Countering the claims that Augusta National has been altered beyond repair are several pointing to the wind as the sole source of Sunday's dull Masters affair.
Now, I seem to recall that since 2000 or so we've had to wait several years to judge the tree planting, rough and lengthening because the course was usually too wet to evaluate the impact. Then last year it was finally firm and fast but the spin said it was too cold to make a call.
This year we saw ideal weather for the first two days and pretty scoring conditions for the first three days (yet was there ever a sense anyone could get hot and post a 65?). The tough winds on Sunday made the course incredibly difficult, and therefore, we apparently still can't evaluate the state of ANGC.
Now, that assumes that the course can only be setup to be interesting and exciting on Sunday. A most contrived approach. However, let's not debate that and instead consider a few more reviews of Sunday's round.
David Feherty has no choice but to do some serious brown-nosing when it comes to the club, so here's what he says about Sunday's dull affair:
— We saw the perfect storm of conditions at Augusta on Sunday. The course couldn't have played harder, with the speed of the greens, the softness of the fairways and the howling wind. It's too bad the gusts were so great. A calmer day could have produced some back-nine fireworks. But the wind took an already difficult course right to the edge.Again, wasn't it pretty calm the first three days and pretty clear that a birdie run was out of the question?
His golf.com/SI counterpart
A phrase that had come to symbolize anything-can-happen excitement could now be sponsored by Sominex. Sunday's climax was all denouement.
Meanwhile over at ESPN.com they did their "Fact of Fiction" deal, asking if ANGC should be set up to encourage low numbers...assuming that's even possible.
Bob Harig, who reviewed the recent changes and the disappearance of a sense of vulnerability in a Monday column, says that "for the second straight year, the weekend was a survival contest, rather than the drama-filled back nine Masters fans have come to expect."
Jason Sobel, who apparently didn't notice the weather the first two days, asks "what would happen on a perfectly calm, 80-degree day?"
While Ron Sirak laments:
There are no more 30s to be shot on the back nine of Augusta National Golf Club. It's way too long and difficult now. I miss the roars triggered by eagles echoing through the Georgia pines. Now, you are more likely to hear groans triggered by double bogeys. I miss seeing a player in contention pondering over whether to go for the green in two on that pair of great par-5 holes , No. 13 and No. 15. It makes me sad to see players opting for an automatic lay-up on those holes.
So here's the fourth Masters question: is there something wrong with a design when it can only resemble its former self under a very select set of idea weather conditions?
To put it another way, is it simply not possible for an architect and committee to consider these weather extremes by offering alternate tee locations and enough width to maintain its integrity in unusual conditions?
How are those for two rhetorical questions?