This year's Masters will be different in many ways...
What Will A November Masters Look Like?
The Masters should have been and gone but we’ve still got another seven months to wait until the famed Augusta fairways appear on our TV screens once again.
The Coronavirus pandemic has wreaked chaos on everyday life, and the golf schedule too, with this year’s Masters set to be the final Major of three in 2020, as oppose to the first of four.
So what will a November Masters look like?
Firstly, it will be around 5-10 degrees celsius cooler, looking at average temperatures, but it could be even colder, especially if winds get up.
Most of the rainfall in the Augusta, Georgia area comes between June and September, meaning the course will almost certainly be softer than how it plays in April.
Fred Couples can vouch for that, saying that it will play “extremely long.”
“I hit a driver and a 2-iron, and then the second day it was like 40 degrees (4.5 degrees celsius) and windy and I hit a rescue into the first green,” the 1992 Masters champion recalled of a November round he played at Augusta.
“I don’t think it’ll touch 70 degrees (21 degrees celsius) in November, so the course will play extremely long.”
Brandel Chamblee says the same.
“My friends who have played there in November tell me the golf course plays quite long,” he said.
So we’re fairly certain that Augusta will be playing longer, with the cooler air temperatures and softer surfaces.
That means that we’ll likely see a Masters like never before, benefitting the longer hitters even more than the 7,768 yarder already does.
However, saying that, the last time we truly saw a cold Masters tournament was in 2007…when Zach Johnson won.
The American didn’t go for a single par-5 in two that week so precision will still be the name of the game despite the course playing longer.
The greens will still be their usual glass-like selves due to the sub-air system the club has.
“I will say this: the greens were unreal,” Fred Couples said of Augusta in November.
“We’re talking Augusta, so usually it’s 11 out of a 10 every year you play. I’m sure with the right weather and extra overseed and all that it’ll be outstanding.”
The winds will also be different, as the usual prevailing wind from the south switches from the north when the winter comes.
That will produce a new dynamic with holes that usually play downwind play into the wind during the tournament, meaning we may see some interesting clubs hit into holes and new strategies put into place of how to best play them.
The sun will be setting around two hours earlier too, meaning play will have to start earlier, a good thing for us in the UK.
Will that mean two-tee starts? Quite possibly.
Sunset will be around 5.30pm local time, meaning the action will be concluding on Sunday well before 10.30pm GMT.
Who knows how much time there would be left for a playoff if extra holes are needed. I wonder if that would go into Monday.
The usual pink flowering azaleas may not be out and the course will be looking very different to what we’re used to.
“I’m sure Augusta National will find a way to get some plants to flower in November,” Sir Nick Faldo told us, and he’s most likely correct.
Whilst there may be some new flowers ready-planted for the tournament, the trees will also be looking different and we’ll get an incredible view of the autumnal Augusta colours.
Either way, The Masters will still be The Masters despite things playing differently and looking a little different.
It won’t be spelling the beginning of the golfing season in the UK but instead be drawing a close to it, if we end up having one at all.
With it being the final Major of the year, the world’s best players will turn up to the event fresh off of competing at the USPGA Championship, FedEx Cup Playoffs, US Open and Ryder Cup.
Rory McIlroy thinks that will benefit him, especially as there won’t be a long eight-month lead-up building the pressure and hype around him attempting to complete the career grand slam.
“It will be a different feel,” McIlroy told Michelle Wie on a Nike Instagram Live chat.
“Two of the majors will have already been played, hopefully the Ryder Cup’s already been played.
“People will be in their routine and in the flow a little bit more.
“I always feel there’s this bit of anticipation going into Augusta, the first big event of the year.
“There’s all this hype. I don’t think it will feel like that this year, it will feel different but it’s something I’m looking forward to.
“It’s going to be a different Masters this year but personally, maybe selfishly, that’s what I need to get the jacket.”
Rory has never won a tournament in April but has won three times in November in his career, he might be just right.
By the time this year’s tournament is over, there will only be another five months to wait until Augusta appears on our screens again.
The Masters is always one of the best events in golf and come November it will be like no other we’ve ever seen in so many different ways.
I for one can’t wait.
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