Faldo expects 'incredible intensity' but silent Augusta will hurt Masters champion

By Sports Desk November 09, 2020

Three-time Masters champion Nick Faldo believes playing Augusta this week will be no easier for the absence of patrons but the winning feeling on Sunday will be dampened.

A unique November Masters begins without spectators on Thursday, with the tournament moved from its usual April date due to the coronavirus pandemic.

Faldo, who won at Augusta in 1989, 1990 and 1996, believes the players will suffer as a result of fans being kept away.

And the six-time major winner foresees an awkward celebration for this year's victor, completely out of keeping with the scenes in 2019 as Tiger Woods ended an 11-year wait for one of golf's top prizes.

"It's going to be very different," Faldo said. "You're going to celebrate winning by turning, looking at your caddy and just giving a whatever, half high-five.

"There won't be any adrenaline like Tiger showed last year.

"It's probably quite sad for some guys. You win a tournament and go, 'Hi, thanks', and you get a little golf clap. It will hurt a little bit, because it's just not the same.

"The famous walk, coming up the 18th; I can promise you, the goosebumps. It's all unfortunately going to be less, it has to be less. It's one of the most wonderful walks coming down the 18th at a major to win.

"The Masters is so special because the whole green is engulfed with patrons, the famous scoreboards. It's all going to be very quiet.

"The good thing is there will still be a green jacket waiting at Butler Cabin. It will feel good by then, but it has to feel very different on the golf course."

Predicting the empty course could get under the skin of some players, Faldo added: "To play the Masters without even having any patron ropes lining any of the fairways is going to be a pretty weird feeling, a weird look.

"It's just you, just the golfers, so I think, in a way, it can actually increase the intensity or the pressure. It's just you coping with everything.

"Some players are [usually] able to reflect their emotion with the fans, with the patrons, a smile, a wink, a funny face, a reaction off a good shot, a great shot, a poor shot.

"Now it's all down to you, you and your caddy. That could wind some of them up as well.

"With no patrons around, people think it's easier. But at the Masters, playing the second nine for a green jacket, it will still have incredible intensity. Just you and your caddy.

"You'll probably be able to hear your own heartbeat, you'll certainly be able to feel it. It will be so silent, just you dealing with everything."

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