Monday At The Masters
Players In The Hunt:
Ireland’s Padraig Harrington and Argentina’s Angel Cabrera walked on the Augusta National grounds Monday, just as they have done in many years past, but each arrived with a different status – as the reigning champions of the British and U.S. Opens.
Sound Bits From The 2008 Masters
U.S. Open Champion, Angel Cabrera arrived at Augusta National on Monday hoping to continue on his winning ways. Cabrera said that thing are still the same since he won the US Open, although he says that he signs more autographs, see more U.S. Open stuff, and more people recognize him.
British Open Champion, Padraig Harrington said his arrival at the Masters was one more benefit to winning his first major championship last summer at the Carnoustie. “I can’t wait to hear the starter call my name Thursday at the Masters,” he said. “I’ll never say everything is perfect and ready to go, but I’m very excited to be here.” “In Ireland, where the weather was cold and wet, the Masters was really the start of the golf season,” Harrington said. “After the Masters was on TV, everybody went out and started playing golf. Even though we’ve been playing golf for four months, this is the start of the season back home.”
Past Masters’ Champion Vijay Singh had a changed of routine as he goes in hunt for his second Green Jacket. Singh who normally plays his way into a major chose to skip the Shell Houston Open, where he is a three-time champion. Instead, he stayed in Florida and practiced at his home course. “I didn’t miss it in Houston,” he said Monday morning. “I got to stay home with my family and rest. I am good now.”
Others with new Masters garb included 2007 runner-up Rory Sabbatini, who sported a large, new belt buckle featuring a metal snake wrapped around a staff.“You’ve always got to change it up,” Sabbatini said.
Luke Donald was one of the first players on the grounds Monday after not setting foot on the course since the 2008 Tournament. “I try to change it up in different ways, but there haven’t been a lot of changes since last year, so I don’t think I needed to come early,” said Donald. “I’m always excited to arrive because this is such a special place for me.”
K.J. Choi had no trouble getting to Augusta late Sunday night, after playing in his hometown Houston Open, but his clubs were not so lucky. They were a no show Sunday at the airport and did not arrive until Monday afternoon.
Two-time Masters Champion Ben Crenshaw was the Monday night honoree at the Mayor’s Masters Reception in downtown Augusta, one more great Masters memory in a lifetime full of them. “The Masters and Augusta National has meant so much to me and my career,” Crenshaw said. “I can remember watching it when I was eight-and-nine years old with my dad in Austin (Texas) and Harvey (Penick) telling us what a great tournament it was.” Crenshaw said he knows his time is coming to retire from active competition at Augusta National, but not just yet. “It’s going to be sooner rather than later, but it not time just yet,” he said. “It’s just so much fun to bring Julie and the kids here every year to see all of our friends at the club.” Crenshaw’s long-time Masters caddie, Carl Jackson, was also honored at the ceremony.
While most of the 2008 Masters favorites took to the course, two-time Masters Champion Phil Mickelson stuck to his routine, spending time at home in San Diego before flying to Augusta Monday afternoon. Mickelson flew from Houston, where he played in the PGA Tour event last week, returning to San Diego to see his family. Then he flew back cross-country to Georgia to get ready for the Masters. “I usually take Monday off during the majors and I wanted to see the family at home,” Mickelson said Sunday before leaving Houston.
New Masters food items offered this year include the green and white bagged Masters potato chips and the Masters Moon Pie.
Faces in the Crowd:
Monday faces in the crowd included past Masters Champion Charles Coody, former PGA Championship and U.S. Open winner Hubert Green and multi-time PGA Tour winner Doug Sanders, a runner-up to Jack Nicklaus in the British Open.