AUGUSTA, Ga. — The news out of Augusta came fast and furious on Tuesday. A new and improved Tiger Woods made his return and actually looked happy and cheerful during his two practice sessions. Bubba Watson responded to his fellow Tour pros saying they wouldn’t help him in a parking lot fight. Rory McIlroy said he’s figured out how to stop making big numbers at Augusta. Here are some things you might have missed.
Bubba Watson received a solid-gold replica of his Ping Anser 1 Milled putter that he used to win his second green jacket in 2014. The putter weighs 24.7 ounces and is valued at more than $30,000.
Ping presents each of its tournament-winning staffers with a gold-plated putter and creates a solid gold replica for major winners.
“I can’t believe how heavy the putter is,” Watson said. “It brings back great memories from last year. Being recognized in the Ping gold putter vault was always a dream of mine when I first heard about it growing up.”
Add this to the list of memorable events to occur at Amen Corner. On Monday, Taylor Lamb proposed to Alyson Dukes at the legendary intersection of the 11th green, 12th hole and 13th tee at Augusta National to much fanfare, according to a story by the Augusta Chronicle.
Lamb had planned for months to propose, but could not secure tickets until the day before. Good timing!
Last year, Rory McIlroy had then-girlfriend Caroline Wozniacki caddie for him during the par-3. This year, he’s replaced her with someone more famous: One Direction’s Niall Horan.
“I’ve got Niall from One Direction caddying for me tomorrow, which should be good fun,” McIlroy said. “He’s been excited to come here. He’s never been to the Masters. I caught up with him in Australia at the end of last year and he was really excited, and I said, if you’re available Wednesday afternoon and you want to carry the bag for nine holes, you’re more than welcome. He’s excited to be here and looking forward to spending a bit of time with him out there tomorrow.”
James Hahn has only played one tournament since winning the Northern Trust Open, his first career PGA Tour victory, but he’s knocking off the rust in style in his first practice rounds at Augusta National. The 33-year-old has only played in one major (a missed cut in the 2012 U.S. Open), so this inaugural visit to the Masters is already memorable. Add in an ace on the historic 12th in a practice round? Not bad.
Steve Stricker and Tiger Woods are buddies. Instead of greeting each other with a wave, fist bump, high-five or other accepted form of acknowledging someone’s presence, Stricker opted for a nipple grab. It’s Masters week. Anything goes.