AUGUSTA, Ga. -- Masters week is officially here. To no surprise, Rory McIlroy is leading the charge.
McIlroy provided the highlight of what is normally a quiet Monday at the Masters. Playing a friendly practice round against Chris Wood, McIlroy aced the par-3 16th hole. Now he just needs to carry that over to Thursday.
Here are four other things we learned Monday at Augusta National.
• Masters patrons love their history. Our Jeff Ritter walked the grounds and talked to a handful of them who were in search of the sites of historic Masters shots. (Although one Bubba Watson hater wasn’t as impressed as others.)
• Vaughn Taylor, the Augusta native who found his way back into the field by winning at Pebble Beach, told the media that his career low point came the week before his victory at Pebble (and went into great detail why). Not a bad turnaround. He will have a home crowd this week.
• Fred Couples will miss his first Masters since 1994. He dropped out on Monday due to acute back pain. The field is now down to 89 players.
MORE MASTERS: Visit GOLF.com's Masters Tournament Hub
• The winners of golf's return to the Olympic Games are getting a nice bonus — a ticket to all of 2017's major championships. This goes for both the men and the women, golf's governing bodies announced.
• Bonus item we learned: Plan accordingly when going to the merchandise tent. Look. At. Those. Lines.