The 84th Masters Tournament already felt calm on Monday morning due to COVID-19 restrictions as the pandemic affected tournaments again. Some players had not even started their practice round when the latest news emerged.
Masters 2020, played seven months later than usual and without protection or bright spring colors due to the coronavirus, lose other players from the field – former champion – for testing positive for COVID-19.
Sergio Garcia, the 2017 winner, is the second player to be forced to resign due to a positive test result. Joaquin Niemann resigned last week.
Photo: Monday Training Round
The news of Garcia came about an hour and a half before club chairman Fred Ridley broke the news of the joy. In the afternoon press conference, Ridley announces plans to honor Lee Elder and reaching out to help to Paine Augusta University – Historical Black College and University – on behalf of the Elders.
Elder, now 86 and the first black man to play in the Masters Tournament 45 years ago, will be an honorary starter alongside Jack Nicklaus and Gary Player to start the 2021 Masters in five months. The hope was that the country had a virus under control enough at that time to have customers witnessing the honor of the Elder.
“With regard to considering Lee’s participation this year, I think I would just say that we thought it would be much more appropriate and a much bigger celebration if we did this in April next year, when we hope – and I emphasize a word of hope – that we will have lots of customers who see us together with our viewers around the world, “said Ridley. “We thought it was the right thing for Lee to have a moment that we hope will last forever.”
Ridley said the Elder would not permanently join Nicklaus and Player as an honorary starter.
The elder said Ridley broke the news to him on a phone call about 10 days ago, and he kept it a secret until Ridley made the announcement.
“That is very good news,” said Elder. “My wife and I just finished breakfast and we sat chatting and the phone rang. When I hung up the phone there were several tears in my eyes. That’s something I’ll never forget: having the chairman himself call and let you know it’s more satisfying. It’s something I will cherish for the rest of my life. “
Ridley also announced the creation of the Augusta National for the Lee Elder Scholarship at Paine. Two scholarships will be awarded annually, one each for a student athlete competing on the men’s and women’s golf teams. Augusta National will also fund the creation of a women’s golf program at Paine.
Photo: Lee Elder at Masters
“I think like all organizations, we were moved by the events of 2020,” said Ridley. “There is a lot of talk about racial justice and opportunity, and our question is not what we can say but what we can do.
“So I think I would say that this announcement is partly a call to action on that,” he added. “Lee has a long relationship, we have a long relationship with Lee. Definitely since 1975, but he’s been our guest here almost every year at the Masters. “
As for Garcia, his active streak in 84 consecutive major championships has ended. Adam Scott, the 2013 champion, will take over that lead on Thursday when he tees for the 77th consecutive time in a major.
On his Twitter feed, Garcia said, “After 21 years of not missing a major championship, I will miss the Masters this week. What matters is my family and I feel good. We’ll come back stronger and try out the green jackets in April. “
Scott, Tony Finau and Dustin Johnson tested positive for COVID-19 in the months leading up to the Masters, but were released in time for the last major championships of the calendar year.
“So it’s been bad timing (for Garcia), and it’s a silver lining for myself, and I’ve been talking to Dustin about whether we get it at that means we won’t miss the Masters,” said Scott. “But it looks like almost one man a week, or maybe a little more, tests positive, and there will be a partner here.”
On Monday, players make their way courses that don’t have galleries excited to see their favorite stars on the first day of the practice round. In contrast, defending champion Tiger Woods and his teammates work out their game as they do at their local clubs, not the world’s most prestigious major championships.
Photo: Tiger’s First Exercise
Woods didn’t share his thoughts on how the course played out after his training round with pre-tournament favorites Bryson DeChambeau, Justin Thomas and 1992 Masters champion Fred Couples, but others did.
“I think it will likely be a softer test than April, and I think with the forecasts scheduled it will definitely be gentler,” said Patrick Cantlay. “That will be the biggest difference. The grass may be only slightly taller and the field may play a little slower than normal. I think a lot of that also just depends on the weather, and the fact that it’s November this year, maybe a lot more talked about, than if it was just a rainy week in April. “
Natural colors are seen all around the field, but unlike the normal colors of the azaleas and dogwoods that bloom in April. On the other hand, some autumn shadows began to appear on some of the trees.
Photo: Bryson DeChambeau Monday practice
It was a strange sight to see Monday’s practice round without any visitors. From the top of the hill near the large oak tree in front of the clubhouse, players can be seen moving around the field, as far as the second green, which is usually blocked by fans.
“And the atmosphere will be less this year, just because it has no fans,” said Cantlay. “I think the fans here are some of the most educated fans, and some of the most respectable fans, so they really add to the tournament in a way they don’t every week. Hard to explain. “
Scott said the gallery helped lead him to a sudden win over Angel Cabrera in 2013. He said the gallery was so hard running the 10th fairway – the first playoff hole, where he won by birdie – that he had to lift it. voice to make himself heard by caddy Steve Williams.
“When it’s going your way and the crowd is supporting you, learning to use it as a positive to move forward is fantastic,” says Scott.
The manual scoreboard is in their normal place, but there are no stands. Instead of a restricted course, green dotted lines were painted on the ground for some volunteers and the media. However, the crossing still exists, and is manned by volunteers.