AUGUSTA, Ga. (AP) - A quick stroll across the manicured landscape of Augusta National afforded a glimpse of why this Masters is so hard to figure out.
On the putting green in a quiet moment of practice was 20-year-old Jordan Spieth, one of a record 24 newcomers who has every reason to believe he can win. On the golf course for the final day of practice was Webb Simpson, a former U.S. Open champion and one of 21 players who have captured the last 24 majors.
And under the oak tree outside the clubhouse was Miguel Angel Jimenez, the 50-year-old Spaniard trying to make sense of it all.
AP Photo/Ernie Els removes the pin on the ninth green
during the par three competition at the
Masters Wednesday in Augusta, Ga.
He recalled his first Masters in 1995, when Seve Ballesteros and Jose Maria Olazabal shared secrets to Augusta National, such as keeping the ball in the right spots on the green and "to realize here that the target is not the hole."
"The more you play, the more you like, no?" Jimenez said as he leaned against his golf bag, looking relaxed as ever behind his aviator sunglasses.
But as he considered the rookies - Spieth and Patrick Reed, Harris English and Jimmy Walker - he dismissed the notion that experience was required for a green jacket.
"There are 24 guys here for the first time," he said. "But there's a reason they are here, no?"
Nowhere to be found, of course, was Tiger Woods.
Out of golf until the summer because of back surgery, out of the Masters for the first time in his career, the show goes on.