Masters updates: Wednesday, April 6, 2022
Look here for continuous updates from the News 12 staff operating out of Augusta National Golf Club during Masters 2022
7:38 p.m.: Par 3 Contest ends in a tie
In a weather-shortened Par 3 Contest held Wednesday, Mike Weir and Mackenzie Hughes tied with a score of four-under-par 23.
Jason Kokrak recorded the sole hole-in-one of the day on No. 4, which marked the 101st hole-in-one made since the inception of the Par 3 Contest in 1960.
This is the third time in the history of the Par 3 Contest that there were dual winners due to the suspension of play. The last time this happened was in 2012.
Trophies are awarded to the winner and to the contestants who place their tee shot nearest the flagstick on each of the nine holes. Those results for Wednesday are:
- Hole No. 1: Billy Horschel ,16.5 inches
- Hole No. 2: Talor Gooch, 17.5 inches
- Hole No. 3: Brooks Koepka, 40 inches
- Hole No. 4: Jason Kokrak, Hole-In-One
- Hole No. 5: Gary Player, 2.5 inches
- Hole No. 6, Louis Oosthuizen, 13 inches
- Hole No. 7: Gary Woodland, 5 inches
- Hole No. 8: Scottie Scheffler. 27.5 inches
- Hole No. 9: Christiaan Bezuidenhout. 22 inches
6 p.m.: Starting times for Thursday, Friday
The real competition begins Thursday in the 2022 Masters Tournament, with the first round, Friday will be the second round.
But before that all, the honorary starters will start the competition by teeing off. Jack Nicklaus, Gary Player and Tom Watson will serve as the honorary starters in a ceremony for 7:40 a.m. on the No. 1 tee.
Here are the groupings and starting times for the competition:
Round 1, Thursday
- 8 a.m.: Jose Maria Olazabal, J.J. Spaun
- 8:11 a.m.: Mike Weir, Padraig Harriington, Austin Greaser
- 8:22 a.m.: Larry Mize, Sepp Straka, Franceso Molinari
- 8:33 a.m.: Fred Couples, Garrick Higgo, Guido Migliozzi
- 8:44 a.m.: Vijay Singh, Ryan Palmer, Kyoung-hoon Lee
- 8:55 a.m.: Min Woo Lee, Hudson Swafford, Cameron Young
- 9:06 a.m.: Stewart Cink, Brian Harman, Harry Higgs
- 9:17 a.m.: Zach Johnson, Si Woo Kim, Aaron Jarvis
- 9:39 a.m.: Luke List, Matthew Wolff, Mackenzie Hughes
- 9:50 a.m.: Danny Willett, Jason Kokrak, Talor Gooch
- 10:01 a.m.: Max Homa, Kevin Na, Shane Lowry
- 10:12 a.m.: Kevin Kisner, Daniel Berger, Tommy Fleetwood
- 10:23 a.m.: Bryson DeChambeau, Cameron Smith, Paul Casey
- 10:34 a.m.: Tiger Woods, Louis Oosthuizen, Joaquin Niemann
- 10:45 a.m.: Hideki Matsuyama, Justin Thomas, James Piot
- 10:56 a.m.: Adam Schott, Scottie Scheffler, Tony Finau
- 11:18 a.m.: Sandy Lyle, Stewart Hagestad
- 11:29 a.m.: Lucas Glover, Erik Van Rooyen, Cameron Champ
- 11:40 a.m.: Bernhard Langer, Christiaan Bezuidenhout, Cameron Davis
- 11:51 a.m.: Charl Schwartzel, Robert MacIntyre, Laird Shepherd
- 12:02 p.m.: Gary Woodland, Justin Rose, Takumi Kanaya
- 12:13 p.m.: Lee Westwood, Russell Henley, Corey Conners
- 12:24 p.m.: Patrick Reed, Seamus Power, Lucas Herbert
- 12:35 p.m.: Bubba Watson, Tom Hoge, Keita Nakajima
- 12:57 p.m.: Marc Leishman, Webb Simpson, Sungjae Im
- 1:08 p.m.: Sergio Garcia, Thomas Pieters, Harold Varner III
- 1:19 p.m.: Abraham Ancer, Tyrrell Hatton, Sam Burns
- 1:30 p.m.: Dustin Johnson, Billy Horschel, Collin Morikawa
- 1:41 p.m.: Will Zalatoris, Patrick Cantlay, Jon Rahm
- 1:52 p.m.: Jordan Spieth, Viktor Hovland, Xander Schauffele
- 2:03 p.m.: Matthew Fitzpatrick, Brooks Koepka, Rory McIlroy
Round 2, Friday
- 8 a.m.: Sandy Lyle, Stewart Hagestad
- 8:11 a.m.: Lucas Glover, Erik Van Rooyen, Cameron Champ
- 8:22 a.m.: Bernhard Langer, Christiaan Bezuidenhout, Cameron Davis
- 8:33 a.m.: Charl Schwartzel, Robert MacIntyre, Laird Shepherd
- 8:44 a.m.: Gary Woodland, Justin Rose, Takumi Kanaya
- 8:55 a.m.: Lee Westwood, Russell Henley, Corey Conners
- 9:06 a.m.: Patrick Reed, Seamus Power, Lucas Herbert
- 9:17 a.m.: Bubba Watson, Tom Hoge, Keita Nakajima
- 9:39 a.m.: Marc Leishman, Webb Simpson, Sungjae Im
- 9:50 a.m.: Sergio Garcia, Thomas Pieters, Harold Varner III
- 10:01 a.m.: Abraham Ancer, Tyrrell Hatton, Sam Burns
- 10:12 a.m.: Dustin Johnson, Billy Horschel, Collin Morikawa
- 10:23 a.m.: Will Zalatoris, Patrick Cantlay, Jon Rahm
- 10:34 a.m.: Jordan Spieth, Viktor Hovland, Xander Schauffele
- 10:45 a.m.: Matthew Fitzpatrick, Brooks Koepka, Rory McIlroy
- 10:56 a.m.: Jose Maria Olazabal, J.J. Spaun
- 11:18 a.m.: Mike Weir, Padraig Harrington, Austin Greaser
- 11:29 a.m.: Larry Mize, Sepp Straka, Francesco Molinari
- 11:40 a.m.: Fred Couples, Garrick Higgo, Guido Migliozzi
- 11:51 a.m.: Vijay Singh, Ryan Palmer, Kyoung-hoon Lee
- 12:02 p.m.: Min Woo Lee, Hudson Swafford, Cameron Young
- 12:13 p.m.: Stewart Cink, Brian Harman, Harry Higgs
- 12:24 p.m.: Zach Johnson, Si Woo Kim, Aaron Jarvis
- 12:35 p.m.: Luke List, Matthew Wolff, Mackenzie Hughes
- 12:57 p.m.: Danny Willett, Jason Kokrak, Talor Gooch
- 1:08 p.m.: Max Homa, Kevin Na, Shane Lowry
- 1:19 p.m.: Kevin Kisner, Daniel Berger, Tommy Fleetwood
- 1:30 p.m.: Bryson DeChambeau, Cameron Smith, Paul Casey
- 1:41 p.m.: Tiger Woods, Louis Oosthuizen, Joaquin Niemann
- 1:52 p.m.: Hideki Matsuyama, Justin Thomas, James Piot
- 2:03 p.m.: Adam Scott, Scottie Scheffler, Tony Finau
3:45 p.m.: Weather sirens again sound at Augusta National
For the second time today, weather sirens sounded at Augusta National Golf Club, suspending play for the day and telling patrons to get off the course. Possibly severe storms are headed to the area.
3:32 p.m.: Lee Elder scholars recognized at Augusta National
Among the highlights of a presentation by Augusta National Golf Club Chairman Fred Ridley was a follow-up on a gift to Paine College.
Since announcing Augusta National would fund the creation of a women’s golf team as well as a women’s and men’s golf scholarship in golf icon Lee Elder’s name, the organization has worked closely with Paine College to bring these initiatives to fruition.
Ridley recognized the inaugural Lee Elder scholars, Taya Buxton and Devin Smith, to his presentation on Wednesday.
“I know this would have been a proud moment for Lee,” Ridley said.
3:15 p.m.: Sweet scenes from the Par 3 Contest
2:19 p.m.: Tracking Tiger at Augusta National
1:45 p.m.: Appealing to a new generation
The chairman of Augusta National Golf Club shared the rationale behind allowing a very unconventional video.
The “All Star Sports Battle at the Masters” features golfer Bryson DeChambeau and the Dude Perfect trick-shot troupe using frisbees, baseball bats, pool cues and and an array of other non-golf equipment to play Amen Corner. The only rule: Each piece of equipment could only be used once.
DeChambeau said he was all-in when approached about participating in the video — but surprised Augusta National allowed it.
Augusta National Chairman Fred Ridley was asked about it during his wide-ranging State of the Masters news conference Wednesday morning.
“My first reaction was, ‘Who are these guys? I’ve never heard of them,’” Ridley said.
But Ridley said it was something he “got comfortable with very quickly.”
First, he learned that members of Dude Perfect — a group that’s very popular with young people — are very upstanding young men who have great respect for the game of golf.
He said they “made it obvious to me in their discussions ... they had the utmost respect and reverence for Augusta National,” he said.
“Going in, we knew that this group had 57 million followers on YouTube, and that sort of got my attention,” he said.
He said the video fits in with the organization’s efforts to grow the game of golf and show its relevance to different age groups.
“I’ve heard from a number of my law partners who have teenage children who said, ‘This is great. My kids want to go out and play golf,’” he said.
So the results of the video have been great, he said.
He said the organization will look at things like that in the future.
“I think it accomplished what we wanted to,” he said.
12:45 p.m.: Par 3 reset for 1 p.m.
Public gates have reopened at Augusta National and the Par 3 Contest has been rescheduled for 1 p.m.
12:09 p.m.: With lightning approaching, patrons advised to stay in cars
After sirens had sounded and play was suspended until 12:45 p.m., patrons have been advised to stay in their cars because lightning could be approaching.
11:46 a.m.: ‘We did not disinvite Phil Mickelson,’ chairman says
Phil Mickelson was not disinvited to the Masters, Auguste National Golf Club Chairman Fred Ridley said at a news conference Wednesday.
The news conference was for Ridley’s wide-ranging State of the Masters presentation, and a reporter asked a question about Mickelson, who won’t be participating in the year’s tournament.
“We did not disinvite Phil Mickelson,” Ridley said.
As a three-time Masters champion, Mickelson was invited to participate, Ridley said.
“Phil reached out to me ... and let me know the he did not intend to play,” Ridley said.
“I thanked him for the courtesy of letting me know.”
Ridley said he told Mickelson he was willing to discuss the matter further if he liked.
Ridley described the communication as a very cordial exchange.
Mickelson had drawn attention for comments about the Saudi Arabia-backed LIV Golf Invitational Series and the PGA Tour. He issued an apology but then went off the grid, saying he needed some time away to “work on being the man I want to be.”
Earlier this week, Masters competitor Bryson DeChambeau said he’d tried to communicate with Mickelson, to no effect.
“I’ve tried to reach out, but he’s gone dark,” DeChambeau said in a news conference at Augusta National.
11:38 a.m.: Chairman highlights commitment to community
Augusta National Golf Club Chairman Fred Ridley offered an update Wednesday on the State of the Masters.
Among the topics discussed was how important it is to the club to give back to the community.
He noted the completion of the Hub for Community Innovation, a project that was announced two years ago with a $10 million donation from the club. The Hub is a home for nonprofits and other community resources in the Harrisburg-Laney Walker area of Augusta.
On Wednesday, he announced continued commitment to that neighborhood with a $1 million donation to Augusta Technical College to initiate development of new automotive service training center in Laney Walker. He said the center should begin operations in 2022.
He said the project and the efforts by Augusta National will have a positive impact on these neighborhoods.
“We are proud to support these efforts and we look forward to doing more in the future,” Ridley said.
Ridley also said employees spend a lot of time volunteering in the community and are encouraged to take time off work to volunteer.
He said working with community partners during the pandemic has “highlighted many of the people in the community who have a sincere interest in the welfare of the community.”
11:22 a.m.: Sirens sound on golf course
Sirens are sounding on the course at Augusta National Golf Club and the staff is moving patrons and players off the course. Play is being suspended until 12:45 p.m. The same thing happened Tuesday with the approach of severe weather, marking the end of play for the day. As far as we know, the Par 3 Contest is still on but delayed.
10:45 a.m.: Watch Tiger skip ball on No. 16
10:25 a.m.: Jordan Spieth and Justin Thomas are good friends, Masters competitors
Close friends Jordan Spieth and Justin Thomas have been chasing the same golf dreams since they were teenagers.
Spieth holds the bragging rights, but Thomas is in a quest to win a green jacket of his own at this year’s Masters Tournament.
Here’s a look at their perspectives, as outlined in pre-competition interviews at Augusta National Golf Club:
“I feel very good coming into this week,” Thomas said. “I’ve been working hard. I feel like I have a pretty good game plan in terms of how I prep when I’m at home, and I feel like I did so. Just got to kind of stay in the moment and stay patient and just plot my way around the course once we start on Thursday.”
Thomas famously gets advice from golf superstar Tiger Woods, who himself is returning to the Masters this year. What kind of advice is Thomas looking for?
“I’m not necessarily asking him a lot of specifics about here,” Thomas said. “When I’m asking him stuff at home, I’m just — it’s just like I would ask Jon Rahm a question or ask Jordan a question. Any person or buddy that I respect their game and I think that they are really good and they maybe are a little bit better at something that I am not as consistently good at, like I want to learn, so I’m going to ask a question.”
He said he feels like he’s possibly underachieved in the majors but intends to change that.
“I feel like I’ve learned, but I’ve just put too much pressure on myself in the past and maybe put the tournament on too much of a pedestal and tried to, you know, just overdo things when in reality I should have faith in my game and the things that I can do on the course, with the golf ball, whatever it is,” he said. “I just need to get a little bit better at kind of getting in my own world and just going to play golf.”
Why have the greens at Augusta National confounded him so much?
“You know, it’s just so situational on where you are on the greens. I putt unbelievably -- I read the greens really well. I putt unbelievably when I come here in any other round, just fun rounds and play. I think because it’s a lot easier to get the ball where you want. It’s a lot easier to leave the ball underneath the hole because the ball doesn’t have that extra roll-out or doesn’t take that bounce that maybe goes just above the hole.”
“I feel like my game’s in a great spot. I feel like I’m ready to contend,” Spieth said. “And with the predicted forecast and if we don’t get too much rain, the course was as firm and fast as I’ve ever seen it on a Monday, yesterday. So ideally it gets back to that, throw in some wind, and you’re going to really need to know the golf course, plot your way around really well. I really like Michael’s preparation and my own as far as being able to plot ourselves around, miss in the right spots, and take advantage when we’re supposed to take advantage.”
He said he feels “very confident” this week, even if results over the last month or so haven’t been what he was looking for.
“I’d be disappointed if I didn’t give myself a chance this weekend,” he said. “Yeah, it would be a disappointing week this week. Having said that, who knows what weather conditions are going to bring and stuff like that. But I love this place. I feel good right now about my game. Like I said, if I’m just myself on these greens, then the rest of the game is coming around really nicely.”
What’s ahead for him this week?
“I’ve come in here after missing the cut and had a chance on Sunday, and I’ve come in here playing well and had a chance,” he said. “2017, I probably hit it the best, and it was one of my worst finishes. I just kind of almost throw it all out the window and say let’s just plot the way around that we always do and not try and get too cute, wait for your chances.”
9:41 a.m.: Photo gallery | Scenes from a damp morning
9:18 a.m.: Family-favorite event making a comeback
If the weather cooperates, the family fun of the laid-back Par 3 Contest will make a comeback during this year’s Masters week.
Yet another casualty of the pandemic, it’s been canceled for the past two years, but with the Masters back at full scale this year, the Par 3 is back, too. The first shot is at noon Wednesday, and people can watch it live from home for the first time in its history.
The competitors work through nine holes ranging from 70 to 140 yards in the northeast corner of the Augusta National grounds. There have been 94 holes-in-one during the contest — nine of them in 2016.
Dating back to 1960, it’s technically a competition, but it’s really all about fun.
Past champions and current players are invited, and their families, including their spouses and kids, often serve as their caddies — or at least dress like caddies. And they often make the shots.
So it’s really not about who wins. In fact, no winner of the Par 3 has ever gone on to win the Masters in the same year.
The last winner was Matt Wallace in 2019 with a score of 22.
9:05 a.m.: What drivers need to know this morning
All Masters Parking A lots are full, the city of Augusta reports,. Also, the Washington Road exit from Interstate 20 has reopened.
8:55 a.m.: Weather check-in
Right now, skies are drizzling with a light breeze in chilly conditions. We’re all crossing our fingers Mother Nature will cooperate with golfers’ plans today.
8:50 a.m.: A Tiger Woods update
Tiger Woods is out on the second nine holes working with Justin Thomas and Fred Couples ahead of Woods’ much-anticipated return. He announced Tuesday that he plans to compete in the Masters, which opens Thursday.
8 a.m.: What’s ahead for today
On the lineup for today is the family fun of the Par 3 contest, where the players’ kids and spouses often serve as their caddies. The opening shot of the relaxed event will be at noon on the Par 3 Course, and we’ll be there. Look for coverage here on WRDW.com and on News 12.
Also planned today at 11 a.m. is the news conference with Augusta National Golf Club Chairman Fred S. Ridley, always a highly anticipated part of Masters week. He’ll offer an update on the State of the Masters. Look for coverage here on WRDW.com and on News 12.
7:50 a.m.: Patrons hoping for better weather today
Patrons are streaming into Augusta National on this damp but not yet rainy morning. A day after a storm sent patrons home early, scattered showers and storms will be possible again today, mainly during the afternoon and evening hours — and forecasts indicate part of it could near the same severity as yesterday.
3:22 p.m.: Nicklaus, Player and Watson to serve as honorary starters
On Thursday, Jack Nicklaus, Gary Player and Tom Watson will serve as the honorary starters for the 2022 Masters Tournament. The ceremony is scheduled to begin at 7:40 a.m. on the No. 1 tee.
Augusta National Chairman Fred Ridley announced the addition of Watson as an honorary starter on Jan. 10. Watson won the 1977 and 1981 Masters Tournaments and finished runner-up three times in his 15 top-10 showings at Augusta National. He is one of 17 players to win multiple Masters Tournaments, and his 72.74 scoring average ranks fifth in tournament history.
Nicklaus, Player and Watson combined are the winners of 11 Masters Tournaments and have made 140 tournament appearances.
The custom of having honorary starters began in 1963 with Jock Hutchison (1963-1973) and Fred McLeod (1963-1976) performing the duties. Byron Nelson (1981-2001, non-consecutive), Gene Sarazen (1981-1999), Ken Venturi (1983), Sam Snead (1984-2002), Arnold Palmer (2007-2016), Nicklaus (2010-present), Player (2012-present) and Lee Elder (2021) have continued the tradition.
2:40 p.m.: Dustin Johnson answers reporters’ questions
Dustin Johnson feels like his game is trending in the right direction ahead of the Masters competition later this week.
He took questions from reporters Tuesday at Augusta National Golf Club.
“I feel like it’s definitely trending in the right direction,” he said. “Starting to see a lot more consistency with shots. I feel like I’m starting to control the golf ball a little bit better.”
He said at Augusta National, “chipping and putting is a big part of it, but you’ve got to be able to control the golf ball, especially when the course gets firm and fast.”
He says ahead of the Masters, he tries not to change his routine much.
“Preparation-wise, probably spend maybe a little bit more time around the greens hitting some chips and some putts, especially kind of we know where the flags are going to be, but just spend a little bit more time on short game, putting, just getting your speed dialed in,” he said.
Other than that, “I really try not to do anything different,” he said.
The 2020 Masters champion said now that he’s earned a green jacket, he doesn’t put as much pressure on himself as he once did. But that’s not to say he doesn’t intend to win.
“I still want to do well,” he said. “Next goal is to get another one.”
1:37 p.m.: What’s on the menu for Champions Dinner?
Tonight is the Champions Dinner, an annual tradition for the Masters. The menu is chosen by the reigning champion, in this case Hideki Matsuyama. He had the honor of choosing the menu, which reflects his home country of Japan.
Here’s what will be served:
- Assorted sushi, sashimi and nigiri, as well as yakitori chicken skewers as appetizers
- Miso-glazed black cod with dashi broth
- Wagyu beef ribeye with mixed mushrooms and vegetables with sansho daikon ponzu
- Japanese strawberry shortcake for dessert
1:19 p.m.: Jordan Spieth feels good about his game
Jordan Spieth says things are looking good as he goes into the Masters.
Answering reporters’ questions Tuesday afternoon: “I feel like my game’s in a great spot. I feel like I’m ready to contend.”
He said he’s good with the changes to the 11th hole.
“I saw 11 for the first time today, and I really liked it,” he said. “I was interested after what I’d been told. I was a little skeptical and then I saw it.”
He says his life has changed a lot since he recently became a dad, but it hasn’t brought big changes to his game.
“It’s amazing” being a dad, he said. “I’ve very much enjoyed it. The first couple of months were like, ‘What just happened?’” and in the past couple of months, Spieth has enjoyed watching his son grow.
It hasn’t changed his game, though.
“I feel like I’m in the game routine I always have been,” he said.
His son and wife have been traveling with him, he said.
12:11 p.m.: Groupings, starting times announced for Thursday
11:14 a.m.: Tiger says he plans to play
Golf superstar Tiger Woods told reporters Tuesday morning that “as of right now,” he plans to play in the Masters this week.
It’s been the question on everyone’s minds since he arrived in town a couple of days ago to practice and prepares for to potentially play in the Masters. He’s on the player list but has been mostly on the sidelines of gold for the past year since suffering injuries in a February 2021 car accident.
Until Tuesday morning, he’s said it could be a game-day decision whether he’d compete.
That changed Tuesday morning, when he said that “as of right now,” he felt he could play.
He said it’s not a matter of whether he can hit the ball; it’s a matter of whether he can handle getting around the golf course after suffering injuries that almost cost him a leg.
If he could sum up his thoughts after what he’s been through for the past 14 months, he said the word would be “thankful.”
“I’ve worked hard. I’ve been lucky to have great surgeons,” he said. “We’ve worked hard to get to this point.”
He said it’s been a tough year and he’s been through a lot of things “I wouldn’t wish on anyone,” and it’s been a tough road.
But, he said: “If I can still compete at the highest level, I’m going to.”
He said it’s great to be back at Augusta National and to people here.
“It’s great to be back and to feel the energy and excitement of the patrons again,” he said.
”It’s neat to feel the energy.”
10:50 a.m.: Play being suspended at Augusta National
With a possibly severe storm bearing down on the CSRA, Augusta National Golf Club announced that play will be suspended within a few minutes.
News 12 First Alert meteorologists tell us that although weather is not severe at the moment, lightning is about 45 minutes away from the area and the storm is moving fast.
The forecast calls for the potential of severe weather this afternoon. Thunderstorms are expected to continue through the afternoon, according to the official forecast from Augusta National Golf Club. The storms have the potential to be severe between 4 and 6 p.m. and an isolated tornado can’t be ruled out.
10:40 a.m.: Rory McIlroy says life feels normal again with full-scale Masters
Rory McIlroy told reporters Tuesday that this year’s Masters in many ways marks a return to normalcy after two years of the pandemic.
“Yeah, it feels like we’re back to normal life, I guess” he said. “It feels like a normal Masters again. It feels like we’re sort of over the ― we’re sort of at the light at the end of the tunnel, I guess, is the way I would put it.”
He said the crowds on Monday were “amazing” to see after no patrons being allowed in 2020 and limited patrons last year.
“Even driving up Berckmans Road, it took us ― what is a 10-minute drive usually, it took us 45 minutes to get to the club yesterday morning.”
He said his approach to the Masters is what it’s always been: “Just patience, discipline, don’t make big numbers.”
“It’s very ― in a way it’s ― for me, anyway, it feels like a very negative way to think, but it’s the way to play around this place.”
He even said, “It’s as much of a chess game as anything else, and it’s just about putting yourself in the right positions and being disciplined and being patient and knowing that pars are good, and even if you make a couple of pars on the par-5′s, that’s OK, and you just keep moving forward.”
He said he feels like his game is in good shape.
“I think it’s felt better than the results have maybe suggested the last few weeks.”
Does he think Tiger Woods will be playing this week?
“I’ve spent a little bit of time with him at home, and the golf is there. He’s hitting well, he’s chipping well. He’s sharp. It’s just the physical demand of getting around 72 holes here this week. That’s probably the question mark. But the golf game is there. So, would I be surprised? No, I’m not surprised at anything he does anymore.”
10:09 a.m.: Photo gallery | Scenes at Augusta National
Here’s a look at some of what we’ve seen this morning:
9:21 a.m.: Hideki Matsuyama feeling good
Reigning Masters champion Hideki Matsuyama says he’s recovering well from recent injuries and expected to be at 100% when Masters competition begins later this week.
He spoke at Augusta National Golf Club during an interview with reporters on Tuesday morning.
Reflecting on the past year as a champion, he said, “It’s been a great year. It’s great to be back here in Augusta. I’m very proud to be here as defending champion.”
The past couple of last couple of weeks have been a struggle, he said.
“Hopefully, though, I can find my game and be a good defending champion,” he said.
He said his initial injury was suffered at the Arnold Palmer Invitational in the second round, and since then, it’s been a struggle. He’s had a lot of treatment, but last week he had a flare-up at the Valero Texas Open. He said he was pain-free and feeling really good but woke up last Wednesday morning and his neck was stiff again.
But he’s feeling good now.
He said he was on the practice range this morning, “and really felt good -- probably the best I’ve felt in a long time. I’m looking forward to Thursday and hopefully will be up to 100% by then.”
Asked if there’s a distinctive style of golf in Japan that gave him an edge last year in the Masters, he said: “Golf is golf. It doesn’t matter what country you play it in. What it comes down to is just getting the ball in the hole. I don’t feel like there’s a big difference between Japan and the U.S.”
He was asked about his green jacket from last year’s Masters and whether he’s worn it a lot or had it dry-cleaned.
He said he thought about having it dry-cleaned, but, “I didn’t want to let it out of my sight.”
He added: “I’ve spent the last year looking at it a lot. I don’t wear it much, just look at it, and now I wish I’d worn it more.”
8:49 a.m.: Weather remains a question mark
Everyone’s talking about the weather, which is hanging like a dark cloud over Augusta National.
Skies are clear right now but the forecast calls for the potential of severe weather this afternoon. Thunderstorms are expected to arrive by 1 p.m., then continue through the afternoon, according to the official forecast from Augusta National Golf Club. The storms have the potential to be severe between 4 and 6 p.m. and an isolated tornado can’t be ruled out.
Then another round of showers and thunderstorms is expected Wednesday afternoon and evening.
Of course, it’s Georgia, so everything can change.
We’re hoping for a good three or four hours for golfers today — maybe more if the forecast changes,
We’ll be crossing our fingers and watching the skies.
8:42 a.m.: We’ll hear today from the big names in golf
We’ve got a full range of interviews scheduled all day with competitors, and we’ll be bringing you details here, elsewhere on WRDW.com and on News 12.
Here’s the schedule:
- 9 a.m.: Hideki Matsuyama
- 9:30 a.m.: Rory Mcllroy
- 10:30 a.m.: Jon Rahm
- 11 a.m.: Tiger Woods
- Noon: Dustin Johnson
- 12:30 p.m.: Justin Thomas
- 1 p.m.: Xander Schauffele
- 1:30 p.m.: Viktor Hovland
- 2:30 p.m.: Jordan Spieth
- 3 p.m.: Scottie Scheffler
- 3:30 p.m.: Sam Burns
8:36 a.m.: Will Matsuyama and Woods compete?
Anticipation is building with Tiger Woods set to speak at 11 a.m. and reigning champion Hideki Matsuyama scheduled at 9 a.m.
Both have been hindered by injuries, and there are questions about whether they’ll compete in the Masters this year.
Matsuyama pulled out of the Valero Texas Open last week due to a neck injury just weeks after a reported back injury.
And although Woods is on the player list for this year’s Masters and has been in town practicing and preparing, he hasn’t said whether he’ll compete and indicated it could be a game-day decision.
We’ll be covering the interviews with both Matsuyama and Woods, so look for details here.
8:22 a.m.: Traffic heavy around Augusta National
Gates have been open for a while and traffic is heavy on Washington Road, Riverwatch Parkway and all roads off of them in the vicinity of Augusta National Golf Club. Washington is lined with people advertising or seeking tickets, as well as heavy pedestrian traffic. If you haven’t left yet, allow at least 30 minutes per mile of travel.
7:30 p.m.: Tiger’s presence, shoes cause a ruckus
Tiger Woods is wearing Nike apparel this week as always.
Except his shoes.
He showed up for practice rounds Sunday and Monday wearing FootJoy shoes.
Woods hasn’t explained the change yet. He scheduled to address reporters Tuesday.
It would make sense if the change was related to what are likely different physical needs now that he’s trying to play on a right leg that was badly damaged in a car crash last year.
A statement released by Nike seemed to indicate that was the case.
7 p.m.: Patron shop brings in the purchasers
Bags and bags of merchandise were flowing out of the patron shop, but a popular item this year — maybe made popular by our newest Augusta National Women’s Amateur champ — bucket hats are very “in” this year.
And those garden gnomes are back, making an appearance in some very famous places.
But it doesn’t matter if you live across the country. When you make a trip to the Masters, everyone expects a present when you come home.
“I bought this for my accountant,” said a patron from Ohio showing a purchase. “Hoping he’ll discount my fees this year, son and girlfriend, and most of all, I bought this for me … ooh, this is very nice!”
5:08 p.m.: Peach ice cream sandwiches remain in question
The well-known Georgia peach ice cream sandwiches of the Masters could be a no-show this year.
They weren’t available during the weekend pre-Masters events at Augusta National Golf Club, and sources told News 12 they may not be available this week at all.Due to what could be a supply-chain issue, we were told the problem isn’t with getting the sugar cookies for the sandwich but getting the signature peach ice cream.
But rest assured that if anyone has the pull to get some peach ice cream in spite of supply-chain issues, it’s most definitely the Augusta National Golf Club.
So we’ll keep our fingers crossed.
4:30 p.m.: DeChambeau says he’s performing at 80%
In an interview Monday ahead of Masters competition, Bryson DeChambeau offered an update on his injuries.
Asked how close he is to 100 percent, he estimated he’s performing at 80 percent.
He said he need to “a little smarter” in how he practices since suffering two injuries.
“Today was first time I’ve been able to hit golf balls a lot of times,” he said, adding, “I feel pretty comfortable.”
He said dealing with the injuries has made him a better person, and he hopes to “continue trying to grow the game as much as possible.”
He said he’s grateful for the opportunity to play.
Like other golfers who were interviewed Monday, he said he hopes to see Tiger Woods play, although the superstar hasn’t decided yet whether to return to Masters competition after suffering serious injuries in a car crash last year.
Woods is practicing and preparing at Augusta National in case he decides to play.
“It’s great to see his face,” DeChambeau said of Woods. “It’s just great to see him in a very positive frame of mind.”
DeChambeau said Woods obviously wants to win.
“He’s one that may shock a lot of people to see him tee up this week,” DeChambeau said, adding he “couldn’t be more happy for him the place he’s at. Couldn’t be more proud of him, too, coming back.”
3:30 p.m.: Skipping all the way
2:45: Collin Morikawa has fond memories of Masters
In an interview with reporters, Collin Morikawa said rewatching Tiger Woods’ 1997 win was among his first Masters memories.
But the most memorable Masters moment was in 2019 when Tiger won, according to Morikawa. He told the story of watching it at a house rented by his college golf teammates.
“And that’s, like really special,” he said.
Before that, he said, he hadn’t normally watched every shot as closely.
But in 2019, “We were all just glued to the couch,” he said, “and glued to the TV.”
2 p.m.: ‘I’m excited every time I come here,’ Patrick Cantlay says
In an interview Monday afternoon with reporters, Patrick Cantlay said he thinks Augusta National is good for his golf game.
“Most everyone feels like the Masters is the tournament you want to win most,” he said.
“I really like the golf course,” he said. “I think it’s good for my game. I’m excited every time I come here.”
Like other golfers, he said it would be great to see superstar Tiger Woods out on the course again. Woods is in Augusta practicing and considering playing in the Masters but hasn’t made a decision yet.
A debilitating car wreck has kept Woods on the sidelines for the most part, so playing in the Masters could be a big comeback for Woods.
A reporter noted that Cantlay had just been on the green with Woods and asked how the experience was.
“I just thought it was good to see him,” Cantlay said.
“It’s always good to see him, although it seems like we don’t get to see enough of him,” Cantlay said.
“I’ve seen him play far superior to any golfer since Nicklaus, so naturally he inspires you,” Cantlay said.
“Seeing someone who is as close to anyone as as mastering the game is admirable,” he said.
“There’s definitely a different feel to tournaments he plays in.”
1:55 p.m.: Cameron Smith ‘can’t wait to get back out there’
Cameron Smith from Australia went before reporters for an interview about 1:30 p.m., saying he’s looking forward to this week.
“I really cant wait to get back out there this week,” he said.
He said one of the things that’s good about Augusta National is that it keeps him creative.
“I feel like I play my best golf when I’m creative,” he said.
He cited the slopes among the features that keep him on his toes.
Coming off a win at the Players, he was asked if he’s still hungry to win.
“Still pretty hungry, mate,” he said, although winning the Players, he said now he’s able to “tick that box.”
Like others, he said he hopes to see superstar Tiger Woods play again this year after suffering debilitating injuries in a car accident last year. Although Woods is in Augusta practicing at Augusta National, he still hasn’t decided whether to play in the Masters. He’s been mostly on the sidelines since the crash, so playing in the Masters would be a big move.
“Hopefully, we can see him out back out here playing golf again,” Smith said.
“I think he just inspired everyone to get out,” Smith said. “He made golf cool.”
He added: “I don’t think a lot of the young guys out here would be where they are without him.”
How will Smith approach the Masters this week?
“I think my game is kind of already there,” he said.
“I feel as though I can compete,” he said, admitting he hasn’t yet played Augusta National since last year but saying that was about to change before the competition begins,.
His thoughts on the new 11th hole are that the changes could be to his advantage.
“No. 11 hasn’t been my best friend the last few years, so I was happy to hear it changed,” he said.
1:14 p.m.: Photo gallery | Players getting in some practice
Throughout the day, players have been working in their skills. Here’s a look:
11:10 a.m.: Augusta National issues report on grass
Here’s the height of cut of the grass on the golf course, as reported this morning by Augusta National Golf Club:
- Tees: 5/16 inch
- Fairways: 3/8 inch
- Second cut: 1 3/8 inches
- Collars: 1/4 inch
- Greens surrounds: 5/16 inch
- Greens: 1/8 inch
All mowings are subject to weather conditions and growth, Augusta National says.
10:50 a.m.: Photo gallery | Players make the rounds at Augusta National
10:05 a.m.: Names to watch at this year’s Masters
The group of contenders at the Masters is getting longer as golf is getting deeper. Among the favorites this week are Justin Thomas because he’s always in the mix and Jon Rahm because he spent the past seven months at No. 1. Dustin Johnson is trending. Scottie Scheffler is the new No. 1 in the world and never seems to have a bad major. Neither does Xander Schauffele, a runner-up a few years ago. Rory McIlroy is always worth watching as he goes for the final leg of the Grand Slam. As for Tiger Woods? He hasn’t announced whether he’ll play.
9:51 a.m. Masters trivia time
Masters trivia: Which player was runner-up at the Masters to Jack Nicklaus and Tiger Woods? Click on the next photo for the answer.
8:39 a.m.: Photo gallery | Patrons enjoy the course
8:10 a.m.: We’ll hear from the players today
Coming up today ... News conferences are planned today by several players in this year’s Masters Tournament. Watch for coverage here on WRDW.com and on News 12. Here’s the news conference lineup for today:
- 1:30 p.m. Cameron Smith
- 2 p.m. Patrick Cantlay
- 2:30 p.m. Collin Morikawa
- 3:30 p.m. Aaron Jarvis and Keita Nakajima
- 4 p.m. Bryson DeChambeau
7:44 a.m.: The gates have opened
The course has opened at Augusta National Golf Club, welcoming Masters 2022 patrons.
The gates opened shortly after 7 a.m. for the first full-scale Masters in two years, promising the full experience.
One highlight could be the official return of Tiger Woods to professional golf. He’s been mostly sidelined since suffering debilitating injuries in a February 2021 car crash. He’s on the player list for this year’s Masters, played a practice round a few days ago and came to Augusta National again on Sunday for more practice.
But he said he hasn’t yet decided whether he’ll play.
3:21 p.m.: Tiger Woods steps onto practice range
Copyright 2022 WRDW/WAGT. All rights reserved.