More sports

Masters gets colorful pairing with Poulter, Fowler

AUGUSTA, Ga. (AP) — There's one group the fashion police will probably have an eye on Saturday.

Ian Poulter and Rickie Fowler are paired together for the third round of the Masters, coupling two of the most colorful and best-dressed guys on the PGA Tour. Poulter donned arguably the most entertaining outfit Friday, wearing plaid pants that matched perfectly with his blue hat and pastel-green shirt and shoes. Fowler wore a bright pink ensemble that was unmistakable at Augusta National.

Who knows what they're bust out Saturday, but they're sure to turn heads all around the course. — Mark Long, https://twitter.com/APMarkLong

U.S. skier Bode Miller and wife Morgan Beck have a story to tell about the Masters.

According to the Augusta Chronicle, Miller and Beck were stopped on their way to the course Thursday and told to get rid of a quesadilla they had hoped to snack on during the first round.

"If you pay $7,500, you ought to be able to bring out a quesadilla," Miller said.

The couple was eating at Berckmans Place, a posh hospitality venue tucked behind trees alongside the fifth fairway. The facility, which opened last year, is available to club members, tournament sponsors and select others. The tent has three main restaurants, walls of Masters history, areas to watch the tournament and a practice putting area that's a replica of three Augusta National greens.

— Mark Long

TALL TASK: John Isner should be able to find his friends fairly easily at crowded Augusta National.

The 6-foot-10 tennis player, who is ranked ninth in the latest ATP standings, arrived at the Masters on Friday and started searching for his fellow Georgia Bulldogs.

There are a bunch of them in the field.

"It's very cool," Isner said. "It's crazy, really. Not to mention there's probably five or six others that have their (tour) card as well. A lot of Bulldogs, and we are in Georgia, so these guys are going to get a lot of support."

Bubba Watson, Chris Kirk, Harris English, Russell Henley played at Georgia, and Patrick Reed started his college career at Georgia before transferring to Augusta State.

Isner won't have much trouble spotting them. After all, when you're the tallest guy on the grounds, you don't have jockey for a clear view.

— Mark Long

CROWD NOISE: The first tee at Augusta National is a social place. The clubhouse is nearby, along with the big oak tree that has become THE gathering spot during the Masters.

So everyone crowds around the opening tee, making it an entertaining spot to listen to spectator chatter.

Here are a few examples from Friday when Angel Cabrera, Ian Poulter and Gary Woodland were teeing off.

One observer on Cabrera, an Argentinian who's modestly listed at 210 pounds: "He looks just like me. He has no neck."

Another one on Poulter, a Brit who's known as much for his colorful outfits as his golf: "Oh my God. He's wearing sherbet-lime-green shoes that perfectly match his shirt and pants. I love those shoes!"

Woodland, an American who's considered one of the biggest hitters on tour, was also fair game: "Watch him hit a feather cut up the hill about 325."

Hard to argue with those assessments.

— Mark Long

TIGER FACTOR: Television already is feeling the effects of not having Tiger Woods at the Masters.

In a release, ESPN said its live telecast of the opening round Thursday had a 1.5 rating with an average audience of 2 million viewers. That's down from a 2.0 rating and 2.8 million viewers from a year ago.

— Doug Ferguson, https://twitter.com/dougferguson405

SENIOR WARMUP: Seven golfers at the Masters will have a short trip to their next event: They'll be playing at a Champions Tour event in suburban Atlanta.

Fifty-four-year-old Fred Couples is the latest senior to commit to the Greater Gwinnett Championship, which will be held next weekend at the TPC Sugarloaf in suburban Atlanta.

That setup is mighty convenient. The Sugarloaf course, which once hosted a PGA Tour event, is about a 2½-hour drive from Augusta National.

Also going straight from the Masters to the Greater Gwinnett Championship are Ben Crenshaw, Bernhard Langer, Sandy Lyle, Larry Mize, Mark O'Meara and Miguel Angel Jimenez, who will make his Champions Tour debut at Sugarloaf. The Spaniard turned 50 on Jan. 5.

Of course, all seven have their minds on more important matters at the moment. Especially Jimenez, Couples and Langer, who are actually in contention after the opening round of the Masters.

Jimenez and Couples opened with 1-under-par 71s and Langer shot 72, leaving them all within four shots of leader Bill Haas.

— Paul Newberry, https://twitter.com/pnewberry1963

LONG LINE: Getting a photo at the Masters takes patience — maybe because it's free.

Spectators aren't allowed to bring cameras or cellphones onto the hallowed grounds during the four-day tournament, so they have few chances to get precious pics on the pristine course.

And if you want to get one in front of the famed clubhouse, get in line — a long line.

More than a hundred people were waiting for their shot Friday morning, hanging out in the warm sun for a couple quick clicks. The photos are free — quite the deal at a place where weekly passes can go for thousands of dollars on the open market.

— Mark Long

Masters Watch follows golf's first major of the year and all the activities surrounding the big event in Augusta, Ga., as seen by journalists from The Associated Press. It will be updated throughout the day.

Related Headlines

  • Spieth, Watson tied for lead at the Masters

    Even without golf's biggest star, this suddenly is shaping up as a Masters for the ages. Jordan Spieth, playing a brand of big-time golf that belies his 20 years, kept his ... 

  • Jimenez, Langer, Couples show age just a number

    Miguel Angel Jimenez, Bernhard Langer and Fred Couples made the Masters one for the ages — the older ages for sure. The 50-somethings were good early and late at Augusta ... 

  • Haas leads, with a pair of Masters champs 1 back

    No nerves. No worries. Adam Scott never knew the opening round at Augusta National could be so enjoyable. With his green jacket upstairs in the locker room for Masters ... 

  • Rains washes out 1st day at Masters

    The first full day at the Masters turned out to be a short one Monday. Augusta National was open for only two hours because of storms, still enough time for a few players to ... 

Find your future job here