The low-scoring conditions at Augusta National in round one of this year’s Masters might have made for entertaining television. However, six-time champion Jack Nicklaus was less than impressed.
By the time darkness stopped play, 50 of the 92 men in the field were under-par. With 44 players still to complete their first round, that number could well be higher by the time round two gets underway.
Torrential rain early on Thursday, which forced a three-hour delay just 30 minutes into the tournament, made for exceptionally soft, receptive conditions that are much more conducive to shooting low scores.
By close of play, there had been ten eagles and 272 birdies, as compared with 213 bogeys and 18 doubles. Nine of the holes, including all four par-5s, have played beneath par to this point in proceedings.
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That, according to Nicklaus, is contrary to the ethos of the tournament.
He tweeted: "In today's first round of @TheMasters, what little bit of golf I saw after the rain was like throwing darts. There was no wind to speak of, the greens had no fire in them, and everywhere the ball hit just stopped.
“That is hardly Augusta National at its finest or most challenging.”
He added: “That’s why you saw so many good scores. If you didn’t shoot a good score today in those conditions, you put yourself behind the 8-ball.”
With drier conditions and a stiffening breeze forecast for the next three days, not to mention the SubAir system that Augusta National has its disposal, you can reasonably expect less optimal scoring conditions between now and the end of the tournament.