Roddy Carr's preview of the 2024 Masters

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There is something very grounding about the deep rich hue that is known as Augusta Green. It’s actually Pantone 342. And it would be the kind of streak my father relished on any course he attacked. He loved 2’s on his card – because he reckoned they made up for a lot of mistakes in a round! 

I wonder if Bobby Jones and Cliff Roberts knew the significance of their choice back in 1931 when the logo, which started as blue, became multicoloured and finally settled on Green. Its deep rich conservative texture is amplified through its association with the now famous Green Jacket, that is the most prestigious and sought-after garment in the world of sports. There is no blazer that carries more meaning and symbol than Augusta’s ‘Green Jacket’. It can only be worn by those who have won the Masters and the small few carefully selected to represent the true values of Bobby Jones as members of Augusta. 

My father was the first Irishman to become a member of Augusta in 1967 and he wore that green jacket proudly having been invited to play in the Masters three times. He became a good friend of Mr. Jones and his wife Mary during their afternoon tea sessions, with my mother, in the now famous Eisenhower Cabin.

JB Carrs Green Jacket in the JB Carr Room in Sutton Golf Club

JB Carr’s Green Jacket in the JB Carr Room in Sutton Golf Club, Dublin.

The Masters is THE most anticipated event in golf. The date in spring, almost eight months from the previous Major, now feels more significant than ever. It’s a chance to unite a fractured game and bring together the best players for a pure battle on this most beautiful of canvases. And without any distractions. This is due to the unspoken guidelines set out to all players and media, who are ’invited guests’ to this event! 

Nobody will step out of line, there will be no crass behaviour from ‘patrons’ that we saw at the Waste Management event. There will be no talk about money or LIV or anything that distracts from the event. The best man on the week will win and have his hand shaken by those he beat.

Players on either side of the divide who are in contention will not be thinking or feeling that they are representing anyone or anything but themselves on that back nine on Sunday. Such is the enormity of the task to navigate the pending train wrecks forever present around Amen Corner and then on 15 and 16 that LIV or anything else will be the last thing on their minds. They will be navigating what Jones designed the golf course to be; a crucible of highrisk, high-reward shots that determines who has the ‘cojones’ to win. 

Players will feel only the emotion from the patrons and what’s going on inside themselves. Applause will be in proportion to the quality of the golf shot based on the degree of difficulty and ‘pressure’ of the moment. This is always understood and appreciated. 

The uniqueness of the Masters is that the back nine on Sunday remains basically the same as it has always been. Your destiny, whether good or bad or somewhere in between, will forever live in the annals of Augusta history.  

Tradition, because of Jones, plays such a big part of the event, much like the Open at St. Andrews. This is why the fundamentals of the game and the event will not change at Augusta, no matter what is happening outside its gates. The Club takes great care to pass on the baton only to those that will protect and uphold its creator’s core values.

Jon Rahm was a great and worthy winner last year. He showcased the Spanish passion for Augusta that has given his homeland six wins over the years. And now that he has ‘tasted’ the green jacket on his back, he will want more. 

The Masters has been the kindest of the three Majors on USA soil to the Europeans, especially to those with exceptional talent like Seve, Lyle and Faldo. It will not surprise me if the golf gods at Augusta look down on the two exceptional young European talents of the modern game, the smiling Viktor Hovland and rookie Ludvig Aberg. Such is their talent, they will surely win Majors in due course. Both are also humble men who value the integrity of the game and the responsibilities that go with being a Champion. 

Scottie Scheffler’s form makes him a strong favourite, but Augusta has a track record of exposing any fragility a player may have. His putting woes surfaced in the last year. Was it a mental or technical glitch? As my father once told me, Augusta has a way of finding your weakness. It remains to be seen! 

Will Zalatoris and Joaquin Niemann are two fiery youngsters that believe they can win and come to Augusta with that in mind. They know their own games and Zalatoris who has a close affinity to Augusta has been in contention before. I’ll be surprised if he’s not knocking on the door come Sunday. Remember local man Larry Mise winning in 1987 against Greg Norman, with that incredible chip in!

This will be Rory’s 16th Masters. After his first, I remember Jack Nicklaus telling me at Augusta that he expected Rory to have at least four Green Jackets in this wardrobe before his career ended. The course is made for him with his sublime driving and ability to hit it right to left at will. The question is why he has not won it in 15 attemptsIt gets a little bit harder with every year as the mental baggage he carries around Augusta weighs heavier and heavier. The good news is that, injury free, he has another 15 years to fulfil his lifelong ambition of joining the elusive Grand Slam club. 

Since managing Seve I have always been an advocate of soft hands and a magic touch around the greens as a trademark of winners at Augusta. Mickelson, Cabrerra, Crenshaw and Bubba to mention a few. Shane Lowry ticks this box for me and with his recent good form he may well get his chance to be the first Irishman to bring the Green Jacket back to Ireland for winning the Masters. I hope so.

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