AUGUSTA, Ga. — Things did not get any easier during Friday’s second round of the Masters. You knew it, not only by the faces of the caddies, but also by the players hanging out in the caddie area.
With Friday being cut day, Masters week would be over for some golfers, while others were having a couple of beers to decompress as the rest of the round played out on television.
Here is a breakdown of the round from three caddies who were out on the course Friday:
Question from Collins: What made Round 2 so difficult?
Caddie 1: You better ask [Caddie 2] because I didn’t think it was that difficult a day. Did you?
Caddie 2: I did think it was harder today. Yesterday, there was no wind, or there was very little wind. It was easy because it came from the same direction, where today it was hard enough to where it was back to being like Augusta. Swirling. The course wasn’t set up any harder, but the wind … [there was] no grass on the greens; they’re so firm and they’re so fast.
Collins: Do you think they were protecting against the weather that’s supposed to come in Saturday?
Caddie 2: No, I think the wind blew a little harder than they thought it was going to blow today.
Collins: The caddie yesterday said the hole locations were what made the course tough.
Caddie 2: Every pin except for two today were the exact same as last year’s second round. No. 4 and No. 11. All the rest were pretty much exactly where they were last year in the second round.
Collins: Which hole, with the conditions, was the easiest hole to caddie today?
Caddie 2: I’d say No. 2 was the easiest today.
Collins: The hardest?
Caddie 1: Twelve or No. 6. Twelve is always hard, but yeah, six.
Collins: Did the wind switch out there today?
Caddie 1: Yeah. What did it go from, southwest to south?
Caddie 2: When we teed off it was basically south, and then it went to southwest.
Collins: Which was the hardest stretch of holes where you had to keep your player patient?
Caddie 1: Nos. 10-11-12; those are just hard holes.
Caddie 2: It was different for me. For me, it’s always hard to keep my guy patient from about Nos. 3 through 9.
Collins: That’s a big stretch. Why?
Caddie 2: Holes 1 and 2 are pretty easy, 3 is not that bad, but then … 4, 5, 6 and 7 just wear you down. On 8, if you don’t birdie it, [your player is] headless. And then you get to 9 and you can’t hold the green, so you’ve got to say, “There’s going to be birdie holes on the back nine, you just gotta stay patient.” To me, that’s the hardest part of this golf course — 3 through 9 if you don’t birdie 8.
Collins: What will be the toughest thing about getting prepared for the weather tomorrow? What makes caddying here in bad weather even worse than at a normal event?
Caddie 1: It’s already hard enough, without rain or any wind. Right? [Looks at Caddie 2.]
Caddie 2: Yeah, I think the only good thing about the rain is it might soften the greens just a little bit and make it just a little easier. Now, if it rains and it blows a ton, then it’s a whole different animal. I’d rather it either just rain or have wind, but not both. Because then it’s like [makes a face like he smelled something rotten].
Collins: Why is that combo so bad?
Caddie 2: I’d rather play in rain with no wind every day. Then wind. Period.
Caddie 1: Because the wind here is not just wind — it swirls; it’s a hard wind to judge. You get your wind chart out, if you use one, and you say, “OK, this is where the wind’s going to blow,” but you get up on 12, and then you get on 14 and it’s blowing down, the total opposite. So, you have to trust where it’s coming from. You have to trust yourself, and then you can still get caught out there.
Collins: What is one thing that would surprise people about Augusta National?
Caddie 2: Here’s the “problem” with Augusta National. Their flags are so thin! … Every other flag has got some thickness to it … that’s why they swirl around. They’re so thin, and the stick doesn’t bend. Everywhere else the flag will have a thicker border and be double-sided because they have sponsors logos on both sides. The flag doesn’t move [easily], and the stick is skinnier, so it moves. You know when it’s actually windy, whereas this here …[shrugs his shoulders].
Caddie 3: How much the wind changes — that it’s not a given variable. We played the last six holes downwind.
Collins: Wait, what?! That’s not possible. Those holes are not in the same direction.
Caddie 3: Yeah, I know [said with sarcasm] — 13 down off the left, 14 downwind.
Collins: Wait — 14 goes the exact opposite way.
Caddie 3: 15 down off the left. 16 downwind. You know how 16 goes this way [points with his hand] and 17 goes this way [points the opposite way]?
Caddie 3: 17 downwind.
Collins: [Trying not to laugh.] OK, how do you convince your player?
Caddie 3: We weren’t right the whole time. [Shakes his head] I’m just telling you where [the wind] was. I didn’t say we said it was where it was! That’s just where it ended up being.
Collins: Then that makes sense, why so many people were struggling Friday with “distance control.”
Caddie 3: It was doing it yesterday, but the wind wasn’t blowing nearly as hard, so today it made you look a lot worse.
Collins: OK, easier question. What’s your favorite food at Augusta National?
Caddie 1: The pecan pie!
Caddie 2: A pork chop in every one!
Collins: What is that?
Caddie 1: There’s a pork chop in every beer.
Caddie 1: Ask me about Tony Finau.
Collins: OK, what about Tony Finau?
Caddie 1: He’s the only man out here. The only athlete out here. A guy that can pop his foot back like that, that’s a tough guy. Let me tell you something. Eric Weddle from the Chargers was in here, and he said he had never seen a guy do that. In all the injuries he’s seen, he said, “I’ve never seen a guy pop his foot back in like that.” That’s a tough guy.