Augusta makes final push before Masters Week

While non-invited golfers are making one final push at a spot in the Masters Tournament, Augusta is making final preparations for the first major of the year.

Masters Week begins in three days with the first of three practice rounds. The highly-anticipated tournament begins Thursday with the first-time pairing of The Big Three (Jack Nicklaus, Arnold Palmer and Gary Player) as honorary starters. After they hit their tee shots, players will begin their quest for the coveted green jacket.

Tiger Woods is the odds-on favorite to win his fifth Masters title after notching a win at Bay Hill on Sunday. But he’ll have plenty of competition. World No. 1 Luke Donald won earlier this month at the Transitions Championship. Rory McIlroy, the reigning U.S. Open champion, briefly moved to No. 1 in the world after winning The Honda Classic. Phil Mickelson, who won in February at Pebble Beach, is making another run today at the Houston Open.

Before the Masters gets here in full, here are some items of interest:

  • The annual Masters preview section will be in Sunday’s paper. The preview features: Scott Michaux’s in-depth look at defending Masters champion Charl Schwartzel; a look at native Augustan Larry Mize 25 years after his famous shot to win the 1987 Masters; a rare glimpse of the world’s most famous golfing president, Dwight Eisenhower; and previews and bios on the players in the field.
  • Also check out the newly-redesigned augusta.com. It has previews, features, photos, a course guide and much more. Augusta.com will be a site you will want to return to throughout Masters Week for scores, news, updates, photos and other coverage.
  • The Mayor’s Masters Reception is set for 6 p.m. Monday at Augusta Common. Two-time Masters champion Tom Watson will be honored during the program and will receive a key to the city. Also, 40 restaurants are offering free samples. The cost is a $1 donation at the gate.

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