2017 Preview Golf: The Masters


2017 Preview

Hazel Irvine, Ken Brown, Paul Azinger and Peter Alliss look ahead to the 2017 Masters, the first major of the year, with the world's greatest golfers battling it out.


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He's got it! Oh, wow! There it is. Oh, what a shot. Absolutely

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incredible. Danny Willett is the Masters champion. At last we have

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thrown off the cloak of winter and on Sunday night, someone is going to

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throw on the ultimate spring accessory, a Green Jacket. The quest

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for major men's glory has been in hibernation for seven months, and

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now it is time to wake up and smell the azaleas. We are in full bloom in

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our studio as we look ahead to the 81st play of the Masters tournament.

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What is on the menu? Asked Danny Willett. Because as defending

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champion, he got to choose what these gentlemen were served at the

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champions dinner. You won't be surprised to hear they enjoyed a

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Sunday roast was Yorkshire pudding, naturally. And apple crumble. There

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is a quiz on the website matching different menus to different

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champions if you fancy a bit of fun. What a night for Danny, and a

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guaranteed dinner date for the rest of his life with these legends of

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the game. A beautiful evening for the gathering last night. But today,

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it has been overcast. Play was suspended on practice day after

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torrential rain, but not as dramatic as the storms we've had, one of

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which was on Monday, and the weather looks like it could play its part in

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events, particularly in the next couple of days. 12 months ago, Danny

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Willett became the first British player and indeed only the second

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Englishman, since Sir Nick Faldo to wear the Green Jacket. It was a

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career changing moment for Sheffield's finest. And indeed, you

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remember that final round in which Danny kept his cool when all around

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him others were losing theirs. That's water! Just like that, five

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shots gone. Danny Willett will shortly lead the Masters. Here are

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hear all of the cheering in the crowd. You could see them change the

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scoreboard. You almost waiting for them to change the scoreboard. And

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then you obviously realise what position you're in. Oh, interesting.

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I'm sure he has ever experienced what he is feeling right now. Your

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hands are shaking, head is racing, heart pumping. It comes back to on

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the range, a million times, just do what you do. Take a deep breath...

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Swinging a big 8-iron from right-to-left, 181 yards, and

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massive shot and fantastic result! All of a sudden, Danny Willett in

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control of his own fate may be here. The biggest putt of his young life.

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And it goes! All of a sudden it goes from three all 4-macro behind to

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three in front. 18 inches, maybe a bit less.

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That was the moment when you realise that what you have worked for and

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achieved, in your dream is there and come true. Every one of the major

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trophies is significant in its own way, but the Green Jacket for me is

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that little bit more special. What a tournament it was. Peter, became a

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major champion, Ryder Cup debut, became a father. A lot to get his

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head around. How did he do, how tough is it? He hasn't had a very

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happy time. -- he has. The power of the brain, the most extraordinary

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instrument anyway. I'm sure his troubles are not hitting the golf

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ball, they've all happened in his head and the magnitude of what he's

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done, what he's one and getting back to the family and the press and

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writing and books. And it piles up on you. And you go to bed and that,

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you close your eyes and your brain is going. As soon as daddy gets that

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-- Danny Glover cleared away, he will play. He knows how to play. --

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Danny gets that cleared away. He won this. Spieth threw it away, we all

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know that. But the last few holes, Willett played them wonderfully

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well. He did indeed come and I'm sure it will be a bit of a relief

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for him to get going. He has been enjoying being defending champion.

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He was hitting some balls Tyrell Hatton, fellow Englishman,

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yesterday. This is worth watching. This is the 16th. They will accept

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these shots tomorrow, when they? Synchronise, dance the balls across

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the putting surface. Till hadn't's in his way into the cup. -- till

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hadn't's on his way. The crowd around them, there is a roaring

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around the course. Danny and Tyrrell hat in our two of 11 English players

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here in August this year. That is a record number at Augusta for any

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country apart from the US. A new generation is emerging strongly.

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With seven of these 11 English players aged 30 or under, including

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Willett and Tommy Fleetwood. Hatton shot up world rankings at the last

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few months. Lee Westwood, Paul Casey, Justin Fitzpatrick, or finish

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strongly behind Willett last year. In the top ten. English golf riding

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high, on the crest of a wave at the moment. Danny Willett winning will

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give all of those players, "If he can do..." They know if they can

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play the game, they can be Danny Willett. There are ten of them in

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the top 60 world rankings. It's just brilliant. We have the amateur

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champion here as well. It's nice to have 11 from England playing. We

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have two Scots. Ian Woosnam for Wales. And of course, the inimitable

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Rory McIlroy, world number two. Let's just remind you of the top ten

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in the world rankings right now. Rory's sitting there at two. Jason

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Day F3, Stenson at five, but everyone is chasing Dustin Johnson

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in or some form. South Carolina's 6'4" golfing losses is as red-hot

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favourite as you could get coming in here, and no wonder. He is on an

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incredible run of form. Since February, he's gone back to

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back-to-back wins. He's going for four in a row.

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Watching new approach almost every tournament, almost every round, you

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always look calm and relaxed. Is there an extra tingle when you come

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here to the Masters that perhaps we don't see on the outside that you

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get on the inside? The drive down is always very special. For me, going

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up so close, it's a special place for me. I enjoyed it every time I

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step on the grounds here. 62-macro years ago, fourth last year. Are you

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a better player now, or just plain better? A bit of both. My game has

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gotten better, but I'm also playing better. The more you play, the more

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comfortable I get on this course. The more I learn the course. It is a

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difficult golf course and you need to know where to hit it, and then

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you need to be able to hit it there. In it goes, US Open champion! What a

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day, what a story and what a victory. Fans, experts, anyone you

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talked it in the build-up to this year 's Masters, they say you're

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winning everything at the MDs yourself as the man to beat? I'd

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like to think so. You just never know, especially around this golf

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course. I'll have to play very well if I want a chance to win. The

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floodgates have opened for him since his breakthrough major title in

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Oakmont last year. He has moving up six tournament wins in the last ten

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months. He has got to number one in the world and on an upward curve at

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Augusta having been sixth and fourth in the last two years. With the

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improvement in his wedge game and controlling that draw that he's got,

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how different a player is he, even in the last few months? What do you

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admire about the way he is a sender to world number one? With the

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thunder cracking overhead. I believe it's clearly, when you get that

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level, it's in your head. I know a lot of people don't agree, but he

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can hit the ball miles and he's putting things, confidence,

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consistency and confidence. There are 30 or 40 players here, they can

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all hit the ball wonderfully but are inconsistent. They can hit, but they

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can't play. I see it watching snooker. The long shot at the wrong

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time, it result in that happening. -- the incorrect shot. Dustin has

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come through all that, he is confident, he has not got a lot of

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imagination. He plods through life without too many interruptions

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appear and get on with it and does well. This is the first time Dustin

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has been quite this fancied. It's 12 years ago that the last favourite

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and indeed the last world number one came to Augusta... As we hear more

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Thunder! And actually came through to win. I was Tiger Woods in 2005.

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Mike is whether actually pay tee pay to his advantage? He's a massively

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long hitter. -- might this weather. That's a bit close! He has developed

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a more controlled flight of the tee. He is really hitting three quarters

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drivers. He still hits it a long way. That has been his real key to

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success. He's gone away from trying to hit Miles every time, more

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control. His iron play is good. He'll get some of the short irons as

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well. He has the game, coming with full confidence he'll be tough to

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beat. Since 1960, the par-3 contest here on the Wednesday has always

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been the kind of appetiser before the main event. But as you can hear

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and see, the weather has certainly played its part. It has been called

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off today. Our correspondent has been soaking up the atmosphere,

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quite literally. Usually on Wednesday before the Masters, the

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par-3 contest would be underway. The hillside would be awash with colour

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and spectators and enjoying the fun and games before the serious

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competition gets underway. Today, it has been pretty much a wash-out.

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Play did get underway earlier. 2003 Masters champion Mike Weir lifting

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the gloom with a hole-in-one. But then the rain really came down.

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Thunder and lightning came into the error, and the course had to be

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evacuated. For the first time in 57 years, the par-3 contest had to be

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cancelled. I'm off to go and do a little Sundance and hope for better

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weather over the next four days. Safely in out of the storm is Rory

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McIlroy, who once again has something very, very big and

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tantalising on his mind. It's a career grand slam. He has won three

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of the four men Majors. All he needs is a Green Jacket to join some of

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the legends of the game. Rory, your ninth Masters. How do you

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feel about the challenge? I'm feeling good. I'm feeling more

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relaxed this year than previous years. The build-up and the hype

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around it hasn't been quite as much as in previous race. I don't know if

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I've just done a good job of shielding it from myself, but I feel

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like I've been able to prepare quietly and come up here and had a

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couple of good trips. We played a lot of golf around you. I feel good.

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Mentally I'm in a good place, I fill up my game is in good shape. It's

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just a matter of getting the shots and holing the putts. Bike you don't

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need me to tell you what that stay, the career grand slam. How do you

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handle the extra pressure? I just have to treat it as a golf

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tournament and not think of the consequences. My place in history if

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I were to win. You know, I want to win a Green Jacket and that would be

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the same whether I'm going for a slam my first Major my tenth Major.

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I just want to win the Masters. It would put me in a place in golf

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history that very few people have gone before. It would put me in a

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very elite Place, elite company. If I do that, the other stuff will

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take care of itself. He has had a couple of chances to complete this

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grand slam at Augusta and hasn't had the greatest build-up, only weighing

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13 competitive rounds this season but he seems relaxed this time. I

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would say he is in the perfect sport and -- slot, he has played many

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practice rounds. He is in the perfect spot coming to Augusta under

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the radar. He has the game that is ideal, I would say this would have

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been the one he would have won first. He knows the grand slam is

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therefore the grabbing. His game is ideal for Augusta National. But

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every chance that passes, the anxiety increases. So many people

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tell you you should win. I finished three or four shots behind Peter

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Thomson in 1954 at Birkdale, and they said my time would come but it

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never did. The same thing might happen to Rory, we hope it doesn't,

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those who support him, and he does have the perfect game for this. He

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has had some high schools here, four or five holes he doesn't like and he

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plays them very badly. He has to learn to play those holes at whether

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using a 5-iron and a putter, he has to get over those. He will be OK.

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Another great who did not complete the grand slam as Arnold Palmer. He

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will be badly missed here, a four-time winner here and I think

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his loss will be felt tomorrow as the ceremonial tee shots get

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underway. Peter has been looking back at his life and career. There

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have been golfers with a more elegant swing. Elvers who have won

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more than his seven Majors but there was only one Arnold Palmer. --

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golfers. He took golf to places and people as never before. He had a

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presence, especially at Augusta where he won the Masters four times.

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He was one of the big three with Jack Nicklaus and Gary Player. They

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pushed the boundaries of golf beyond belief. He remained to his dying day

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one of the golfing fraternity. Respected by the players of today

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and a dear friend to all from yesteryear. Beta, Mr Palmer is so

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richly associated with this place, there will be of poignancy on the

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first the one Jack the Gary Player tee off for the ceremonial tee shots

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in the morning. It will be keenly felt I think. Then there were two.

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He will be missed because he was very human. Apart from all of the

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wonderful things, silly things, throwing tournaments away. He was

:17:06.:17:10.

human, he had human file tears. He liked a drink and knew a well turned

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ankle when he saw one. -- he had human frailties. A seven time major

:17:21.:17:26.

winner. Danny Willett set is iced and lemonade last night to toast his

:17:27.:17:32.

good health and loving memory. He indeed change the face of golf in

:17:33.:17:37.

the 60s. There are acres of newsprint written about Arnold

:17:38.:17:40.

Palmer. And there I say he would approve of the changes in the press

:17:41.:17:44.

facilities here at Augusta National this year. If you've never been to

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Augusta before, you may not know that the golf club is no Tory as for

:17:50.:17:52.

making subtle taint is to the course that go almost unnoticed but blend

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in with the beautiful surroundings. -- notorious. This was built in ten

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months and looks like it has been here for years. The magnificent new

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press building at Augusta has become the standard centre for media

:18:09.:18:15.

facilities at sporting events. It has state-of-the-art technology for

:18:16.:18:18.

every member of the media encoding work stations with two screens, with

:18:19.:18:23.

scoring, statistics and access to 17 related -- golf related TV channels.

:18:24.:18:34.

No expense has been spared to ensure that those responsible for bringing

:18:35.:18:40.

the stories from the Masters are cared for like every thing else at

:18:41.:18:44.

Augusta, they have got it just right. But who will they be writing

:18:45.:18:48.

about on Sunday night? These are the current odds. The bookmakers can't

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see past Dustin Johnson and Jordan Spieth. They like Henrik Stenson and

:18:59.:19:01.

Phil Mickelson who fought at that duel in the Sun last year. Japan's

:19:02.:19:06.

superb Hideki Matsuyama with five wins in nine starts recently. And

:19:07.:19:11.

what about a first rookie win since 1979, Spain 's John Rahman is

:19:12.:19:17.

attracting plenty of attention. There are 94 players in total

:19:18.:19:23.

starting tomorrow. Andrew Cotter has been assessing the best of the rest.

:19:24.:19:30.

Jordan Spieth is the man thought to be dragging with the chains of last

:19:31.:19:35.

year, his form is not great but just think of his record runner-up,

:19:36.:19:41.

winner and runner-up. And a man in positive mood. We have put in great

:19:42.:19:45.

work the last couple of days. I feel confident of the path we are headed

:19:46.:19:52.

on. It comes down to making the putts. Attention on Hideki Matsuyama

:19:53.:19:54.

will be intense, he has two wins this season and a game designed for

:19:55.:20:00.

this post, top ten finishes in the last two masters. The Open champion

:20:01.:20:05.

doesn't feel quite at home here. And expense and has never finished in

:20:06.:20:08.

the top ten at Augusta and has struggled of late. What about the

:20:09.:20:13.

man he beat at Troon, Phil Mickelson is one of the Masters of Augusta.

:20:14.:20:19.

Three wins and 15 top tens from 24 appearances. You can almost ignore

:20:20.:20:23.

indifferent recent form when he drives up Magnolia Lane. No rookie

:20:24.:20:28.

has won since 1979 but what about the Spaniard who came through the

:20:29.:20:33.

American College system? 22, just outside the world top ten, mighty

:20:34.:20:38.

and relate the Spanish masters? One of the hottest players this season

:20:39.:20:42.

is the American Justin Thomas. Three wins have taken him to seventh in

:20:43.:20:46.

the rankings and four of the last six winners at Augusta have been

:20:47.:20:50.

playing in their second masters, as he does this year. And then there is

:20:51.:20:55.

Jason Day. Golf has recently taken a distant second to the health of his

:20:56.:21:01.

mother but better news that has lifted his spirits and make him

:21:02.:21:05.

believe he can challenge again. I feel my touch is pretty decent

:21:06.:21:09.

around a place like this. I would like to position myself better on

:21:10.:21:14.

the greens that I will focus on the mental game. I would not say

:21:15.:21:19.

implement as much as apocalyptic at the moment. This is a ring, if there

:21:20.:21:23.

is more of this in the next couple of days, it will sort the men from

:21:24.:21:28.

the boys. Who is your fancy here Peter? Della macro there are a lot

:21:29.:21:34.

of them of course. There are so many good players from South Africa now.

:21:35.:21:39.

They look great. Why they haven't won more, I don't know. There are

:21:40.:21:45.

some odds there, around 66-1 that are very tempting indeed. Louis

:21:46.:21:50.

Oosthuizen. You like an extension as well. You agree yes. My man. We

:21:51.:21:59.

talked about the only rookie winners in 1934, Fuzzy Zeller, why not the

:22:00.:22:03.

young Spaniard, so much hype about him? He has played ten times and he

:22:04.:22:10.

has a win already, in San Diego. He has had a couple of top five

:22:11.:22:16.

finishes. 22 years of age and he has the complete game. And his

:22:17.:22:21.

confidence is absolutely sky-high. A big task but you never know. We

:22:22.:22:26.

haven't discussed Jordan Spieth a great deal, to what extent will he

:22:27.:22:30.

be smarting at what happened to him last year and a point to prove

:22:31.:22:38.

perhaps? He had a funny remark in the press, he talks about week, he

:22:39.:22:41.

wants them to be afraid of us, that is not the language of overs. That

:22:42.:22:52.

is rugby and boxers. He is developing into a cocky man. It

:22:53.:22:55.

depends how he goes whether he will be OK or a bit of a twerp in years

:22:56.:23:02.

to come. That is your opinion but let us talk about Phil Mickelson who

:23:03.:23:06.

has been on the scene a long time. A three-time Masters winner, the age

:23:07.:23:12.

of 46, interesting number with Jack winning in 1986. He has still got it

:23:13.:23:19.

even he hasn't won a tournament in The Open in 2013. He has the ideal

:23:20.:23:25.

game, most notably his short game. This velvet touch, he is not

:23:26.:23:32.

frightened to make putts. He has all of the experience under the sun.

:23:33.:23:38.

This bit of rain will suit him. And the sub system now, they will be

:23:39.:23:42.

turning it now, it will suck the water out and it had better be

:23:43.:23:47.

sucking hard. We talk about the weather here, unlike recent years,

:23:48.:23:50.

these conditions could play a significant part in the coming days.

:23:51.:23:56.

Ten as ever is ready for anything. There is a list talk about the golf

:23:57.:24:00.

course but the weather is a major factor. So far this week, Monday it

:24:01.:24:04.

or down, torrential rain and because was closed at -- closed at 1230.

:24:05.:24:11.

Today it is 80 degrees and perfect. They are out there enjoying the

:24:12.:24:15.

course, it is magic. The weather plays such a major part here. What a

:24:16.:24:20.

difference a Day makes. Today there has been found and lightning. The

:24:21.:24:23.

players have not been able to practice on the golf course. But

:24:24.:24:28.

what will the weather hold for the rest of the week? They say it will

:24:29.:24:32.

be windy, if it gets too windy, Augusta becomes very difficult.

:24:33.:24:36.

Fingers crossed the breeze stays away. It looks like a very breezy

:24:37.:24:42.

start, stronger asks of up to 30 mph in the first round. -- strong gusts.

:24:43.:24:49.

It should come down for the weekend, interestingly, the wind is due to

:24:50.:24:53.

switch direction on Sunday out of the north-west. That is the toughest

:24:54.:24:58.

scoring wind into the faces on the par-5s. Step up the strong men. It

:24:59.:25:03.

looks like a pretty unsettled picture. Very much so. The wind is

:25:04.:25:09.

so dramatic around here. A bit like Wentworth. The West Course. It

:25:10.:25:16.

swirls around all the time. You are never quite sure where it is coming

:25:17.:25:20.

from. It will take a lot of skill and some luck and let us hope the

:25:21.:25:26.

best one wins. A look at some of the shots we are seeing from the course

:25:27.:25:31.

right now. There is not going to be a problem in getting the course

:25:32.:25:35.

ready because there is every technological device available to do

:25:36.:25:39.

so. This is genuinely a factor you feel. Because playing soft makes a

:25:40.:25:46.

lot of difference, you can get to the flags. But then with the breeze,

:25:47.:25:51.

that nullifies any advantage. When those pins are tucked in the corner,

:25:52.:25:58.

club selection is so critical on a breezy day, this course becomes an

:25:59.:26:04.

absolute monster. It all gets underway at Atrium our time in the

:26:05.:26:08.

morning. These are the groups, Jordan Spieth with Martin Kaymer and

:26:09.:26:18.

Matthew Fitzpatrick. Justin Rose out with 12 month of three Jason Day and

:26:19.:26:22.

Brandt Snedeker. Danny Willett begins his defence in the amiable

:26:23.:26:29.

Matt Kuchar and the Aussie amateur, luck. Tyrrell Hatton is the new boy.

:26:30.:26:39.

We have a full time major winner, Rory McIlroy is out with the inform

:26:40.:26:48.

Japanese player. And what a final group, an all-American major winning

:26:49.:26:53.

trio of Bubba Watson Dustin Johnson and Jimmy Walker. Look out for that

:26:54.:26:57.

one. This is our schedule. Highlights of the opening day for

:26:58.:27:04.

you on Friday. Also available on the red button in the morning from

:27:05.:27:06.

9:15am. And thereafter, we are live all the

:27:07.:27:20.

way with round three. Clear the decks, get the supplies in because

:27:21.:27:25.

we will get underway at 7:30pm on Saturday night. And Masters Sunday,

:27:26.:27:30.

the final round live starting an hour earlier from 6:30pm. All four

:27:31.:27:38.

days live on radio five live. Mark Chapman and his top team and also

:27:39.:27:44.

coverage on the BBC sport website. Loads of access to video streams and

:27:45.:27:50.

clips and the best of social media. So it is all to come over the next

:27:51.:27:55.

four days. It is 30 years since Larry Mize chipped in with that

:27:56.:27:59.

incredible shot at the 11th in a play-off to win his Masters title

:28:00.:28:06.

and it is 20 years since that incredible victory for a certain

:28:07.:28:09.

Tiger Woods. We announced last week that unfortunately he will not be

:28:10.:28:13.

able to come back on the anniversary of that amazing win in 1997. I am

:28:14.:28:19.

afraid injuries mean he is not tournament ready. It doesn't stop us

:28:20.:28:23.

celebrating and remembering that landmark victory for golf. We will

:28:24.:28:25.

catch you soon, goodbye.

:28:26.:28:32.

Hazel Irvine, Ken Brown, Paul Azinger and Peter Alliss look ahead to the 2017 Masters, the first major of the year, with the world's greatest golfers battling it out for arguably the sport's biggest prize - the illustrious green jacket. In 2016 Englishman Danny Willett was the surprise winner, becoming the first British champion since Sir Nick Faldo in 1996. Willett might struggle to retain his title against newly crowned world number one Dustin Johnson and the man looking to complete his career Grand Slam, Northern Irishman Rory McIlroy.


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