The perennial sports emblem of springtime, the Masters may feel strange squished into the middle of football season. Amen Corner and leftover Halloween candy might not seem to go together, but in 2020, anything goes.
This is the first time one of the four men’s major championships has been held in November since 1936, when Denny Shute won the PGA Championship at Pinehurst. More than 80 years later, the Masters will cap off an abridged men’s major championship season seven months after its traditional start date.
Tiger Woods will play a major as defending champion for the first time since the 2009 U.S. Open. While it seems like a lifetime ago that Woods embraced his family celebrating victory, he’s the man planning the menu for the Champions Dinner for the first time since 2006. Woods was exceptional with his irons last year, leading the field in strokes gained approach the green for the week. His 58 greens in regulation were the most by a Masters winner since Woods himself hit 60 in 2001.
This will mark Rory McIlroy’s sixth attempt at completing the career Grand Slam at Augusta National. While time is still firmly on the 31-year-old’s side, none of the five previous men to complete the Slam needed more than three attempts to win their respective final leg. McIlroy soared into Georgia last year with high expectations, having finished in the top 10 in all seven starts worldwide entering the week. He finished a disappointing 21st.
The storylines at this year’s Masters are seemingly limitless, from how the course will look and play to the new data-fueled approaches taken by the world’s best players. Still, in this non-traditional setting, it will be impossible to not feel the familiar echoes of history ringing through the Georgia pines, even if they aren’t as green as we’re used to seeing them.
– Golfweek partnered on this story with 15th Club, a firm that works with players, media entities, manufacturers and tours around the world in telling the true story of golf performance.