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Convey again the roars: The patrons return to the Masters

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Dustin Johnson didn’t really feel like his Masters victory was much less important final fall as a result of no followers have been at Augusta Nationwide to see his win and have a good time with him.

That stated, he pays them the last word praise: In his eyes, they make the Masters what it’s.

“It’s thrilling to have them again,” Johnson stated.

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Welcome again, patrons. Welcome again, Masters within the springtime. Welcome again, all issues at Augusta Nationwide that bloom this time of yr and supply the backdrop for maybe essentially the most picturesque locale in golf.

There are new guidelines — masks should be worn, social distancing insurance policies apply and there’s no consuming or ingesting across the roped-off spots closest to the greens — however after a one-year pandemic-caused absence, followers are again on the Masters.

“You possibly can see it in my face,” world No. 4-ranked participant Collin Morikawa stated as he broke into an enormous smile when requested concerning the return of patrons. “We adore it. I actually miss it. It was nice to see followers slowly come again over the previous month, month, and a half. And I do know everybody, the Masters, the PGA Tour is doing their job to remain secure and ensure we’re nonetheless dealing with the whole lot correctly.

“It’s undoubtedly going to line some fairways otherwise, which is, I feel, truly going to be good,” he added. “So, we missed it, and we’re actually pleased they’re again.”

The membership is permitting restricted spectators, a quantity believed to be round 8,000. It will likely be the primary main to permit spectators for the reason that pandemic started, and what’s all the time a troublesome ticket bought even harder this yr due to the smaller variety of permitted attendees.

“We hoped it will be potential to welcome again all of our patrons in 2021,” Augusta Nationwide and Masters chairman Fred Ridley stated Wednesday. “Primarily based on present situations, nonetheless, we concluded the fitting plan of action was to restrict patrons this week, and we’ve got finished that with acceptable well being and security protocols in place. We’re optimistic that situations will proceed to enhance, and we glance ahead subsequent yr to the total return of the signature roars which were part of Masters historical past.”

There will likely be roars this yr, no less than.

Smaller roars, maybe, however roars nonetheless. Individuals who have been to Augusta Nationwide sufficient say that the sounds alone can let you know what is occurring a number of holes away.

“You possibly can learn what’s happening round this golf course simply from the cheers,” stated Lee Westwood, about to play his 20th Masters.

Followers may attend the follow rounds that began Monday, partaking in all of the Masters traditions that they missed out on final yr when Augusta Nationwide remained closed to nearly all people. They munch on the pimento cheese or egg salad sandwiches — $1.50 every. Fancier sandwiches, such because the Masters membership, or ham-and-cheese on rye, or turkey-and-cheese on wheat, run $2.50. Barbecue sandwiches are $3. Beer is the priciest factor on the concession menu, at a not-whopping $5 apiece.

Followers go to the present store and purchase no matter they will get with a Masters brand, from chairs to cuff hyperlinks, towels to T-shirts, golf balls to gnomes.

Then they head again outdoors, to golf’s ceremony of spring.

“It’s my first time right here and I’m right here with a pal who has been to Augusta Nationwide many occasions,” Jack Cavanaugh, a retired gross sales govt from Jacksonville, Florida, stated as he watched Westwood within the follow space. “He says there’s nothing prefer it. I say he’s proper.”

Bubba Watson, a two-time Masters winner who’s a infamous Georgia soccer fan, is aware of he’ll be listening to much more “Go Dawgs” as he walks previous folks this week. Phil Mickelson was clearly having fun with his interactions with followers throughout a follow spherical Tuesday. U.S. Novice champion Tyler Strafaci stated he’s keen to listen to the roars and plans to throw some fist pumps their approach however famous that it’ll be nerve-wracking to see the folks — nonetheless many are there — when he tees off alongside Johnson for the opening rounds Thursday and Friday.

“I’m simply hoping to make contact with that ball on the primary tee,” Strafaci stated.

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Augusta Nationwide is permitting these in the identical group — like a household attending collectively — to position their chairs side-by-side, however all teams should arrange no less than 6 toes (1.Eight meters) away from different events. Safety guards are politely reminding folks concerning the guidelines relating to consuming and ingesting close to the ropes, together with mask-wearing.

No person appears to thoughts an additional rule or two. It is the Masters.

“Anyone could be glad to win any match, any yr, followers or no followers,” world No. 2-ranked participant Justin Thomas stated. “However while you’re capable of hit these photographs and make these putts and do it in entrance of nonetheless many hundreds of followers, it’s even sweeter. I do know it’s type of bizarre to say or arduous to elucidate, however simply having to regulate your feelings and having to grasp what you do in your golf recreation while you get in these eventualities, it simply provides one other factor to it.”

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