Apr 11, 2014 | 10:20 am

Cutting It Close

Today's pin sheet reveals some really diabolical hole locations, including one on the 5th hole that's never been used before, according to Scott Michaux of The Augusta Chronicle. Short-side alert: 11 of the cups are located five yards or less from the edge of the green with the closest on 10 just three yards from the bunker. The 10th has historically been the toughest hole on the course (see "Knuckle Sandwich" in our Spring issue), but yesterday that honor belonged to the 505-yard 11th with a 4.474 average. Second hardest was the 155-yard 12th (3.423), followed by the 465-yard 18th (4.392) and the 445-yard 1st (4.351). The 240-yard 4th and 450-yard 7th were tied for fifth hardest at .278 above par, though Phil Mickelson's triple at the latter might have skewed the average a little.

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Apr 10, 2014 | 10:00 am

Masters Time

Finally. The wait is over. And so is the practicing. But the shopping continues. Although it pales in comparison to the football-field size merchandise tent of a U.S. Open, a building just inside the main gate at Augusta National does a brisk business in its own right, as do other smaller satellite souvenir stands elsewhere on the property. Inside the main building though you’ll find items such as the official Masters watch (shown above) for a mere $250. A green leather Dooney and Bourke handbag goes for $298. Need a new carry-on? A brown leather duffel bag costs $395. A Scotty Cameron putter checks in at $500. But a foot-long mini-putter is a mere $15. And who doesn’t need a four-pack of glittering Masters holiday ornaments for $25? Things you might not expect for sale? Official men’s boxers, performance socks and dog collars. Seriously. Time for golf. 

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Apr 09, 2014 | 06:07 am

Masters: T-Minus One And Counting...

There’s still another day before the 2014 Masters gets going and everything seems ready. The weather forecast is good—upper 70s and no rain (just as we predicted in “HotLINKS,” our all-digital special edition on the Masters, which you can read here). The course is perfect, of course. And the players are champing at the bit. However, there is something amiss—and missing. “It’s a weird feeling not having him here, isn’t it?” Phil Mickelson said yesterday about Tiger Woods, who won’t be in the field for the first time since 1995. (If you need a reminder of how dominant he’s been at Augusta, here is Tiger’s record since ’95: T41, cut, 1, T8, T18, 5, 1, 1, T15, T22, 1, T3, T, 2, T6, T4, T4, T40, T4.) If you can’t wait till tomorrow for some “real” Masters action, google “Masters videos” plus your favorite player’s name and you’re sure to find hours of good viewing. Can’t choose what to watch first? May we recommend this compilation of highlights from Phil’s incredible performance in 2010, including his shot from the trees and pine straw on number 13 that still gives us goosebumps. What will this year bring? Tomorrow can’t come soon enough!

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Apr 08, 2014 | 08:29 am

Masters Betting Line

We’re about to watch the most wide-open Masters in decades, and the British bookies are having a field day. SkyBet, one of the dozens of online parlors, gives odds on the top five players as follows: Adam Scott: 9-1, Rory McIlroy: 10-1, Phil Mickelson: 11-1, Jason Day: 16-1, and Matt Kuchar: 20-1. (Ben Crenshaw, on the 30th anniversary of his first Masters title, trails the field at 2000-1.) But that’s just the start of the fun. You also can bet on pairs of players to win: Scott or McIlroy pays 4-1, Keegan Bradley or Lee Westwood 20-1, Webb Simpson or Steve Stricker 40-1. Or even four players: Scott, McIlroy, Day, or Mickelson pays 9-4. You can bet on the winning margin: A one-stroke victory pays 9-4, two strokes 3-1, four or more strokes 9-2. The odds on a playoff are 5-2, four or more players in a playoff 50-1. A hole-in-one is expected with odds at 4-5, but an ace at the 240-yard 4th is 33-1, and an ace by any specific player is 80-1. You can wager on who will finish as top player from each nation (Germany’s two entrants, Martin Kaymer and Bernhard Langer, go off at 2-5 and 7-4, respectively); top Amateur (Matthew Fitzpatrick and Chang Woo Lee lead at 3-1); top Senior (Fred Coupes heads the list at 13-8); top Lefty (Mickelson is 8-15, Bubba Watson 11-8, Mike Weir 25-1); and top Rookie (Jordan Spieth is 5-1, Patrick Reed 6-1, Harris English 7-1). You can even bet on what score the winner will post on 18: eagle 2000-1, birdie 100-30, par 8-15, bogey 7-2, double or worse 25-1. Of course you can’t bet on any of this legally until you get yourself outside the U.S. borders.

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