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Masters 2020: Golfers ready for a quiet Masters without patrons

Published: Nov. 10, 2020 at 4:25 PM EST
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AUGUSTA, Ga. (WRDW/WAGT) - Tournament play hasn’t even started yet, and already we’re seeing a very different Masters. It’s not just because everything looks so different. It also sounds different.

The absence of patrons is startling for many reasons. There are no grandstands, and the ropes have been replaced by faint lines. It also feels different. Their anticipation and excitement is palpable, but it’s missing this year. So are the roars.

If the loblolly pines ever whisper any of their secrets, this is the year golfers will be able to hear them. For the first time, they’ll echo through each narrow corridor usually reserved for patrons sounding an alarm.

“It’s electric,” Jon Rahm said. “And you can feel the difference in each roar. You know if it’s a Tiger Roar or a ‘Somebody Else Roar.’ You know what’s going on, so.”

Without an electronic leaderboard or even cell phones, it’s the ultimate word of mouth.

In 2019, patron roars became the soundtrack to perhaps the greatest comeback in sports history. “They helped me win. The support that I had, the energy that was around the property, it was electric that day,” said defending Masters champion Tiger Woods. “We all miss the energy of the crowds.  And yes, this year is going to be very different.”

When not fueling fires, the roars can add flavor and even some Masters magic.

“It’s just kind of more the ambiance and what really makes the Masters that next level special is the patrons, but as a competitor, it’s really no change,” Jordan Spieth said.

Still, no one knows for sure what a quiet Masters will bring because there’s never been one like this before. Here’s to hoping it’s the last.

“Hopefully, it doesn’t affect anybody’s performance,” Ram said. “We all do our best here, but still, we’ll miss them.”

Playing without patrons can offer unique opportunities for a power hitter like Bryson DeChambeau. Today he mentioned specifically playing 18 differently -- hopefully hitting it over these bunkers where patrons would usually be.

So the impact remains to be seen and heard this year only via a TV or computer screen.

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