Jack Nicklaus on what parts of Augusta National will be better (and worse) for a November Masters

April 15, 2020
augusta national clubhouse

Ed. note: Well, Big Jack still has the record on a solo basis! Tiger Woods will have to wait until November to try to match Nicklaus’s six Masters titles. This week, Bamberger, Briefly comprises a series of five short pieces in which the 18-time major champion opines on this and that. Monday: Golf with Peyton Manning. Tuesday: Life with Barbara. Today: Augusta in November.

Augusta National is a seasonal club, open for play from October to May. Earlier this month, Fred Ridley, the club chairman, announced that the club plans to put on the postponed 2020 Masters from Nov. 12-15. Jack Nicklaus, the six-time Masters winner, is also an Augusta National member. He has played the course in November, so I asked him what we, fans and players both, could expect. Here’s his response, with modest editing. Nicklaus doesn’t need much editing.

“I try to stay away from Augusta in November, because of the overseed,” Nicklaus said. “The fairways are never good then. But they’ll figure that out. They’re going to have to figure out how to get the overseed in and get it cut short and get it crisp so they can play golf shots. That would be the most difficult thing to have in November. I think they’ll try to dry up the fairways. I think the golf course will play relatively short in November.

“The greens will be fine. As a matter of fact, the greens will probably be better in November, because they should be drier then. They’ll be able to get the greens firmer.

“They will have to deal with the lack of daylight. They’ll have quite a bit less daylight in November than they do in April. They’ll have to deal with football.

“But I think the Masters will still be the Masters. Won’t have any flowers. We won’t be looking at azaleas. Or you’ll be looking at them, but they won’t have any flowers on them. But that’s about it. I think they’ll do fine.

“I’m in favor of trying to get everything in. I talked with Fred [Ridley]. I give him credit. They worked with all the golf associations and with the Tour and figured out a way to come up with a schedule. I think they’ve got a pretty darn good schedule. It’s sort of condensed, but if this virus settles down and they’re allowed to go play, they’ll still have a good season.”

Some notes on Nicklaus’s comments:

The schedule. Nicklaus expects his own tournament, the Memorial, originally scheduled for June 4-7, to be played from July 16-19, the dates that had originally been reserved for the British Open, which will not be played this year.

Daylight in Augusta. Sunrise in Augusta on April 12, what would have been Masters Sunday, was 7:01 a.m. Sunset was 7:57 p.m. As it happens, Augusta had a major storm come through this year on Easter Sunday/Masters Sunday. Sunrise in Augusta on Nov. 15 is 7:00 a.m. Sunset is 5:25 p.m.

Football in November, as it relates to Jack. On Saturday, Nov. 14, Ohio State is scheduled to play at Maryland. Nicklaus, you may know, is a Buckeye.

Michael Bamberger welcomes your comments or suggestions at Michael_Bamberger@GOLF.com.

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