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Natural order restored as spectators return to Augusta National

(Corrects typo in headline)

By Andrew Both

AUGUSTA, Ga. (Reuters) – The pure order was restored — sort of — as Masters week started below an azure April sky in entrance of appreciative spectators at Augusta National on Monday.

Five months after a novel November Masters that was staged with nearly no spectators due to coronavirus issues, a restricted gallery of some thousand has been allowed onto the hallowed grounds this week.

Perhaps about 7,000 followers have been readily available, barely 15% of the crush usually allowed for observe rounds, but it surely made for an idyllic viewing expertise for these fortunate or well-connected sufficient to get via the gates.

While there are not any grandstands, the pink azaleas and white dogwoods that present such a reasonably spring backdrop to famed Amen Corner are a well-known sight, even when the previous are already fading from the dazzling pink of full bloom.

Players are actually having fun with having patrons round, and much more so trying ahead to listening to some roars echo via the whistling Georgia pines come Thursday’s first spherical.

“Even though there are a lot of people, it’s just amazing how many people this place can hold at a capacity because it still felt like not that many people,” 2013 champion Adam Scott instructed Reuters.

“More than anything it’s going to be nice Thursday through Sunday to see people out at the golf course.”

Fellow professional Patrick Cantlay notably savours the ban on cell phones.

“It’s so refreshing,” he instructed reporters. “Everyone is way more interactive and polite … compared to other tournaments. It just is a great atmosphere. I know we are only at a limited capacity, but these are the best fans or patrons of the year.”

Two younger males on a day journey from Atlanta sitting behind the 18th inexperienced having fun with the sunshine have been having fun with the relaxed expertise.

“It’s almost peaceful,” mentioned Mike, who declined to give his final identify however revealed he bought his ticket via a company connection.

“I was expecting a lot of energy. I’ve never seen it like this but it’s a nice balance. It’s a much more genuine natural golf experience.”Added his good friend Neel: “It’s a little muted but it’s liberating to be out away from a (computer) screen for a day.”

There have been loads of large names for the followers to watch, together with defending champion Dustin Johnson and perennial fancy Rory McIlroy.

They performed the entrance 9 collectively, earlier than Johnson departed for the vary, leaving McIlroy to play the again 9 alone, adopted by a few hundred spectators.

McIlroy, who just lately started working with teacher Pete Cowen, carved his drive on the lengthy par-four eleventh into the pines, earlier than reloading and hitting a bullet proper down the center.

“That’s sort of like Pete said, just get it in position and then turn,” McIlroy mentioned to caddie after his second drive, seemingly sound recommendation that typically is less complicated mentioned than achieved.”

(Reporting by Andrew Both; Editing by Lisa Shumaker)

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