-I hang out online with a bunch of guys who abhor all the perfection of Augusta. They prefer fast and firm, natural browns, etc. The unfortunate thing is, Augusta has that during its down time, which is never during Masters week. Last year, I played a course called Kinloch, in Viriginia. It is the closest I will ever get to Augusta. Imagine the conditions of the best country club you’ve played (unless it is Augusta or Kinloch) and then supersize them. The week before, starting our trip, I played a track called Ballyhack. So different, so good. Proves that you can enjoy all sorts of golf if you ride the fence, as I do.

-Back to Augusta. All the sages and contestants have proclaimed that the course was there for the taking on Thursday and two guys took a lot. Will Quiros and McIlroy hold on to contend on Sunday? DK, but they will gain valuable experience along the way. Will our winner be Korean? There areĀ  two at five under par. How about a late-20s USA hopeful, like Kuchar or Barnes? Believe it or don’t, Barnes has more crunch time, major experience than Kuchar, although both are US Amateur champions.

-Looking at the other end of the board, are we still shocked that Martin Kaymer has struggled at Augusta for five consecutive rounds? What is it exactly that throws this fellow off? After all, if he can figure out Dove Mountain and Whistling Straits, shouldn’t he have the wherewithal to decipher old Augusta? We now know that Padraig Harrington is struggling with a neck injury and cannot move through the hitting zone with his normal power; in other words, he is effectively done for the week, unless his putter saves him. Remind me again when Mike Weir won the Masters…was it 1980, 1990, 2000…really, 2003? How long ago does that feel?

-If you’ve seen them play, you know that David Chung and Peter Uihlein have the game for the professional ranks. Chung also has the quill for professional writing, should he opt for that direction. Jin Jeong had a poor Porter Cup, so I don’t know much about him. Hideki Matsuyama was -3 with a trio of holes to play and finished even par. This particular congress of amateurs is muy talentoso and has potential heading into day two of making some noise with 3 or 4 cut-makers.

-One thing you learn about Augusta is, any hole can bite you and any other might be your salvation. Both Matsuyama and Goosen bogeyed the final three, while others made their charge over those grounds. Did anyone else go out in -5 like Goosen? Don’t think so and that was amazing. Watch and learn, watch … and learn.