In the Masters Fourball, NCG writers Dan Murphy, Alex Perry, Mark Townsend and Steve Carroll take it in turns to ask each other an Augusta related question.
Mark: How weird do you act in Masters week? I sit there with the same plastic beaker (from when I went but don’t like to talk about it), record everything and make sure I don’t miss a single shot and pause the action when my wife speaks. She now doesn’t even try. I then get quite sulky when it’s over. You?
Alex: I’m so pleased I’m not the only person that hits pause should anyone dare to talk. It’s the only tournament, apart from The Open and Ryder Cup, where I will celebrate like a football fan at shots going in. When Rory chipped in for eagle at 8 on Saturday, I was dancing.
Steve: It’s about the only time I ever watch the Beeb. I routinely forget to feed myself – I haven’t eaten anything since a bruised banana on the golf course 10 hours ago – and I’ve spent the last two Masters vainly trying to teach my daughter the words ‘Amen Corner’.
Dan: I’m as cool as the proverbial cucumber about the lack of live action on Masters Thursday while others get cross but by Saturday each year I am raging that we don’t even get to see the leaders begin their rounds. I am still twitchy two hours into the live coverage because even though I can basically recite the leaderboard, I don’t feel like I’ve properly got a handle on things.
Alex: You’re a former Masters champion now doing the rounds on the senior circuit. You’ll never compete at Augusta again. Do you carry on accepting the invite and shooting scores in the mid-80s, or retire gracefully and get yourself in the commentary box? Are you a Mize or a Faldo?
Mark: Until they ask me to step aside, which they have done with other players, then I’ll be clogging up the field forever. I’d imagine I’d be like Guan Tianlang and turn up a fortnight early and try and get two rounds in every day. Not sure a dinner and nine holes on the Par 3 would be enough to get me on a plane across the Atlantic.
Steve: I’m a Mize. If I could play Augusta National every year, they would have to carry me off that course in a box.
Dan: I’m out of there the moment I think I might embarrass myself. I don’t want to finish dead last. I’d rather be remembered for the year I won than sniggered at for being +12 after 9.
Steve: With most of the top 10 fronting up the leaderboard, it’s shaping up to be an epic Masters Sunday. But what has been your favourite final day at Augusta?
Mark: In terms of thrills and spills I’m not sure you are ever going to beat 1986 and not just for the sentiment. Otherwise Schwartzel’s win was bonkers as we all thought Day or Scott would break the hoodoo and then they got pipped. Lyle and Woosnam both looked to have blown it so they were pretty amazing but Nicklaus’ win was basically like watching an Oscar-winning film. And the clothes were great.
Alex: I have earlier memories of The Masters, but Faldo-Norman in ’96 made me fall in love with Augusta. And 2005 was right at the height of my Tiger fanboy stage so you can imagine how I was that day, especially when that chip went in. I’ll be like that for Rory tomorrow.
Dan: I would go back to 1999 and Olazabal’s second Green Jacket. It was all so emotional as it had looked like he would have to give the game up a few years earlier. Plus he was my favourite – truth told, I always had him down as the stronger half of the Spanish Armada in the Ryder Cup.
Dan: Of all the contenders, who would you least like to win?
Alex: I’m a signed-up member of the I Actually Quite Like Patrick Reed Club but at the time of writing he’s the main man between Rory and the Green Jacket then we’re going to have words.
Steve: Reed is more pantomime villain than really malevolent but if he stops McIlroy winning the career grand slam then I don’t think I will ever forgive him.
Mark: Assuming Bubba stays in there then him all day long. He might be misunderstood or funnier/more normal than you imagine but I can’t really stick him, his opinions and his whole get-up. And he’s won twice and that seems plenty for him. Have no truck (love that word) with Reed and the rest seems to be just a long list of all the good guys. DJ would be next.