AUGUSTA, GEORGIA | For all the questions about what this Masters might feel like, what it might look like, what it might sound like and what it might play like, a long, uncommonly sultry November Thursday revealed a simple truth.
It’s still the Masters.
This is already a collector’s edition Masters, a one-off in autumn, played on the game’s most familiar layout, looking a bit like a painting without a frame because there are no patrons this time.
It’s almost trite to say it’s different but it’s true and it defined this Masters before Jack Nicklaus and Gary Player hit the ceremonial opening tee shots in the damp light of dawn Thursday.
When else might you see Rory McIlroy, Dustin Johnson and Patrick Cantlay walking down the hill at No. 1 after hitting their opening tee shots and being followed by no one?
Or see Phil Mickelson, after an opening bogey, smile and wave to his wife, Amy, who was standing alone between the first green and second tee?
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