Luke Donald, left, of England, and amateur Patrick Cantlay walk across the Byron Nelson Bridge on the 13th hole during a practice round for the Masters golf tournament Tuesday, April 3, 2012, in Augusta, Ga. (AP Photo/Matt Slocum)
AUGUSTA, Ga. — We are going to move quickly and frequently today. From the satellite offices here at Augusta National, let’s go.
We wrote about the tradition in Wednesday’s TFP, and all of the regulars around these parts know how highly we regard this event.
To be frank, it’s the bees’ knees.
It’s the perfect blend of nostalgia and world-class competition. How much does this place value its legends and legacies? Jack Nicklaus, Gary Player and Arnold Palmer started this 76th Masters this morning with ceremonial tee shots down the middle of the fairway. Among the gallery glad in his Augusta Masters green jacket was Phil Mickelson, who is in the final tee time today.
It’s still about the golf
The pre-tournament rain has made length off the tee paramount, especially early before the course dries out.
Plus, there is more bad weather is coming. It will be hard and ugly from about 3 p.m. on today. It is doubtful we will complete the first round today. So it goes.
But right now it’s perfect. Simply perfect out there, so there could be a really low number posted around lunchtime today from one of the early groups. Keep an eye on a Ross Fisher or anyone in the Adam Scott, Bo Van Pelt, Martin Kaymer group. Some other tee times of note: Tiger tees at 10:35 a.m., Mickelson goes at 1:53 (and likely again very early Friday morning), Rory McIlroy goes off at 1:42 (and likely again very early Friday morning).
The Mastering the Masterful Masters Challenge is officially the most popular 5-at-10 contest. Well done all around.
Here's a rule recap: Submit your top five players (order on the entry is not important) points will be awarded as 10 for first, 7 for second, 5 for third, 4 for fourth and 3 for fifth and one point for each of your golfers that made the cut but did not crack the top 5; perfect score is 29. Whoever has the most points will get a Masters trinket or something (we won't bring you back a pimento cheese sandwich, but don't expect the moon either — the 5-at-10’s on a tight budget).
Quick reminder: Everyone check your picks and make sure we got them right, and if you don’t see your name, send us a reminder. Thanks and let’s have a little fun out there today.
Blueoval — Mickelson, Tiger, Donald, Mcllroy and Mahan
StuckinKent — Phil Mickelson, Tiger Woods, Rory McIlroy, Lee Westwood, Adam Scott
BIspy4 — McIlroy, Phil Mickelson, Jason Day, Keegan Bradley, Geoff Ogilvy
mcpell3 — Verplank, Mickelson, Choi, O’Meara, Donald
Dawg747 -- Mickelson, Stricker, Day, Mcllroy and Mahan
TFP golf ace David Uchiyama — Tiger, McIlroy, Lee Westwood, KJ Choi and Bo Van Pelt
Mrs. 5-at-10 — Mickelson, Bubba Watson, Zach Johnson, Rory McIlroy, Steve Stricker
5-at-10 — Tiger, Bubba, Rory, Keegan Bradley, Hunter Mahan
BeachBum -- Watson (Bubba, not Tom), Ishikawa , Adam Scott, Alvaro Quiros, Bill Haas
FEChancellor -- Eldrick Woods, Hunter Mahan, Rory McIlroy, Graeme McDowell, Phil Mickelson
CelticVol -- Tiger Woods, Phil Mickelson, Adam Scott, Bubba Watson, Zach Johnson
wc777 -- Tiger Woods, Hunter Mahan, Rory McIlroy, Luke Donald, Graeme McDowell
SportTalk’s Quake -- McIlroy, Tiger, Mickelson, Adam Scott, KJ Choi
SportTalk’s Dr. B (he is a doctor after all) -- McIlroy, Tiger, Mickelson, Justin Rose, Keegan Bradley
SportTalk’s Cowboy Joe -- McIlroy, Tiger, Mickelson, Zach Johnson, Luke Donald
BShep -- Justin Rose, Luke Donald, Tiger, Johnson Wagner, Adam Scott
TFP UT ace Downtown Patrick Brown -- McIlroy, Mickelson, Kaymer, Westwood, YE Yang
Jones -- Tiger, Day, Stricker, Mahan, McIlroy
scole023 — Tiger, Mickelson, Rory, McDowell, Oglivy
JordanRules — Tiger Woods, Adam Scott, Charl Schwartzel, Stricker, Couples
Fred — Bubba Watson, Tiger, Phil Mickelson, Lee Westwood, Hunter Mahan
Weena — Anders Hansen, Tiger, Dufner, Mahan, Mickelson
Player A — Tim Clark, Jason Day, Keegan Bradley, Rory McIlroy, Adam Scott
Player B — Rory, Westwood, Baddeley, Mahan, Mickelson
This and that
— Your Atlanta Braves open their season today. Opening Day is awesome in its awesomeness because of the sense of optimism and renewal and all of it. You know what else we love about Opening Day? The “At this pace” conversations. Let’s say Freddie Freeman hits a couple of homers today and drives in four runs. We can assure you that we’ll share Friday that Freeman is on pace to hit 324 homers and drive in 648 runs, and those would be records. (Side note: We need to get Freddie Freeman a nickname. Like yesterday.)
— Awesome NBA game last night with the Miami Heat holding off an Oklahoma City team that is better than everyone is willing to admit. Hey, we’re a fan of LeBron’s talent, that’s no secret. But he seems to be on a mission right now. From his 41 the other night in a road win with D-Wade in street clothes to last night’s overpowering performance. The playoffs will be fun.
— Our UT ace Downtown Patrick Brown has a good story on new Vols defensive coordinator Sal Sunseri. We were unsure about hiring Sunseri — he apprenticed under Nick Saban, and hiring a Saban defensive assistant and expecting greatness is not unlike hiring Michaelangleo’s paint mixer and expecting a masterpiece — but this may be a better hire than we originally thought. We’re a long way from Aug. 31, but we like what we’re hearing.
Gang, bring whatever you want. It’s a great day to be a sports fan.
That said, here’s our schedule today:
We’re going to be back and update live throughout the day here at the 5-at-10.
We’re going to be on SportTalk around 5:15 p.m.
And we want to hear your thoughts, predictions, complaints, what have you.
Bring it and enjoy the day.
Jay was named the Sports Editor of the Times Free Press in 2003 and started with the newspaper in May 2002 as the Deputy Sports Editor. He was born and raised in Smyrna, Ga., and graduated from Auburn University before starting his newspaper career in 1997 with the Newnan (Ga.) Times Herald. Stops in Clayton and Henry counties in Georgia and two years as the Sports Editor of the Marietta (Ga.) Daily Journal preceded Jay’s ...