Golfer Ian Poulter Says Masters ‘Extremely Strange’ Without Fans But Still Full of ‘Adrenaline’
Although playing without fans at the Augusta National Golf Club is a big change, that doesn’t mean that the 2020 Masters Tournament is lacking in energy.
In a Q&A session earlier this week before the Masters' Thursday start, PGA Tour members and Mercedes-Benz ambassadors Ian Poulter, Rickie Fowler, and Jon Rahm opened up about how this year's event is different than past tournaments.
Asked about how they would handle getting themselves amped up without the roar of the crowd, Poulter — who went into the Masters ranked No. 48 — said that he didn’t expect most players would have a problem with keeping their energy and focus high.
“We’ve now played for months and months and months with no crowd,” the English golfer, 44, said. “Down the stretch, [during the] back nine at Augusta National, if you can’t switch on, then you've got a problem.”
“It’s going to happen,” he added. “If you’re in the mix, your adrenaline is going to be rushing, and you’ll be switched on.”
Without fans to rely on, the golfer went on to share that players will have to use scoreboards to keep them apprised on what’s going on.
“We’re going to be looking at the boards to get a gauge instead of listening to the roars and then looking at the board,” he said.
Rahm, who is currently ranked No. 2 on the PGA Tour, went on to explain that the lack of noise can leave players with “no clue” about what’s happening elsewhere on the course.
“Being able to hear those moments, you know something good is happening, so it pushes you to make some birdies down the stretch just in case you need to,” he explained. “Now, you won’t hear anything and two holes later you might find out what happened.”
Another aspect of not having fans present? A very open course.
“It’s extremely strange,” said Poulter, who recently took a little time off after suffering from back spasms. “You can see certain pins on the greens which you’ve never normally seen before because of the patrons that are normally in the stands that are just not there.”
“There’s a big expanse of greenery that’s just open. How that’s going to affect the wind around the course, I’m not sure. But it just looks different,” he added.
The annual tournament, one of the four major championships in professional golf, was rescheduled this year because of the coronavirus pandemic. The event, which usually takes place in April, began on Nov. 12 and will conclude on the 15th.
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