Bunker Mentality
  • Bubba Watson: An absolute mess of contradictions

    A crowd of thousands had gathered around the practice green at Augusta, standing ten deep and leaning over the railing of the clubhouse's famous verandah. Billy Payne, chairman of Augusta National, was in the midst of introducing dozens of representatives of golf associations from around the world. Adam Scott, defending champion, looked every bit as smooth as he ever does. A sea of green jackets flanked them all.

    And in the middle of it all, the man of the hour, the one for whom all this pomp and circumstance was necessary, sat up straight, fingers steepled on his knees, looking exactly like

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  • Who will come through the pack to win this Masters?

    If you're following the tired old cliché about the Masters not beginning until the back nine on Sunday, you're missing some fine golf. Yes, there's no Tiger, and Phil tapped out Friday night. But we've still got star power young and old up and down the leaderboard. Below, we run down the leading contenders for this year's Masters.

    Jordan Spieth (-5): The story of the Masters on Sunday. He's 20 years old; he's been on a rocket ascent that no one could have predicted. Every opportunity that Spieth has had to gag, he's risen to the occasion with uncommon grace and tenacity. If he manages to win

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  • Meet Jeff Knox, the guy with the greatest job in golf

    Jeff Knox

    That gentleman above is Jeff Knox. No matter what you're doing this weekend, Jeff's got one up on you.

    Knox is the official Augusta "marker," a tournament representative who plays in the event that an odd number of players make the cut. Many other tournaments simply send that odd man out on his own, but at Augusta, you're always under the care of the club, even out on the course.

    This year, Rory McIlroy was the 51st and final player to make the cut, meaning that Knox got to tee it up Saturday morning with a two-time major champion. Not a bad way to spend a day.

    The purpose of a marker is

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  • Don’t feel sorry for Phil: 18 thoughts about Mickelson

    Phil Mickelson

    Phil Mickelson did not play particularly well the first two rounds of The Masters. He shot a 76 on Thursday and a 73 on Friday to finish at +5, and as a result he missed the cut for the first time since 1997.

    Here, then, are a few thoughts on Phil at the midpoint of The Masters.

    1. I probably don’t need to begin with this disclaimer, but it’s relevant for what follows. I have never won a Masters, and neither, I assume, have you. (If you have, let’s talk. Perhaps over a round of golf at a certain Georgia club.) Matter of fact, I’ve never even played in a Masters, and thus I don’t know what

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  • Golf fans playing referee needs to stop

    Luke Donald at Augusta

    Golf has a lot of rules. A lot. At the heart of each one is a good intention, so this isn't a debate about the rules, per se.

    Certainly not Rule 13-4, which Luke Donald violated during Thursday's opening round of the Masters when he smacked his club against the sand after hitting a shot in a greenside bunker on the ninth hole.

    Rule 13-4 essentially states you can't touch your club to the ground in a hazard, in this case the hazard being a sand trap. Donald hit his shot, then smacked his club against the ground after the ball ended up back in the bunker.

    The smack of the club cost Donald a

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  • Lee Westwood at Augusta

    Lee Westwood has never won a Major, but he has eight top-three finishes in Major championships - that's more than any golfer in history without a Major win on their CV.

    And the longer that streak continues, the more pressure there will be on Westy to produce the goods - and the harder it'll be for him when he's standing over those nerve-jangling putts on the back nine on Sunday, we'd imagine.

    But as well as the pressure of his place in history, Westwood has another huge variable to put in the mix if he breaks his Major duck this week: the £2 million bonus he would get from one of his

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  • Luke Donald plays out of the sand on day one of The Masters

    Luke Donald was penalised two strokes at The Masters on Thursday for grounding his club while the ball was still in a bunker on the ninth hole.

    That's unusual in itself - professionals almost never make those sorts of silly mistakes. But even more unusual is the fact that the infringement wasn't spotted by Donald himself, or a rules official, or a fellow competitor... but by a fan on the ground at Augusta National itself.

    A spokesman for Augusta National confirmed to Yahoo Sports that the penalty was reported by a "patron" - as fans are called at Augusta - to an official on the course.

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  • Jason Dufner makes nine on easiest hole at Masters

    Because of his ultra laidback approach to golf, Jason Dufner's body language is often harder to read than the greens at Augusta National.

    The unflappable American rarely shows any hint of emotion, even when he won last year's PGA Championship to capture his first Major title.

    In the opening round of the Masters on Thursday, Dufner's easygoing nature was put to the ultimate test when he took nine shots to complete the par-five 13th hole, statistically one of the easiest holes on the course.

    Dufner was in a great position to at least par the 510-yard hole when his second shot landed just off the

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  • The unknown fan's receipt from the official Masters gift shop

    Pro tip: if you're attending the Masters, make sure to hit the gift shop as soon as you walk in the gates.

    Elite tip: make sure your credit line runs deep.

    Yes, despite the amazing course, wonderful golf on display and $1.50 pimento cheese sandwiches, the official Masters gift shop is one of the biggest draws at Augusta.

    For the lucky few who make it through the gates, there's a chance to splash out on all manner of Masters-logo gear which is not available anywhere else in the world except the tournament itself. (And probably the odd market stall in Hong Kong and Thailand, of course, but we

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  • Jack Nicklaus puts on the Green Jacket for the first time

    The green jacket is one of the most revered spoils of victory in sports. Matter of fact, it's so exclusive that the winningest Masters champion in history never actually got his own jacket after any of his six victories.

    Jack Nicklaus, the only six-time Masters winner, discussed his personal history with the green jacket on Thursday shortly after striping a ceremonial tee shot down Hole 1 to open the 2014 Masters. Nicklaus won his first Masters in 1963, and when he arrived at the green, The Powers That Be had a 46 long waiting for him.

    "It looked like an overcoat," Nicklaus recalled, and

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