AUGUSTA, Ga. — Bubba Watson has a fancy dinner to attend Tuesday night. It’s the Masters Club Dinner, otherwise known as the Champions dinner.
Dustin Johnson has chosen an elegant menu, including filet mignon. But for Watson, breakfast and lunch at the Masters tend to be a bit more simple.
Food is part of the charm of Augusta National, and Watson likes to partake of some of the same fare the patrons enjoy — particularly what’s known as the “Taste of the Masters,” a trio of sandwiches that includes pimiento cheese, egg salad and some barbecue.
“I always eat the Taste of the Masters, but I actually take out the egg salad and I put in another barbecue slider, so I have two barbecue sliders,” Watson said. “I have pimiento cheese and then I have French fries.”
The two-time Masters champion has been here for years, so when Watson’s hungry, the staff at Augusta knows what he wants without any further explanation. The sandwiches, slightly modified, are his lunch. His breakfast: two scrambled eggs, two pieces of bacon, two biscuits and hash browns.
“I always say hash browns without all the fancy stuff in it,” Watson said. “I just want the potatoes; I don’t want all the onions and all that pretty stuff in there.”
Brooks Koepka spent a good amount of time on the driving range Monday, as he continues to ramp up for the Masters less than a month after needing knee surgery.
The good news, from his coach Pete Cowen, is that Koepka’s swing is fine.
The to-be-determined part of the equation is how the four-time major winner will be able to navigate the 4-mile hike that is Augusta National — a course that is daunting for many reasons, steep hills and slopes relatively high on that list.
“He’s in great shape,” Cowen said. “The only problem is going to be the walking. It’s a tough course to walk.”
Reigning Masters champion Dustin Johnson played nine holes on Monday, then headed to the range and practice green to focus primarily on chipping and putting.
His early assessment: Augusta National is ready, and it should present a different challenge from the one he conquered last November.
“It’s in really good shape,” Johnson said. “The golf course, I think, is right where they want it to be on a Monday.”
The course was soft for much of last year’s first-ever fall Masters after a good amount of rain. There is some precipitation in this year’s forecast, but players who were on the course Sunday and Monday are finding it in the customary fast and firm state.
“The conditions are quite a bit different,” Johnson said. “The weather, it had just rained a bunch in November. It was soft and played really long. … This time, instead of it landing and stopping, it just might bounce a little bit.”
Carlos Ortiz, one of six first-time Masters participants in this year’s field, has a strategy when it comes to practice round partners this week.
His plan: Find guys who have won at Augusta National and learn.
He was playing nine holes with Sergio Garcia on Monday and planned to connect for a round with Jordan Spieth either Tuesday or Wednesday.
“I’m going to try to get all the information I can,” Ortiz said.
He could also ask his younger brother.
Alvaro Ortiz tied for 36th at the 2019 Masters, getting into the field after winning the Latin America Amateur Championship. He closed with a final-round 69, one shot better than the score posted that day by Tiger Woods — who won the tournament. Alvaro Ortiz left Augusta that year with a silver medal for being the runner-up amateur behind Viktor Hovland, plus a pair of crystal highball glasses for making an eagle in his second round.
For those curious about the precise measurements of the grass at Augusta National, the club said Monday that the fairways were mowed to three-eighths of an inch and the second cut was exactly 1 inch taller.
Tee boxes were mowed at five-sixteenths of an inch. The greens, a mere one-eighth of an inch, and the collars were at a quarter-inch.
HE SAID IT
Sergio Garcia, the 2017 Masters champion, on the best part of Masters week: “Sunday afternoon can be very enjoyable.”
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