Day one of the 2012 Masters is in the book. The course was extremely wet and played extremely long at 7435 yards. Masters officials contemplated playing lift, clean and place, but the grounds crew did a great job getting the course ready for the day's competition and they played the ball down.
More wet weather is on the way at Augusta tonight, so they may have to exercise that option for Friday's round. The players got very little roll in the fairway and the balls stuck on many greens like darts. Numerous players commented about mud on their balls but as Louis Oosthuizen said, "It is the same for everybody and you get a few good breaks and a few bad."
The first-round leaderboard definitely has an international flavor. Lee Westwood is from England, Louis Oosthuizen is from South Africa and Paul Lawrie is from Scotland. Three of the six players tied for fourth are from other countries and three are from the United States.
I had a chance to listen to first-round leader Lee Westwood after his round and was very impressed. Westwood seems like a real nice person and would love to have a major title, but he said whatever happens (win or lose) he will not change as a person. He wants to be known as a golfer that had done more good things - very impressive for a first round leader to say.
I am pretty sure that every golfer that has played golf anywhere on the planet has looked at a 10-footer on hole 18 and said to themselves, "If I make this I win the Masters."
This major seems to be the one that every player would like to have on the mantle. The golf course is sneaky tough and as Westwood said, "You have to play Augusta with patience and know when to aim at the flags and when to aim away from them." He said the course is like a shark - "Augusta can eat you up."
For all of you young players please note that all of these guys know their stats. They know how close they are hitting every club and how far. The speed of the greens at Augusta is known for being lightning fast. With the wet conditions, the greens are playing a little slower, but if you watch on the tube they still look plenty fast.
Phil Mickelson tripled hole 10 and shot a 74, so with all of the potential wrecks at Augusta I still think that it is anyone's tournament. Lee Westwood commented, with a little grin, that the hole locations for the opening round at the Masters were a little "flowery." It will be interesting to see what the rest of the week will bring.
Steve Kottsick is the golf professional at Souris Valley Golf Course. He is writing a column each day from the Masters.