Apr 14, 2014 | 07:54 AM

Do We Like Ike?

Next to the absence of Tiger Woods, the biggest story going into this year's Masters was the absence of the Eisenhower Tree on the 440-yard 17th, which was lost during a February ice storm. (The storm also thinned out the other trees considerably, allowing winner Bubba Watson to play a big cut on 11 over the sheared tops of the realatively new pines on the right.) But while the former president and many tour pros cursed the loblolly pine on the left side of the hole, it turns out that 17 actually played harder this year with the tree gone. The stroke average was 4.24, the sixth most difficult on the course and the highest since 2006. The club still hasn't announed whether they plan to replace the tree but will no doubt take the stroke average into consideration. What do you think: Should they replace the tree or not?

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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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LINKS Invitational at Casa De Campo

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