Will there be azaleas in November?
Managed by the Berckman family between 1858-1918, they imported many fruit and ornamental trees on the 365-acre Fruitland nursery but was already known for having a variety of peach trees.
Since the creation of Augusta national in 1931, there are now more than 80,000 plants of 350 varieties where each of the 18 holes are named after.
Azaleas mainly bloom in April, where we normally have The Masters, but August National does have one kind of azaleas called ‘encore azaleas’ which bloom three times a year.
So, the groundsmen and women at Augusta National could have made an extra case to plant the encore azalea for us all to see through our TV screens, but there is no question Augusta will look beautiful in Autumn colours.
How different is the weather going to be?
For one thing, it will be cooler. No doubt. You are probably looking at 5-10 degrees cooler than what it is in April. In April the average temperature is around 25 degrees where in November they are looking at it not even breaking 20 degrees with the potential of cold winds.
That most definitely means the course will play longer with cooler air temperatures favouring the longer players like Dustin Johnson, Jon Rahm and the biggest hitter Bryson DeChambeau. Fred Couples the 1992 Masters champion who has played at Augusta National in November made a comment saying it will play “extremely long.”
The majority of rainfall in Augusta falls between June and September so the course will also play softer than in April helping players keep the ball on the green.
Daylight will also play its part this year as there will be approximately 2-½ hours less daylight than in April and you can expect that it will affect tee times. The Masters do not tend to use two different tees, but in 2019 with the threat of thunderstorms in the final round, for the first time in its history, The Masters started on two different tees.
Who are the favourites to win?
Zach Jonson was the last to win in cold conditions at Augusta in 2007 and the first player to win over-par since 1956 and in fact, there have only been 4 over-par winners in the tournament history. Will we see number 5 this week? You wouldn’t put your money on it with the number of big hitters in the field who can maybe feel confident that their distance can help them in the colder conditions. Players like Jon Rahm who is in fine form and ready to win his first major. Dustin Johnson, a serial winner with his last 6 tournaments played reads: 2 wins, 3 T-2 and a 6th. Not including his FedEx Cup win. But he has had 4 weeks off after being positive for COVID-19, so maybe this will be the difference. Rory McIlroy will be fired up trying to complete the grand slam, BMW Champion Tyrell Hatton is in the form of his life, Bryson DeChanmbeau has to come into it along with Collin Morikawa, Brooks Koepka, Xander Schaufflee, Patrick Reed, Webb Simpson and also Justin Thomas.
Unfortunately, there are players who will be missing out. Joaquin Neimann and Sergio Garcia will miss out due to testing positive for COVID-19. Garcia held the longest streak of competing in major championships, 84 in total over 21 years, with his first being at The Open in 1999.
The list is long, but we would favour a long hitter who can also keep his putting game for all four days. Jon Rahm would be our pick to bag the first major of his career.
You can watch The Masters from Thursday 12th November (1 pm EST) on ESPN, CBS, Golf Channel, Masters.com and Sky Sports.