Masters veterans brace for windy Augusta National

Playing Augusta National and playing the course in high winds are vastly different experiences, grasped only by having been there, according to Sergio Garcia.

Wind gusts up to 35 mph and rain are in the forecast in Augusta, Ga., and Garcia can only grit his teeth at the thought of what it takes to manage the Masters in unfavorable weather.

“There’s no doubt with as high as these pine trees are, sometimes it becomes tricky to know exactly where the wind is,” Garcia said Wednesday after the par-3 contest was played in pristine conditions.

A wind advisory is in effect for Thursday in Augusta with the chance of rain at 84 percent according to Weather Channel.

Gary Woodland was riding high Wednesday after an ace at the par-3 6th, then watching his 6-year-old son Jax tap in the final putt of his round. Talk of rough weather Thursday morning was enough to shift his mood.

“The golf course is hard enough without the weather. It’s as good as I’ve seen it, to be honest. The golf course is absolutely perfect, so, hopefully, some of the rain misses it. It’s firm and fast now. Absolutely perfect,” Woodland said. “Hopefully, the weather misses a little bit. Golf is tough enough without the wind, so it’ll be a challenge, but one that everybody is going to have to face.”

Bubba Watson glanced at the weather forecast earlier this week and knew the weekend was shaping up as spectacular. He said he was informed schools were closing in Alabama in anticipation of extreme weather conditions.

“You know, it’s one of those things where it’s going to be tough for everybody because there is four hours of tee times before me, four and a half hours before me, so they’re going to have to battle it,” Watson said. “Hopefully, we’ll get it in on time. We’re going to have a beautiful Sunday to finish. Hopefully, the weather is not too bad so everybody can be safe.”

Garcia said he can guess where the wind might take a shot if the wind speed and direction is constant. In gusting wind, the impact on any shot is anyone’s guess.

“If it’s switching all the time, then it becomes a little bit trickier,” he said. “On a course like this, where you have to be so precise in every single shot that you hit, when you play with that amount of wind, it becomes very, very challenging.

“At the end of the day, it’s still about, it’s all about hitting the shots,” Garcia said. “So it’s, you know, as simple and as difficult as that.”