The best players in the world are on show this week, but there is one main attraction that everyone is here to see.
Visit any other golf tournament in the world and you can find secluded areas of the course where there are no players and no fans to be seen. I took a walk around Augusta National yesterday afternoon, and while there was not a player in sight, there were hundreds of fans still walking the course. It is clear that Augusta National is the star of the show that everyone is here to see.
You can visit Amen Corner at any point this week and there will be fans taking photographs and simply taking a look the most beautiful stretch of holes in the world.
While it is always mentioned that television gives no indication of the huge elevation changes at Augusta, it is also the huge expanse of land that has really surprised me. There is an area in front of the clubhouse and to the side of the 18th that could easily house another par-3 course. Instead it is just an area where fans can walk and relax. There are a number of areas like this that act as fantastic gathering points for patrons to sit enjoy a beer. These large areas of space also help to exaggerate how tight many of the tee shots are. The 18th is a perfect example of this. You approach the hole from a fairly open space and are presented with a claustrophobic corridor of trees and a huge bunker that dominates the raised landing area.
While many of our Open venues are breathtaking because of their rawness, history and tradition, I have never visited a course that feels so epic in scale and drama. The enormous trees, undulating greens and sloping fairways create a course that is beautiful and intimidating in equal measure. It creates an excitement and a buzz long before the first competitive ball is hit.