers put on the strangest display of consumerism imaginable as they waddle out to the parking lot and onto Washington Road by 9 a.m., oblivious to the adorable kids coming from all over the country and putting on a show after surviving multiple qualifying rounds. Thankfully the Lords, having noticed the shamelessness of it all, have put a two-gnome cap going forward.
The ease with which the “DCP” fits in with the tournament might have been best encapsulated by Sunday’s putting green scene where Jordan Spieth, Sandy Lyle and Ian Woosman shared the practice green with the ponytailed Girls 7-9 division warming up. They all shared the space like it’s just another day at the golf course. The girls studiously prepping for their the putts at the 18th green, while Spieth was getting ready to take his older brother out for a Sunday round. The scene and many more like it through the day reinforced how ingrained the event has become.
The four girl champions were: Ashley Kim of Cerritos, Calif. (ages 7-9); Alexandra Phung of Forest Hills, N.Y. (ages 10-11); Maya Palanza Gaudin of East Falmouth, Mass. (ages 12-13); and Martha Kuwahara of Northbrook, Ill. (ages 14-15).
The four boy champions were: Knox Mason of Portland, Tenn. (ages 7-9); Neal Manutai of Laie, Hawaii (ages 10-11); Leo Saito of Hilo, Hawaii (ages 12-13); and Jake Sheffield of Knoxville, Tenn. (ages 14-15).
Tiger Takes A Stroll
With a stride noticeably more fluid than a year ago when he returned to competition following a 2021 car accident, Tiger Woods chose to walk the front nine with just a putter and wedge. He was accompanied by caddie Joe LaCava and TGR executive Rob McNamara. Woods flew in to Augusta Sunday afternoon and first hit balls for around a half hour at the Tournament Practice Area.
This will be Woods’ 25th Masters appearance. He is scheduled to talk with media at 11 a.m. Tuesday.
Crenshaw Ready For Champions Dinner
Besides former champions Woosnam, Lyle, Mark O’Meara and Vijay Singh, two-time Masters champion Ben Crenshaw played Sunday with longtime member and tournament committee member John Carr.
Crenshaw has hosted the Champions Dinner since 2005 when Byron Nelson asked him to take over the duties. Traditionally an unabashed celebration of the Masters and arguably one of the most coveted invites in world dinnerdom, 2023’s evening has taken on some uncertainty with former champions who’ve defected to LIV. Adding to the tension: three-time champion Gary Player making several recent incendiary (first world style) comments (covered in yesterday’s Quad).
If anyone this week can bring such an amalgamation of age groups, nationalities and gargantuan egos together under one dinner room, it’s Crenshaw. He told me Sunday that he has a plan to hopefully set the right tone and believes that reducing some obligations for the champions this year will lead to a more enjoyable evening.
The rest of us will eventually learn some time after Tuesday night whether spice was relegated to Scottie Scheffler’s meal.
Par 3 Course First Look
The official Masters account shared images of the Par 3 course showing some nice scenes but not much detail. Wednesday unveiling will be of interest for any number of reasons: from how the five new holes play to how many more Patrons can be accommodated. Reports of a new green building housing food and merchandise may also speak to just how much the revamped course has been re-imagined for Wednesday’s annual event.