Nick Bonfield brings you nuggets of insight in his notes from the range - Tuesday at The Masters column
Notes from the range – Tuesday at The Masters
You don’t quite know what to do with yourself when you pitch up at Augusta National for the first time. As it transpired, I dumped my belongings in the media centre and, before gathering my thoughts, boarded a media shuttle to the first fairway. From there, I wandered around fairly aimlessly with a look of bemusement and amazement no doubt etched across my face.
When I snapped out of my trance and reminded myself I’d come here to work, I headed straight for the range. An afternoon stint followed a few hours later, and in those two sessions I was able to collect a few clues as to who might contend this week at The Masters.
My observations are below…
Dustin Johnson spent an entire hour (at least) working on his wedge game, which seemed to be functioning very well indeed. You can read my analysis in full here.
Jimmy Walker looked really impressive as he dispatched a series of piecing long-irons shots to a flag some 200 yards away. I’ve no idea how or why he’s 100/1, but I’d definitely recommend putting some money on the 2016 USPGA Champion.
Justin Thomas seemed to be struggling a little with his distance control on wedge and bunker shots, but there was some breeze early on Tuesday morning.
Brooks Koepka was comfortably the longest on the range this morning, despite the presence of Walker and Rickie Fowler. As I was watching him work drives both ways, I heard a man behind me recount a rather good story…
It turned out the pair had played together during Monday qualifying for a Web.com Tour event in 2012. The man was amazed by how good he was and saved Koepka’s number as ‘Brooks Great Golfer’ as he couldn’t pronounce his surname!
In the afternoon, I caught the end of what looked like a fairly hands-on session between Justin Rose and Sean Foley. A few minutes before, Rose had cancelled his appearance in the media centre. It looked to me as if they were working on iron play, something the Englishman hasn’t been too happy with this season.
Related: Justin Rose swing sequence
On the putting green, two of the game’s best exponents of the flat-stick were hard at work.
Jordan Spieth seemed to be working very hard on alignment, particularly on long putts. His short-range putting was exceptional, though. On one occasion, I watched him hole ten consecutive six-footers with consummate ease.
Brandt Snedeker’s stroke looked as good as ever. He holed every putt in an around-the-clock drill before placing one ball at 4ft, one at 6ft and one at 8ft away from the hole. There was an emphasis on speed as he knocked all three into the cup, clearly trying to rely on instinct as much as possible.
Attend The 2018 Masters with Your Golf Travel – visit yourgolftravel.com/us-masters Experiences including flights, hotels & tickets are available. Nick Bonfield travelled to the 2017 Masters courtesy of Your Golf Travel.