AUGUSTA, GA (WTOC) - One of the most prestigious tournaments in golf has begun: The Masters at the Augusta National Golf Club.
Unfortunately, practice rounds Monday were suspended as rain and lightning moved into the Augusta area, but the weather isn’t raining on everyone’s parade.
The horn blew around 3:45 p.m., ending the first day of Masters Week.
The heavy rain may have altered the schedules of some of the patrons and players, but those who have been there before don’t expect it to affect much else.
“They can get a lot of rain, and the next day, it seems like not a whole lot happened,” said Rickie Fowler, Best Masters finish, 2nd in 2018. “That’s one thing I never worry about here is the golf course. It’s pretty cool to see what they can do here.”
The rain is forecast to continue Tuesday for most of the day, but it’s expected to clear out Wednesday and set up for a nice looking weekend. It sounds like Rickie will wait until then to get back out on the course.
Rain or shine, one guy who is more than happy to be back at Augusta National is Charles Howell III. The Augusta native won his way into this year’s field at the RSM Classic in November. He’ll make his first Masters appearance since 2007, and he hopes being back in his hometown may give him a hand.
“It means I may have friends in the gallery, which is always good to see,” Howell said. “It’s not always easy to get tickets for everybody. Being from here, if anything, it helps me a little bit because I have friends and family around, but it’s still not an easy place to play.”
More patrons looked at the golf course Monday than golfers, though, and some are surprised that everything at Augusta seems as colorful as always this year.
For weeks, savvy Masters fans have wondered what impact the mild winter might have on the scenery at the 83rd Masters. Monday, they got their answer.
“It’s stunning. It’s so beautiful. The azaleas are beautiful. The fairways are more beautiful than most greens. The greens, everything is just stunning,” said Kathy Friedman, first time at The Masters.
There was some uncertainty about that before the gates opened. With some of Savannah’s azaleas blooming before St. Patrick’s Day, no one could be sure if Augusta’s familiar hues would show through this year. Turns out, there was no reason to worry.
“I was wondering, for sure. Seeing them bloom early, we thought they may have fallen off again as they have in other years, but they hung on. I’ve been several times, but it’s been several years since I’ve been out here, probably four or five years since I’ve been here, but it’s as beautiful as I’ve ever seen it,” said David Perpall, Augusta resident.
There seems to be more color in more places than in years past, but nowhere is brighter than Augusta’s 13th hole - where patrons will go to look at flowers hours before the first player arrives on the hole.
“Oh, it’s beautiful. Everything you could imagine it to be; lives up to it and then some,” said Anne Martin, first time at The Masters. “I love the colors. It’s so pretty. It’s really beautiful, especially the azaleas. It almost looks fake because the colors are so robust."
This is expected to be the warmest week of the year so far in Augusta, so those colors should continue to keep popping as we get closer to the Masters weekend.
As for Tuesday, thunderstorms are expected for much of the day, but even if the players never take the course, there will be plenty to pay attention to. We’re scheduled to hear from defending champ Patrick Reed as well as the tournament favorites, including Justin Thomas, Dustin Johnson, and of course, Tiger Woods.