How will Augusta National play next week? Rory McIlroy has an idea.
In speaking with ESPN.com’s Bob Harig, McIlroy revealed that he and his father, Gerry, traveled to Augusta for a scouting trip on Oct. 27-28, getting in 27 holes of preparation on the second day.
Here’s what stood out most to McIlroy:
“A lot more Bermuda [grass] in the fairways and in the surrounds of the greens,” McIlroy told Harig via phone from Augusta, where he arrived Saturday morning. “The greens are exactly the same as they always are. But for the fairways, it just hasn’t been cold enough for the Bermuda to die off. That’s going to make things very interesting around the greens. Chipping will be a lot trickier.
“[The fairways], instead of being thin it can be a little grainy or a thicker patch. But it was soft. There were a lot of mud balls and looks like some rain during the week so that can be an issue. It’s just going to play very different. They haven’t done anything to the golf course – it’s just the way it’s playing.”
The forecast calls for at least 40% chances of rain each day beginning Tuesday. Once the tournament begins, Eta, currently a tropical depression, could impact play, with some tracks having the remnants of the storm going through Georgia over the weekend.
McIlroy enters the Masters, the final missing piece for his career grand slam, having finished T-21 or better in his last five PGA Tour starts, including a T-8 at the U.S. Open. McIlroy snapped his streak of five straight top-20s at Augusta National last year, when he finished T-21.