Preparations for the arrival of Tiger Woods paid immediate dividends for Masters officials Tuesday when the four-time champion practiced at the club and reportedly hit a few of his trademark poor wedge shots.
“They were installed at the practice greens to protect other players working on their short game in case Tiger decided to do some wedge game work,” said a source who saw but did not use the professional practice area reserved exclusively for Masters contestants. “Tiger bladed one when he was warming up Tuesday but the screen stopped him from bruising one of Gunn Yang’s ankles.”
Rumors of the protective screens filtered out in recent days as contestants and friends visited the club’s player-only practice facility. The tall screens were shipped in from an unnamed Florida spring training site, though one visitor said they appeared to belong to the Yankees and were repainted Masters green. The screens allowed Woods to working out short game kinks that have included skulls, chunks, half-blades and lofted Alfredo-Blados.
“The club thinks of everything, even painting them the perfect shade of green,” said Notah Begay, reached by Golf Central after attending Woods’ Augusta National practice session as the consultant to swing consultant Chris Como. “When I first saw them I didn’t think the fences were necessary considering it’s a 65/35 chance he even hits someone with one of his less-than-flush, inaccurately released wedge shots. Turned out it was more likely 99/1.”
Club officials would not comment on how the screens will impact Sunday’s Drive, Chip and Putt Championship, which incorporates the same practice greens for the competition. Though their portability suggests the screens will be put away when Woods is not practicing.
“Hopefully this Sunday they put the screens in storage so that the young kids do not see them,” said the source. “No child should have to see those and be left to wonder what kind of demons Tiger is fighting.”