The course not only looks different; it sounds different. The roars that once echoed across the pines and made it possible to track a golfer's progress three holes away are becoming a thing of the past.
There were a near-record number of eagles in Round 1 and a healthy total of 267 birdies in Round 2. But the course has become so treacherous in spots, and the galleries treated to so many disasters, that the patrons spend more time sitting on their hands than putting them together.
"You don't hear any roars, do you?" Fuzzy Zoeller, the blunt-speaking former champion said on his way out of town after missing the cut. "And I'm not sure there's going to be charges like we used to have out here when guys get on a roll. I'm not sure that's going to happen — unless somebody gets lucky and starts chipping them in."
I really disliked the Butler Cabin ceremony at Augusta. I always felt that the best thing to do would be to go right to the public presentation of the green jacket, with emotions still at a fever pitch and all the people and a national TV audience there to see it. To go inside the flower-infested catacombs of the Butler Cabin and watch the club chairmen perform the ceremony they were helpless — really let the air out of the balloon. One year Hord Hardin asked Bernhard Langer how he pronounced his name. Another year he asked Seve how tall he was. I would watch this with my face in my hands, but the club wouldn't have it any other way. Oh, well. FRANK CHIRKINIAN