by Jeff Babineau

Here at the 83rd Masters, Brooks Koepka is in the house, almost like some intruder creeping across creaky wooden floors, trying not to wake anybody at 5 a.m. He would appear to be a guy who could play middle linebacker and crush giant walnuts in his biceps, a man bigger than life itself, but for some mysterious reason, Koepka is a blender. He merges into traffic well. Which seems OK with him.

At Augusta National, we have Tiger Woods chasing his fifth green jacket and Rory McIlroy chasing a career Grand Slam. Having played so well on the weekend a year ago, Rickie Fowler might step forward and show us whether orange really can go with green. We have World Nos. 1 and 2, Justin Rose and Dustin Johnson, respectively, trying to add to major-trophy shelves that show more dust than silver.



by Alex Miceli

Rory McIlroy vs. Tiger Woods, the sequel. It would be a fun matchup to watch this week at the Masters.

Two weeks ago, in his most recent competition, McIlroy was shaking hands with Woods after the Northern Irishman lost, 2 and 1, in the round of 16 at the WGC Dell Match Play. McIlroy was so distraught that he peeled out of Austin (Texas) Country Club, shunning the media in the process.

This week, McIlroy enters Augusta National Golf Club as the 7-1 betting favorite in the Masters, according to Westgate Las Vegas SuperBook (tee times).


by Gary Van Sickle

This is it. You’re definitely not a millennial if you still identify the famous Kenny Loggins song with that title as basketball music. It was the NCAA Final Four theme used by NBC in 1980 and ‘81. It was catchy, timely and hard to forget:

“This is it. Make no mistake where you are. This is it. Your back’s to the corner …”

Masters Tournament week is here. So, as Loggins and co-writer Michael McDonald pointed out, This is it.


An attraction that has been there all along
The issue with Augusta National Golf Club and women is one of perspective (“Augusta event won’t do much for women,” March 27; “Women make big impression at Augusta,” April 8).

The beef was that the scheduling of last week’s Augusta National Women’s Amateur conflicted with the first LPGA major of the year, the ANA Inspiration, and that Augusta National did not even consult the LPGA about this. A second issue was that, if Augusta National wanted to include and honor women's amateurs, why have a tournament with only one round at Augusta National? A third, less-mentioned issue, was that the timing of the tournament forced a number of young women to choose between a dream they've grown up with, to play in the ANA Inspiration, and the ability to fulfill another dream, to play at Augusta National. The first dream traditionally has been limited only by their ability. The second has, until now, been limited solely by their gender.


Died: Marilynn Smith, one of the 13 founders of the LPGA, on Tuesday morning. She was 89. No cause of death was cited by the LPGA. Smith helped create the LPGA in 1950 and won 21 times, including two major championships. She served as president of the LPGA from 1958 to 1960. Smith was inducted into the World Golf Hall of Fame in 2006.



Number of golfers who have won the career Grand Slam (Masters, U.S. Open, British Open and PGA): Gene Sarazen, Ben Hogan, Gary Player, Jack Nicklaus and Tiger Woods. Rory McIlroy will tee off Thursday at Augusta National Golf Club in the first round of the Masters in a bid to become the sixth member of that elite club.




Hawk & Rude: Mulling the 2019 Masters
McIlroy? Woods? Spieth? Co-hosts John Hawkins and Jeff Rude tell you everything you need to know (with their usual flair) on the eve of the year’s first men’s major championship.

The Grill Room Golf Show
The azaleas are blooming, and spring is alive in Georgia for the Masters. Bob Bubka and Jay Randolph Jr. preview the week. Plus, some of the Masters’ top contenders offer their thoughts. Also, Morning Read co-founder Alex Miceli contributes.


Mass Golf has renewed its business agreement with Imperial Headwear, which will provide custom hats to staff and volunteers at Massachusetts golf events this year. Mass Golf members can purchase limited-edition hats and T-shirts online via a link at


Troon has been selected to manage The Standard Club in Johns Creek, Ga., the management company announced. The Standard Club, which dates to 1867 in downtown Atlanta, relocated to the northeast suburbs in 1987 and features an Arthur Hills-designed golf course, which was redesigned by Mike Riley in 2005. Troon Privé, the private-club-operations division of Troon, will manage the club.


The Rocket Mortgage Classic, which will debut this summer on the PGA Tour, announced the creation of the Rocket Mortgage Classic Birdies for Charity program. Non-profit organizations can register and collect donations based on the total number of birdies made during the tournament June 27-30 at Detroit Golf Club.


To celebrate this week’s Masters Tournament, TecTecTec is offering a limited-time discount on its golf rangefinders. Through Sunday, TecTecTec will cut $25 from the price of all models.


Inntopia will conduct a 30-minute webinar next week to help golf resorts set up stay-and-play packages. Inntopia’s Chris Eaton and Golf Experiences’ Danny Falero will host the session beginning at 1 p.m. EDT April 17.


The inaugural winner of the Augusta National Women’s Amateur wore cleated footwear, according to manufacturer PrideSports. She wore FootJoy Sport TF Boa shoes with Softspikes Pulsar cleats. On the same weekend, the winner of the LPGA’s ANA Inspiration also wore cleated footwear, the Nike Lunar Tour shoes with Champ Pivix cleats.


Villa del Palmar Beach Resort & Spa at The Islands of Loreto has received a Golf Digest Editors’ Choice Award. The resort, located in Baja California Sur, Mexico, was honored in the category Best Resorts in Mexico and Central America. The resort features the TPC Danzante Bay course, a Rees Jones design.


Quivira Golf Club has received a Golf Digest Editors’ Choice Award. The club, which features a Jack Nicklaus Signature-designed course at the tip of the Baja California peninsula in Mexico, was named among the Best Resorts in Mexico and Central America.


Rounds 4 Research will host an online auction April 29-May 5, with more than 1,000 rounds of golf at courses in 45 states and Costa Rica available for bidding. The initiative is a venture of the Environmental Institute for Golf, the philanthropic arm of the Golf Course Superintendents Association of America.


Golf Life Navigators has entered into a business agreement with Golf Advisor Living, the companies announced. GLN will launch its first TV marketing campaign, which will feature Kira Kazantsev as host and run through April on Golf Channel.


April 11-14
PGA Tour: Masters Tournament

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