For any game played outdoors, the weather is always a factor. But few games are as precise as golf, and thus, few games can be as derailed or altered by Mother Nature as golf.
Just ask any player who has ever grappled with the wind at St. Andrews.
Luckily for participants at this year's Masters, the conditions should be just about as favorable as possible. Here's what the weather is expected to look like over the four days of the tournament:
|Thursday||75||51||0%||WSW at 6 mph|
|Friday||77||53||0%||SW at 10 mph|
|Saturday||80||56||0%||SW at 4 mph|
|Sunday||81||59||0%||SSE at 7 mph|
It's hard to beat that.
According to Weather.com, Friday will literally be the perfect conditions for golfing with a Golf Index at 10 (on a scale from zero to 10), while Saturday and Sunday each will have a Golf Index of nine, about as good as it gets.
That, of course, is a far cry from where the week began. From Jason Sobel of Golf Channel:
Just two hours after the gates opened to patrons on Monday morning, a weather warning siren echoed throughout Augusta National Golf Club and play was suspended. All badge holders were asked to leave the premises because of potentially dangerous conditions. Around 12:40 p.m. ET, officials announced that gates would not re-open for the day.
'We are disappointed that our patrons could not enjoy today’s practice round, however safety must be our first concern. We look forward to seeing these patrons next year,' said Billy Payne, chairman of Augusta National Golf Club and the Masters Tournament.
While a Monday rain might not seem like a big deal, it does mean that the players were practicing under slightly different conditions on Tuesday than they'll likely face when the actual tournament began, as Hunter Mahan hinted to David Wharton of the Los Angeles Times.
"I know we're going to have good weather," he said. "But it's probably not going to dry out completely except for the greens."
It's a small thing, for certain, but in a game of precision, each small thing must be accounted for.
As for the players, who should you be watching for in this tournament?
Well, there is last year's winner for one, Adam Scott, though his putting of late is a concern. Young stars like Rory McIlroy and Jason Day would love to earn their first green jacket, as would Henrik Stenson (heck, Day and Stenson would love to win their first major).
There's always Phil Mickelson, who has donned the green jacket three times, or Bubba Watson, who memorably won in 2012.
And you have to think players like Justin Rose, Dustin Johnson, Matt Kuchar and perhaps even Sergio Garcia could win the whole thing.
Or, perhaps a player could emerge from far down the contender list and shock us all. It's the Masters—anything under the sun is possible.
At least we know that we'll be seeing plenty of that sun during this year's tournament.