How will Augusta National host The Masters in November?

Seamus Rotherick
By Seamus Rotherick May 1, 2020 11:56

Golf is a sport built upon its traditions, and by hosting the majors in the same month each year the players are able to draw up their schedules in a way that sees them peaking in time for the sport’s biggest prizes.

The temporary move of The Masters to a November slot on the calendar alters the complexion of the tournament altogether and ensures that the battle for Tiger Woods’ Green Jacket will be played out in wholly unfamiliar conditions.

Augusta in the wintertime is a very different animal to Augusta in the spring, altering the landscape of players likely to thrive at the famous course in 2020 considerably. Sadly, the upkeep of the stunning magnolia trees and azalea plants that line the National layout may also be notably absent.

But still, The Masters is one of the most eagerly-anticipated golf tournaments in the world, and any chance to see the best players on the planet duel it out at Augusta National should be taken with relish.

The good news is that all ante-post bets will stand too, so even if you had already a flutter in The Masters online golf betting odds you can still cheer on your selections in November. And, based upon the changing conditions of the course, you may want to add one or two more players to your arsenal based on your fresh research into how Augusta National is expected to play later in the year.

Masters champion Tiger Woods celebrates after he made his putt on hole No. 18 green to win the Masters during the final round of the Masters at Augusta National Golf Club, Sunday, April 14, 2019.

Whatever the weather

In theory, at least, Augusta National in November shouldn’t play all that differently than it does in its traditional April slot.

The course benefits from its innovative Sub-Air system, which is used to control the level of moisture in all 18 of the greens and some of the fairways too. That helps to keep grass growth in check and helps to create the pristine, fast-running greens that are Augusta’s trademark.

So, even if it rains cats and dogs in Georgia in November, course officials can still present a phenomenal layout for the players. The 2008 Masters champion, Trevor Immelman, has played the stretch as a guest in the winter. “For the most part, it’s been pristine and exactly how you would expect it,” the South African noted.

The issue, perhaps, will be the weather. Temperatures are, on average, ten degrees cooler in November than April, and that will prevent the ball from travelling as far – let’s not forget that Augusta is a long old stretch at 7,768 yards for its par 72. Even with the best equipment in the world, it’s a simple fact that the course will play longer and softer.

There’s also the wind to factor in. A stronger breeze would prevent the players from reaching three of the par fives in two shots, meaning that the vast majority of the field will be forced to lay up rather than attack the green for an eagle putt. That will, to some extent, negate the advantage afforded to the longer hitters.

A third contributory factor could be a lack of daylight – the switch to November means that as much as two-and-a-half hours of light will be lost. That could mean that The Masters’ traditional one-tee system could be in jeopardy with players instead starting on the first and tenth, or instead a single tee-off could be used but with early start times, and a necessity for quicker play.

Who will prevail at The Masters 2020?

Generally, and with a tip of the cap to Tiger Woods’ incredible triumph last year, The Masters is a younger man’s game with the history books heavily in favour of those aged 35 or younger at their time of triumph.

That is unlikely to change in November, where the conditions will make this physical slog even harder on the body. However, if the wind really does blow, course management and strategy will be at a premium, and that might just give the older, more experienced pros a chance.

There is also a theory that only longer-hitters can thrive at Augusta National. But look at what happened in 2007 the last time the wind really blew: Zach Johnson, who ranks 211th on the PGA Tour for Driving Distance, laid up on all of the Par 5s and still won by two shots from Woods and Retief Goosen.

All of the above explains why the 2020 Masters could be one of the most exciting editions of the famous tournament in years. Every single player will have a chance of slipping into the Green Jacket, regardless of age, power and experience. That should provide for a fascinating conclusion on Magnolia Lane.

 

Seamus Rotherick
By Seamus Rotherick May 1, 2020 11:56
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