Masters 2017: Five things we learned Thursday at Augusta

April 6, 2017

The first round of the 2017 Masters was full of surprises: a bizarre withdrawal on the first tee, an unexpected quadruple bogey and a stunning 65 that no one saw coming. Here are five things we learned on Thursday at Augusta National Golf Club.

1. You can’t win the Masters on the first day, but you can lose it the night before.

Tournament favorite Dustin Johnson did his best in warm-ups, but it was no use: he walked off the first tee Thursday, his week ended prematurely by a back injury he suffered in a fall down the stairs on Wednesday night.

2. Jordan Spieth’s demons weren’t dwelling where we thought.

As it turned out, the hobgoblins that haunted Spieth were no longer hanging around the devilish par-3 12th hole, site of his 2016 implosion.They’d moved farther along the back nine to the par-five 15th, where Spieth was stricken with a disastrous quadruple-bogey nine.

3. The English: Patient.

By the end of a blustery day that required boundless patience, four of the top 10 names on the leaderboard (Lee Westwood, Andrew Sullivan, Matthew Fitzpatrick and Justin Rose) were British.

4. Fred Couples’ ball-striking is better than his eyesight.

“Is that in the bunker?” the 57-year-old Couples asked after striking his tee shot on the 12th. A mere 150 yards away, his ball sat on the green, 10 feet from the pin.

5. Even in the cold, some run hot.

In cooler than usual temperatures, the scores weren’t exactly sizzling. But then along came Charley Hoffman, reeling off five back-nine birdies to finish with a bright red 65.