GM's Robin Barwick gives his first blog installment from Augusta National as the 2014 Masters Tournament approaches

Words: Robin Barwick

We knew we were in for some heavy weather on arrival at Augusta National first thing this morning. On entering the media centre at a golf tournament on any given Monday, the printout of the local forecast is always one of the first grabs.

“The rain has started to surge eastward towards Augusta National this morning,” it began. “Rain and embedded thunder storms will occur,” it added. A “90 percent chance of rain” it confirmed further down the page.

And unfortunately for the Masters’ patrons today, the forecast could not have been more accurate. The patrons poured into Augusta National from 8am sharp this morning beneath pale and misty skies, which obscured the tops of the towering pines that define this peerless golf course. Visibility was low, and as 2012 Masters champion Bubba Watson led a modest string of golfers out onto the golf course, the skies gradually darkened.

By 10 o’clock the rains arrived and the sirens sounded, correctly anticipating the thunder that was soon to rumble overhead.

“Due to inclement weather conditions and safety concerns, it was necessary that we close the gates for Monday’s Practice Round at 10:00 A.M,” started a statement from Augusta National.

“The current forecast is that this weather front will not permit the reopening of the grounds.

“Purchasers of Monday Practice Round tickets will be sent refunds in May, and will be guaranteed the opportunity to purchase 2015 Practice Rounds tickets.  Further information will be included with the refund.”

So disappointment all around, yet Augusta cannot be expected to offer any better recompense to its soaked, first-day visitors.

“We are disappointed that our patrons could not enjoy today’s practice round, however safety must be our first concern,” said Billy Payne, Augusta National chairman, in the statement. “We look forward to seeing these Patrons next year.”

The last time the Masters gates did not open due to bad weather was Monday, April 7, 2003, exactly 11 years ago.

Robin Barwick travelled to Augusta National courtesy of Mercedes-Benz, global sponsor of the 2014 Masters Tournament.