Can you top this? No hole-in-1 for reigning champ Spieth
AUGUSTA, Ga. (AP) — It’s not often — if ever — that a Masters champion gets booed on the grounds of Augusta National.
Jordan Spieth knew he had it coming.
He was the unlucky third man up on the fourth hole of the par-3 contest Wednesday. The first two players, Justin Thomas and Rickie Fowler, each made holes-in-one.
Spieth missed his shot and took a fair amount of gentle jeering from the crowd.
“It might have been the hardest shot I ever had to hit, trying to follow them,” Spieth said. “It was fun being the spectator in the group.”
LYLE WINDING DOWN: Sandy Lyle isn’t getting younger and Augusta National isn’t getting easier.
The 1988 Masters champion said, “I think it’ll be another two years maximum for me” at the Masters.
The 58-year-old Scotsman said he was nodding his head while listening to two-time champion Tom Watson talk about the way expectations change with age.
Watson, 66, is playing his last Masters this year.
“He said, at the beginning he wanted to play well and make the cut, then through the middle, he was trying to win the tournament, and now at 60-something, he’s trying to make the cut again,” Lyle said. “It changes as time goes on.”
Lyle has made the cut two of the last three years, and feels pretty good about the state of his game. He played a full schedule on the Champions Tour last year and cleared $342,000.
Playing in the majors — as a former champion, he also returns to the British Open every year — is a whole different game.
“It’s getting harder,” he said. “I’ve had 33 years or so at it now. I can’t complain.”
AZALEA: No. 13 is typically the easiest hole on the course.
But for how much longer?
Augusta National chairman Billy Payne said no immediate plans have been made to beef up the par-5 510-yard hole. Reports have swirled that the club might buy land behind the 13th tee box, currently owned by neighboring Augusta Country Club, to lengthen the hole.
“We create plans looking into the future, when we believe the shot value of certain second shots, principally, has been impacted by how far the ball is now traveling,” Payne said Wednesday at his annual news conference. “Plans are underway to be considered.”
Last year, the scoring average was .454 strokes under par, making it the easiest hole on the course. Twenty of the tournament’s 47 eagles came there, along with 141 birdies. Since 1942, No. 13 is the second-easiest hole, with a scoring average of 4.78.
HOME GAME: Kevin Kisner’s daily commute to the Masters will be about 25 minutes each way, driving his own car and staying in his parents’ home.
It’s not a bad way for the former Georgia star and Aiken, South Carolina native to make his Masters debut.
“Definitely comforting,” Kisner said.
He played in the par-3 contest, accompanied by his wife Brittany and 2-year-old daughter Kate. Then he posed for photo after photo with family and friends.
“This is as cool as it gets,” Kisner said. “I’ve never done it from inside the ropes. Having family out there was a really cool experience.”
Kisner earned his first victory at the RSM Classic in November while finishing second four times in the past two seasons.
He said he’s played about six rounds at Augusta National since getting the invite, including 18 rounds Sunday and nine the next two days before competing in the par-3.
Kisner has gotten pointers on the course during rounds with Jeff Knox, 2007 Masters champion Zach Johnson and even Larry Mize.
“I had a lot of guys that have won here and been around here a bunch,” Kisner said.
THE KING RETURNS: Arnold Palmer will be on the first tee for the ceremonial opening shot of the Masters.
He just won’t be swinging a club.
“We are looking forward to having Arnold ... for many, many years to come,” Payne said.
The 86-year-old Palmer said his health wasn’t good enough to join Jack Nicklaus and Gary Player when they hit tee shots at the first hole to open the first major of the year.
With two-time Masters champion Tom Watson playing the event for the final time this year, there have been questions that he might take over the duties for Palmer.
“I suspect that’s premature,” Payne said. “We will deal with that when the time comes.”
AP Sports Writers Paul Newberry and John Zenor contributed to this report.