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Apr 12, 2013 | 09:20 AM

More Guests For The Weekend

We’re likely to see a few more players than usual teeing it up tomorrow thanks to new changes in the Masters' cut rule. In the past, the top 44 players and ties made it to the weekend; as of this year, it’s the top 50 and ties. However, the 10-shot rule remains, so anyone within 10 shots of the lead gets to hang around for the weekend. And beginning next year, there will be a change in how players make it into the Masters, with Augusta National inviting winners from the PGA Tour’s “Fall Series,” part of the ever-complicated FedEx Cup race. Plus, a few other tweaks have been announced: The top 12 from the previous year’s Masters will be invited (if not otherwise eligible), down from the top 16; the top 4 from the previous year’s U.S. Open, down from the top 8; and there won’t be an invitation to the top 30 on the Tour’s end-of-year money list because they’re all already eligible in other ways. Got that? Has it improved your chances of getting in? Hope so.

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Apr 11, 2013 | 09:53 AM

“X” Marks the Spot

Based on the number of patrons who found their way to the exact spot in the woods off the 10th fairway where Bubba Watson rope-hooked a wedge to capture last year’s Masters in a playoff, the idea of placing a plaque on the site of the miracle shot came up in a news conference with the reigning champ earlier this week. “Who wouldn’t want to see a plaque that says Bubba in the middle of the pine straw?” Watson deadpanned. He later said he would never request such a permanent sign—unless he repeated the feat this year. “Then, yes, there should be a plaque,” he said. On the other hand, the club has yet to formally commemorate Gene Sarazen’s double eagle on the 15th hole in the final round of the 1935 Masters—the “shot heard round the world”—so Bubba may have to be patient.   

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Apr 10, 2013 | 03:26 PM

Let The Game Begin!

As you watch every minute of the Masters on TV—and you know you will—here are some story lines to be listening for as the TV types ramble on. Tiger. Sightings of the new women members, Condoleezza Rice and Carla Moore. Will long putters help or hurt on Augusta’s lightning-fast greens. Tiger. Was Bubba Watson’s shot from the trees along number 10 the greatest shot in Masters history. Bubba’s menu at the Champions dinner. Tianlang Guan, the 14-year-old Chinese amateur. Tiger. Rory’s game, Rory’s girlfriend, Rory’s state of mind, Rory on Tiger. Tiger. Lusher fairways and firmer greens. Why Europeans aren’t winning the Masters anymore. Phil Mickelson’s new 3-wood. Tiger. And probably very little about FedEx points.

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Apr 10, 2013 | 11:57 AM

Ramped Up

You think getting a hotel room during Masters week is tough. Try getting a parking spot for your private jet! It has become such a problem that in years’ past the FAA has had to divert aircraft to other, less convenient airports in the area where passengers' waiting limos and hospitality tents weren’t. So this year Augusta Regional instituted a “Prior Permission Required” program to confirm that aircraft with an arrival slot also have a parking location (reservations filled up in a month by early March). The airport expects more than 400 private flights this week—second only to the Super Bowl, which had more than 600 flights into New Orleans Lakefront Airport in February, in events popular with the jet-set crowd (another strong fly-in destination is Art Basel Miami Beach). One of the leading fractional jet ownership companies used by many tour pros, Flight Options, will be using almost half their fleet of 100 jets, such as the seven-passenger Phenom 300 pictured above, to ferry clients to the year's first major. Talk about the high life.

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