© Reuters. The Masters
By Andrew Both
AUGUSTA, Ga. (Reuters) -Dustin Johnson bought his Masters title defense off to a shaky begin with an opening bogey on Thursday at Augusta National Golf Club the place course situations had been proving a lot fiercer in contrast the defenceless format he triumphed on 5 months in the past.
This Masters has a way more acquainted look as it’s again in its conventional April slot because the 12 months’s first main whereas followers had been welcomed again, albeit in restricted numbers and with protocols in place to mitigate the danger of COVID-19 transmission.
World primary Johnson, who went off within the thirteenth group off the primary tee, despatched his first tee shot simply left of the golf green, watched his strategy roll off the again of the inexperienced after which chipped to about 23 ft the place he wanted two putts.
A win this week for Johnson would put him in elite firm as Jack Nicklaus, Nick Faldo and Tiger Woods are the one three gamers to efficiently defend Masters victories.
There is a slight probability of rain at Augusta National in the course of the first spherical with the danger of inclement climate growing on Friday and Saturday.
Playing one group behind Johnson is world quantity three Jon Rahm, who’s competing 5 days after his spouse gave start to their first youngster.
The Spaniard, who has completed within the prime 10 in every of the final three years on the Masters, arrived at Augusta National on Wednesday and admitted to being slightly sleep disadvantaged.
Rahm was grouped with world quantity six Xander Schauffele and Rory McIlroy, who’s making his seventh try to finish the profession Grand Slam of golf’s 4 majors.
Bryson DeChambeau, whose bid to overpower Augusta National final November when he was the pre-tournament favorite became a dud, had but to begin his spherical.
Justin Thomas, who has improved in every of his 5 Masters begins and completed fourth final November, was on account of exit within the day’s penultimate group at 1:48 p.m. ET (1748 GMT).
Former champion Jordan Spieth, a match favorite contemporary off his win final week on the Texas Open, was scheduled to tee off at 2:00 p.m. ET within the day’s ultimate grouping.
Festivities started hours earlier when a clearly moved Lee Elder, who in 1975 grew to become the primary Black man to compete within the Masters, was warmly welcomed as he joined Jack Nicklaus and Gary Player as a brand new honorary starter for the 2021 match.
An excellent solar had barely risen over the clubhouse when 86-year-old Elder was pushed to the primary tee in a golf cart as a brand new main season dawned.
“I think it was one of the most emotional experiences that I have ever witnessed or been involved in,” Elder mentioned.
“It is actually one thing that I’ll cherish for the remainder of my life as a result of I’ve beloved coming to Augusta National and enjoying right here.
“My heart is very soft this morning, not heavy, soft, soft because of the wonderful things that I have encountered since arriving here on Monday.”
Elder has restricted mobility and didn’t hit a tee shot.
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