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Last Updated: Thursday, 6 April 2006, 22:38 GMT 23:38 UK
Augusta Diary
Iain Carter
By Iain Carter
BBC Five Live golf correspondent

I'm writing this as the first tee shot is being struck by Rodney Pampling. I can't think of a better place to be right now.

The sun is shining brilliantly through the tall pines, spectators (or Patrons as the Augusta authorities call them) are lining the emerald green fairways and the bright yellow flags are hanging limp.

Vijay Singh
At least Vijay Singh has shown scoring in the 60s is possible, so I don't feel quite so foolish

Beside the clubhouse there stand no fewer than 43 golf bags awaiting their owners, all of whom, no doubt, are feeling the unique sense of anticipation that greets the first day of major golf of the year.

We've had a guess at the lowest first round score. The Five Live team predictions are: Alistair Bruce Ball 66, John Murray and producer Graham McMillan 67s and me 65 (this course isn't that hard!).

It is a sporting paradise, though no one can truly relax. There are many dos and don'ts at the Augusta National, in fact the don'ts way outstrip the dos.

"No cell phones, weapons or cameras," (interesting order) shout the guards as you approach the gates.

You're not allowed to run on the grounds - even when it's pouring with rain.

At the par 3 contest, a patron was lying back taking the rays and was told by stewards to sit up and in the afternoon heat another spectator was told to put back on the shoes he'd removed from his feet.

Miguel Angel Jimenez didn't get into any bother for removing his shoes after playing from Rae's Creek on the 13th.

As a result of rolling his trouser legs up the Diary can exclusively reveal that the pony-tailed Spaniard favours knee length socks.


John Murray, fully attired and sat bolt upright, settled to watch the action on the ninth in Wednesday's par three event.

An inspired decision - he witnessed first Padraig Harrington, then Arron Oberholser and Tim Clark all recorded holes in one within twenty minutes of each other.

Ben Crane won the tournament, so he won't win the Masters.

No player has ever won the exhibition competition on the eve of the main event and then gone onto claim the green jacket in the same week.


This entry is being written four and a half hours into the tournament - one under par is leading and my predicted 65 is looking a bit sick.

Now, Jay Townsend has just told me that his pal Craig Stadler says scoring will be very high because he's only once seen the greens as fast as they are playing this week.

Tom Lehman's lucky escape from a random drive-by shooting on the eve of the tournament nearly went unnoticed.

Congratulations to the Augusta Chronicle for getting the story, though putting it in their Metro section under the headline "No-one injured by shots at car" didn't exactly sell it.

At least Vijay Singh has shown scoring in the 60s is possible, so I don't feel quite so foolish.


Colin Montgomerie has just told me that the course is fiercely demanding.

He said the pin positions weren't as hard as they might have been and that their wasn't a breath of wind.

Level par, Monty said, could prove a winning score so he's not too despondent after a 74, though less impressed with the 5 hours 20 minutes his round took.

I still fancy a crack at this course, though, so I've still got everything crossed for the media ballot to play it on Monday.

Applicants' tickets go into see-through Tupperware type containers and I can see rather too many entries for my liking!


SEE ALSO
Augusta Diary
05 Apr 06 |  Golf
Augusta Diary
04 Apr 06 |  Golf
Augusta Diary
03 Apr 06 |  Golf


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