Masters notes: Best chance, best looking and getting better

 

 
 
 
 
Ben Crane holds his daughter during a practice round prior to the start of the 2015 Masters Tournament at Augusta National Golf Club on April 7, 2015 in Augusta, Georgia.
 

Ben Crane holds his daughter during a practice round prior to the start of the 2015 Masters Tournament at Augusta National Golf Club on April 7, 2015 in Augusta, Georgia.

Photograph by: Jamie Squire, Getty Images

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Augusta, GA

BROOMSTICK’S BACK: Adam Scott, the 2013 Masters winner, said it wasn’t a tough decision to go back to using the long, broomstick-style putter after abandoning it earlier in the season.

“It's very, very easy,” he said. “It's what I've been doing for four years. I just switched up for three weeks, and so to go back was a piece of cake. And really two days practice with it and I felt like I was at the levels I was at last year, which are very high, and that was the reason for it.

“I'm coming to a major. I'm not here to throw the balls up in the air and see where they fall. I want to make sure I give myself the best chance to perform at the highest level I need to to win.”

The long, anchored putters will be illegal starting next season, so many players have already begun the transition. Scott

said he most likely will use the long putter for all four majors this year before making the switch.

COURT JESTER: Sweden’s Henrik Stenson is the world’s No. 2-ranked golfer, but there were only a handful of reporters in the media room for his interview session Tuesday.

“Yeah, it's kind of heartbreaking,” he joked.

“No, it's just going to make it quicker so I can get out and do my practice session, so I'm quite pleased, to be honest.”

Often mentioned alongside world No. 1 Rory McIlroy and No. 3 Bubba Watson as favourites to win this week, Stenson was asked where he felt he might have an advantage against them?

“Better looking,” he said.

EURO DROUGHT: Stenson was asked if he had any theories on why no European has won the Masters in this century.

“I remember we had a conversation back in the mid‑2000s about not enough Europeans winning majors, but then Harrington won back‑to‑back Open Championships and G‑Mac won the U.S. Open; and Rory got on this nice run, Justin (Rose) and everything,” he said.

“There's been a couple of close calls obviously, and I'm sure we'll see European winners here, as well, in the near future. I'll leave the speculations to you. That's your job.”

ON IKE’S TREE: Tiger Woods didn’t play last year’s Masters, so he had never seen the 17th hole without the Eisenhower Tree guarding the left side of the landing area. The tree was taken down after being damaged in an February, 2014 ice storm.

“I didn't realize 17 was straight ahead. I always thought it was a little bit of a dogleg‑left. It's eye opening to see it's just dead‑straight,” Woods said. “I loved it the way it was. That tree, I've hit it too many times, trust me. I've had my issues on that hole, that tree. But I thought it was a fantastic hole. It's iconic, that tree, and I don't think you can ever, ever replace it.”

BUBBA GRUMP: By Tuesday, defending champion Bubba Watson had already heard about the ESPN anonymous poll of Tour pros who voted him the least popular player. He knew the question was coming.

“Here is the way I take it: I take it as I need to improve as a man. I need to get better. And I think over my career, since my rookie season to now, I've gotten better. But obviously there's more room for me to improve as a man,” he said.

“I've had some mess‑ups on Tour, and I think I've improved in those areas and I'm trying to get better. That's all I can do. I'm glad people call me out when they do; that's the only way I can get better. If I don't know about it, then I can't improve.”

Watson said he was one of the players polled.

“I put my name on there, too, because I'm not going to call out anybody, there's nobody I dislike on Tour,” he said. “I dislike them if they beat me, but I don't dislike them as a person.”

DRIVE, CHIP AND GROW: Scott, Watson and Mike Weir were among the Masters winners who presented awards to the winners of the various age divisions of the national Drive, Chip & Putt Championships on Sunday.

Scott had done the same thing in 2014, the first year of the Augusta National-sponsored event.

“I truly think they are onto something in growing the game this way; seeing the number of entries double from the first year almost is proof of that. I think it was about 30,000 entrants for this year's event,” Scott said.

“They are not all going to turn into Masters champions or the best golfer in the world, but they are going to get into the game, and that's what we need and that's what it's about.”

It’s not out of the question that the event could grow into a global competition.

“Ultimately, it might,” Scott said. “I really feel that the golf club here at Augusta National seems to be on the front foot with innovating the game and growing the game and taking the initiative to do the right things for the game.

“The logistics may be tough, but lots of things keep changing and seemingly for the better around here to do anything with the golf. It would be pretty incredible if that were to happen, if that were possible, and I can only imagine good for the game.”

ccole@vancouversun.com

 
 
 
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Ben Crane holds his daughter during a practice round prior to the start of the 2015 Masters Tournament at Augusta National Golf Club on April 7, 2015 in Augusta, Georgia.
 

Ben Crane holds his daughter during a practice round prior to the start of the 2015 Masters Tournament at Augusta National Golf Club on April 7, 2015 in Augusta, Georgia.

Photograph by: Jamie Squire, Getty Images

 
 
 
 
 
 
 
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