Friday, April 11, 2008

Decent Scoring, but Still Boring?

Almost everyone has been somewhat critical of the changes to Augusta over the years. Particularly in the last two or three years, though, there has been a lot of talk from the players about the change in the character of the Augusta roars. Last year, there were hardly any except ANGC decided - in its benevolence - to pull the course back from the brink to allow some excitement on Sunday.

That conversation continued on Thursday. Tiger Woods said that "You don't really shoot low rounds here anymore. You've just got to plod along." Justin Leonard said that "I don't think anybody feels really comfortable on this course."

The columnists are getting in on the act, too. Art Spander has a not so hot reaction to the course:

A plodder's course that was a gambler's course. Augusta, revamped, revisited, and now by some reviled, still is the same course for everyone.

The experts will tell us the winning score isn't as important as the person who shoots it, that the ultimate way to judge a tournament is the strength of the leaderboard not the shouts from the fans.

"The only roar I heard all day," Woods said, "was for Poulter's eagle."

Great line in that first paragraph. You used to be able to take more chances at Augusta - off the tee, approaching with offline drives, from around the greens - and that doesn't happen anymore. Or, if it does, it is by a fluke.

What is most interesting to me is that there was some decent scoring in the first round. A 68 was posted and I went on record saying that 67 was the best possible score out there. In my mind, Justin Rose fired a near perfect round given the conditions. Despite that, and many other guys being under par, there still seems to be a calmness around Augusta that is not appropriate.

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