Thunder storms at Augusta. And not just over the course where torrential rain on Tuesday night flooded bunkers and brought down trees destroying a $1 million on-course comfort station (translation: loo).

There were rumbles in the interview room at the media centre, too, when Augusta National Chairman Billy Payne gave the club’s annual State of the Nation address. Women members, or rather the lack of them, were high on the agenda much to Payne’s pain.

“What would he say to his granddaughters as to why they can’t be members at his club?” The woman reporter from US Today of course got a polite brush off. It’s a game. People ask questions. Payne replies that they don’t discuss club details or membership issue. It’s like watching Geoff Boycott playing for bad light against the West Indies.

Another query to the Green Jackets was whether there would be a lift, clean and replace rule in play for Thursday after the storm had made the fairways mud ball soggy. “It’s never been done before,” came the vague reply. One wag whispered: “It’ll never happen. They probably think that’s women’s work.” Ouch.

The traditional Wednesday Par 3 Contest saw Ant and Dec sharing caddie duties for Lee Westwood. Defending Par 3 champion Luke Donald chose not to enter this year after last year trying to break the famous jinx that has yet to see the Par 3 winner doubling up with a Green Jacket. “I’ll probably play it when my kids get a little older,” he said.

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